A bill that creates a commonsense immigration process for America's 11 million aspiring citizens is in jeopardy because of Republican demands for poverty wages.
Key Republican senators in the "Gang of Eight", negotiating on the behalf of the business community, corporations and the extreme right-wing, rejected adding language to the bill that would ensure new W-visas would only be issued when employing foreign workers would not hurt wages and working conditions of workers already in the United States.
This language is already a longstanding law for temporary worker programs including the H-2B and other visa programs. The Chamber of Commerce in negotiations with the AFL-CIO already agreed to including this language.
Jennifer Angarita, national worker center coordinator at the AFL-CIO, sent the following message to working family activists:
I’m going to tell you something very personal: My father finally became a citizen of the United States after almost 30 years of waiting.
My parents brought me to the United States when I was 13 months old to escape economic hardship and war in Colombia. I grew up in Dallas and my favorite foods were pizza, chocolate chip cookies and empanadas. My parents worked hard to put me through school, and I was proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from college.
Several hundred union, immigrant and community activists rallied in Seattle on Monday and called for comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for more than 11 million aspiring citizens.
Putting the nation’s 11 million aspiring citizens on a path to citizenship is not—as many Republican House lawmakers have characterized—the “extreme” option for immigration reform, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro told a House Judiciary Committee hearing today.
Putting them on a path to citizenship, that’s the best option.
In the current debate over immigration reform in the United States, “some suggest that we take the easy road and 'split the difference' among proposals for reform from lawmakers—to choose political expediency and legalize immigrants without offering any chance for them to earn citizenship,” writes AFL-CIO Director of Immigration and Community Action Ana Avendaño, in a column in The Guardian today.
That's wrong. That's the road to an America of permanent second-class workers, and it's a violation of our basic values.
The president clearly shares the AFL-CIO’s commitment to a viable pathway to citizenship, meaning that seemingly innocuous conditions cannot be allowed to get in the way of a road map for citizenship that encompasses the dreams of 11 million people.