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AFL-CIO Now

Trumka: It's Hard to Move

Photo courtesy of the Workers Defense Project: www.workersdefense.org

Trumka sent this message to working family activists on Tuesday:

I’m from Nemacolin, Pa. It’s like a lot of other little towns: close-knit, lots of great families, working together in tough times and good times, just trying to make something of themselves.

Everybody in that small town came from somewhere, just like almost everyone else in America. We all had different accents, but we were united by a deep respect for those who work hard and a shared commitment to a country we all called home.

Today, I stood with President Obama as he announced his plan for a commonsense immigration process that creates a road map to citizenship for new Americans who aspire to be citizens.

Join us and sign the pledge: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all people have rights, no matter what they look like or where they come from. We pledge to win a road map to citizenship for 11 million new Americans who aspire to become citizens.”

Our unions haven’t always wanted to talk about this, and I know some of you won’t agree. That’s OK. We’re going to keep talking about this issue, keep working on it and we’ll get there together. This is what we do as the labor movement. We protect the most vulnerable among us, and lift all workers up, whoever they are.

Folks in Nemacolin taught me that it’s not about what you look like or where you were born that makes you American—it’s how you live your life and what you do that defines you here in this country. No one started out here. People moved their families here to the land of freedom and opportunity to provide a better life for their children and contribute to our culture in this country. It’s hard to move—to pack up everything and go to a new place takes courage.

As Americans, we all do our part to contribute, and we’re all the better for having hardworking new immigrants as members of our communities. Nemacolin was better for it, and our country is better for it. Let’s face it: Immigrants aspiring to be citizens are Americans in all but paperwork. It’s time we modernized our immigration laws to catch up to that reality.

This is how we build the labor movement—by standing together. Not as union or nonunion, or Democrat or Republican, or black or white or brown—but as workers.

It’s time to win citizenship for all, and it starts with your name right now:

go.aflcio.org/citizenship-for-all

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka 
President, AFL-CIO

Read more about the labor movement's principles for comprehensive immigration reform

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