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Trumka Responds to Bipartisan Senate Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Photo courtesy of United We Dream's Facebook page.

bipartisan group of senators released a blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform this afternoon, including a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants. The group includes Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

President Obama will announce his immigration reform platform Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Las Vegas around 2 p.m. EST. A delegation from the AFL-CIO, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, will attend this event to support the push for comprehensive immigration reform and the road map to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens. The labor movement recognizes a strong and vibrant democracy cannot function unless all men and women, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the political process with full rights and equal protections in the workplace.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released a statement on this blueprint:

A bipartisan Senate group beginning the process to address our failed immigration system is an important and long overdue first step toward addressing our country’s broken immigration system. We are especially encouraged to see that at long last there is bipartisan agreement on our top priority, that immigration reform must include a viable path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who call America home.

Much remains to be seen on the details of that path, and each detail can have significant consequences for millions of aspiring citizens. For instance, we are concerned that making the citizenship path contingent on proof of employment at the time enforcement measures are deemed completed could be problematic. Depending on implementation, the principles could potentially exclude millions of workers—those who care for our children and our elderly, mow our lawns and repair our homes, drive taxis—who cannot prove employment because they have been forced to work off the clock or have no employer by virtue of being independent contractors. It would also exclude immigrants who are employers themselves. We hope that this sort of acknowledgement of economic reality informs the actual bill drafting process. 

That is why we look forward to working with members of Congress and the president to ensure that all men and women here, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the United States of America with full rights and equal protections. America’s unions are undertaking a national campaign to support the aspiration of 11 million immigrants to become citizens because we understand that a more equal America is a stronger America. 

Stay tuned for updates on President Obama's immigration announcement.

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