As the eyes of the world focus on Arizona, it is clear that we need balanced, practical immigration solutions more than ever. While SEIU appreciates the leadership of Senators Schumer, Menendez and Reid, we are deeply concerned with elements of their reform outline that appear to put enforcement-only mandates ahead of the practical immigration solutions that America needs.
If we have learned anything from Arizona, it is that “tough” enforcement is not “smart” enforcement; that enforcement first is really just the same as enforcement only. Instead of fixing the underlying problems, putting enforcement before comprehensive reform just wastes over $18 billion a year on border walls and worksite round ups; it wreaks havoc in local communities and leads to the kind of racial profiling our nation left behind years ago, but solves nothing.
SEIU is committed to working with Senators Schumer, Menendez and Reid to fix this framework and move a balanced, comprehensive bill that gets undocumented immigrants into the system and under the rule of law; passes smart enforcement on the border and in our workplaces; and creates a visa system that protects labor rights and meets the economic needs of our future.
In order to do that, Republicans must join with Democrats and show they have the will to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. It’s time to put smart policy ahead of partisan politics.
On behalf of the thousands of Americans who are marching in over 80 sites across the country this Saturday to call for real solutions, Congress must enact real and lasting solutions. On behalf of Arizonans who will soon be stopped on the street just because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear and the language they speak, Congress must get this bill done and get this bill done right.
SEIU will not back down until Congress can deliver a balanced, workable immigration bill that will truly reform immigration for America. Diverse groups are aligned on the need for a comprehensive solution. A majority of Americans are in support. Now we need Congress to take bold steps, roll up their sleeves and pass smart reforms once and for all.
SEIU’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Principles:
A comprehensive solution would couple enforcement at the border and in the workplace with a path to earned legalization for all hard working immigrants. It will also replace guest worker programs with a system that guarantees immigrant workers full labor and civil rights protections, and a path to U.S. citizenship. Done together, these reforms will finally restore the rule of law and eliminate an informal labor market that drives down wages and labor protections for all U.S. workers. Read more about the Change to Win and AFL-CIO’s Unified Immigration Reform Framework.
Eliseo Medina is an International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union and an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America. He has been scribed by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most successful labor organizers in the country” and was named one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Latino Leaders” in Poder Magazine. He is currently leading the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform that rebuilds the nation’s economy, secures equal labor- and civil-rights protections for workers and provides legal channels and a path to citizenship