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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-23-07 10:32 PM
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Legislation STRIVEs for Real Immigration Reform

http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/03/23/legislation-strives-f... /

Legislation STRIVEs for Real Immigration Reform

by James Parks, Mar 23, 2007

The wheels were set in motion yesterday for the new Congress to seriously consider real reform of the nations immigration system when Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced the STRIVE (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2007.

AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney says the approach to immigration in the 110th Congress stands in stark contrast to the mean-spirited path that the House of Representatives took under Republican control in the last Congress.

President George W. Bush is pushing hard for an expanded guest worker program that will hurt labor standards in the U.S., Sweeney says,

especially if it doesnt guarantee that employers wont use the programs to bypass U.S. labor and employment laws, as they often do now.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report this month that documents widespread abuse of workers in the current guest worker programs. Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States relates experiences of workers who take on heavy debt to come to the United States for promised work opportunities only to find out the job pays very littleor doesnt even exist. Worse, employers often hold workers identification papers, putting them at the mercy of their employers even if they want to return to their home country.

Milton Rosado, president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), an AFL-CIO constituency group, welcomed the legislation, saying:

The current immigration system is in desperate need of repair because it has allowed employers to create an underclass of workers, which has effectively reduced working standards for all workers. Immigrants are vital to our economy and deserve a meaningful reform.

Our objective is for Congress to fix the current broken immigration system and pass a substantive and just comprehensive immigration reform. Accepting anything less would be doing a disservice to our country and to all those hard-working immigrants who contribute immensely to the economy.

The AFL-CIO backs strong protections for immigrant workers freedoms and rights and opposes guest worker programs. In policy statements, the AFL-CIO Executive Council has said:

* The current system of immigration enforcement is broken and needs to be reformed to allow undocumented workers to work lawfully in the United States, thus taking away employers ability to exploit them based on their undocumented status.
* Future workers should come to this country with full rights, not as temporary workers.
* Immigration laws should be enforced in a manner that complements labor law enforcement. Raids and employer sanctions are powerful tools that employers have to diminish workers rights.
* All workers, including immigrant workers, should have full workplace freedoms, including the freedom to choose a union. The fight for the Employee Free Choice Act is particularly important for immigrant workers, who are often the victims of employer misconduct during organizing campaigns.




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