by Kate Childs Graham | March 06, 2013
Just a few weeks ago, responding to President Barack Obama’s call to fix our broken immigration system, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and Sec.-Treas. Laura Reyes said, “Immigrant rights are worker rights, and AFSCME will be on the frontlines of the march toward comprehensive immigration reform.”
Since then, AFSCME has indeed been on the frontlines. First, AFSCME members lobbied more than 50 members of Congress on the issue during its Legislative Conference. Now, AFSCME is co-sponsoring a series of events across the country calling for fair and comprehensive immigration reform.
The message is clear: We need our members of Congress to pass common-sense immigration legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans. Currently, there is an underground economy where employers pay immigrants workers next-to-nothing and have them work in dangerous conditions. Plus, these employers avoid paying taxes. This lowers standards for all workers and deprives our communities of much-needed revenue. A clear path to citizenship would raise wages for all workers – no matter where they were born.
This past weekend, hundreds of workers and community allies came out to affirm that message at AFSCME-sponsored rallies in Orlando, Fla., Haines City, Fla. and Union, N.J.
In Orlando, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a key champion on Capitol Hill for immigrant rights, spoke. He said, “The moment for immigration reform is now. The Latino community…with your massive voter turnout…along with union allies like AFSCME, SEIU and UNITE HERE will make it happen. Sí, se puede!”
More events are scheduled for the tour on Thursday in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday in Houston, Texas, March 16 in Chula Vista, Calif., and March 17 in northern California. Check back here for event details.