AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Statement of AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on comprehensive immigration reform legislation

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–April 17, 2013.  The U.S. immigration system is broken. The legislation introduced today by a group of bipartisan senators takes a giant step toward fixing the system in a way that reflects America’s fundamental values.

11 million aspiring U.S. citizens live and work in the shadows of our society. They are exploited by unscrupulous employers and denied the right to a voice on the job. They work in an underground economy that harms all of us by driving wages down for all workers. It makes it harder for reputable employers to compete. The families of these workers live in a constant state of uncertainty and fear. That is not right. It is not the American way.

The bill introduced today will provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, provide new worker protections, boost the nation’s overall economic health and strengthen our borders.

While we will work to improve the bill during the legislative process, it moves us in the right direction. We salute President Obama’s leadership and the bipartisan group of senators who have paved the way for comprehensive immigration reform.

We need to come together for these aspiring citizens. They are our neighbors. AFSCME members work with them and their family members every day – in schools, in hospitals and around our communities. With our voices, a new generation of American workers will enter the mainstream of American life. The time is now for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.