Foundation Laid for Needed Immigration Reform

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ali Jost (202) 730-7159, ali.jost@seiu.org

Foundation Laid for Needed Immigration Reform

In Today’s White House Meeting With Sec. Napolitano, Unified Labor and Diverse Group of Advocates Align on Urgent Need for Comprehensive Immigration Solution

WASHINGTON - Today,
joined by other labor, advocacy, faith and business leaders, Service
Employees International Union (SEIU) Executive Vice President Eliseo
Medina will meet with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
to lay the groundwork on immigration reform. In anticipation of the
meeting-the first of its kind to convene a diverse group of advocates
to begin sketching a framework for reform-Medina issued the following
statement:

"Today's
White House meeting with Secretary Napolitano and a diverse group of
labor, faith, and business leaders is an important step towards shaping
smart, comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the comings
months. As the leader of the Department that has for far too long been
tasked with the impossible job of enforcing broken, outdated laws,
Secretary Napolitano knows first-hand how critical it is that we pass
sweeping immigration reforms that are smart, enforceable and strengthen
our economy for the long term.

"In
coming months as the immigration debate heats up, Secretary Napolitano
will play a central role in promoting real progress on the issue. In
order to achieve the smart policy solution that the American public
wants, we urge Secretary Napolitano to stand up publically, light the
fire and become an outspoken champion of comprehensive reform.

"Enforcement
without reform has been tried for decades with dismal results. Instead
of solving problems, it wastes taxpayer dollars, marginalizes immigrant
communities and degrades the quality of life for all workers. In
particular, expansion of employment verification programs like E-Verify
is like painting the roof when the house is on fire; it's the wrong
solution at the wrong time.

"For
every day we delay on passing a solution to our broken immigration
system, we impede our nation's economic recovery, create unnecessary
divisions in our workforce, and cost taxpayers billions of wasted
dollars.

"It is unacceptable to live in a country where millions of workers are living in shadows. The
only way to ensure that every job in this country is filled by a legal
permanent resident is to get undocumented immigrants out of the
underground economy, into the system and under the rule of law. Diverse
groups are aligned on the need for a comprehensive solution. Now we
need the Administration and 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.

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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.

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