The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ali Jost (202) 730-7159,

SEIU: With Eyes of the Word Focused on Arizona, We Need Balanced, Practical Immigration Solutions More Than Ever

Senate Immigration Bill Starts Process but Needs Serious Fixes to Provide the Immigration Solutions America Needs


Senators Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez and Harry Reid will introduce
an immigration reform outline. In anticipation, SEIU Executive Vice
President Eliseo Medina issued the following statement:

"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.

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.