AFL-CIO responds to House GOP immigration ‘standards’

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka

Seven months after 68 U.S. senators overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration bill, House Republicans respond with a flimsy document that only serves to underscore the callous attitude Republicans have toward our nation’s immigrants.

We said at the beginning of 2013 and we reiterate at the beginning of 2014: A roadmap to citizenship is vital to protecting working families’ rights and keeping families together.  In 2013, Americans made clear they support a path to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. So should House Republicans. Half-measures that would create a permanent class of non-citizens without access to green cards should be condemned, not applauded.

Until we create a functioning immigration system with a pathway to citizenship, ruthless employers will continue to exploit low wage workers, pulling down wages for all.  All workers, immigrant or not, will see workplaces become safer and wages grow higher when we create a real roadmap to citizenship. And yet Republicans not only reject citizenship but embrace a broken guest worker model that will bring down wages and increase income inequality.

We continue to urge the House to vote on H.R. 15, the House version of the Senate bipartisan immigration bill, while also reiterating our call on the administration to halt the deportation of immigrants who would be eligible for citizenship under the Senate bill.