Washington, DC—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 As the leader of the Department that has for far too long been tasked with the impossible job of enforcing broken, outdated laws, Secretary Napolitano knows first-hand how critical it is that we pass sweeping immigration reforms that are smart, enforceable and strengthen our economy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.