Group Wants Better Immigration Plan In Utah
WASHINGTON – Following the passage of three immigration-focused bills by the Utah state legislature last week, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement, calling upon Governor Herbert and Utah legislators to delay implementation until a smarter solution can be identified.
“It is common knowledge that our immigration system is broken. Federal inaction has put state governments in an impossible position and they want to act. While an effort by Utah’s legislature to fix the system stemmed from a well-intentioned attempt by Governor Herbert to find solutions instead of engaging in divisive political pandering, the final legislation failed to deliver a comprehensive, balanced solution. The proposed legislation’s enforcement provisions are dangerous and the guest worker program is bad for our economy. While we applaud the Utah legislature for taking the lead on a collaborative solution, it’s imperative that Governor Herbert and Utah legislators delay implementation.
“Guest worker programs stand to threaten our economic vitality by giving rise to a three-tier caste worker system in America – citizens, guest workers and undocumented workers. This onerous system depresses wages for all workers as employers are free to exploit the cheapest, most vulnerable workers. Guest worker programs in Utah, and nationally, don’t help anybody – not American workers, not immigrants, not businesses that play by the rules and certainly not taxpayers who wind up paying for an ineffective enforcement system.
“The enforcement provisions, meanwhile, are objectionable for the same reasons as Arizona's SB1070, where bad politics resulted in a dangerous and unconstitutional law. If implemented, Utah's bill will lead to racial profiling and a more hostile relationship between the police and the communities they depend on to prevent crimes and bring criminals to justice. What the new law will not do is solve any of Utah's immigration problems.
“Let us be clear: we cannot fix our broken immigration problem with a 50-state patchwork. This problem demands a national, comprehensive solution that pairs enforcement with a pathway to citizenship and a thoughtful approach to future labor needs. The Utah legislature’s attempt is just one more sign that the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform is critical.”
With 2.2 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.