This week, under the guise of protecting workers, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending immigration and a number of work visa programs through the end of the year. We know what this is really about. We’ve seen it many times before. The president is trying to distract from his failure to lead us through this pandemic by returning to one of his favorite themes—scapegoating immigrants.
America’s unions have a clear list of steps the administration could take if it really wants to protect workers amidst this crisis and promote a just recovery. Suspending immigration isn’t one of them.
Working people have had enough of the divide and distract tactics—we are rising up to demand real measures to enact our Five Economic Essentials and promote an inclusive pro-worker agenda for our country.
Unions have long called for reforms to our work visa programs to protect workers’ rights and prevent employers from pitting workers against each other to drive down standards. Those changes are needed now more than ever, but they require a thoughtful approach, not a blunt instrument like a ban.
The proclamation does little more than pause visa programs that harm America's workers and migrant workers alike. That is no substitute for real reform. These programs were broken before the onset of the pandemic and, absent congressional action, will remain broken when the economy fully reopens.
As we have for more than a decade, the labor movement will continue our push to restructure work visa programs so they can only ever be used in cases of real need and so that all workers in affected industries are assured full rights, fair pay and equal treatment.
Working people know the difference between callous campaign stunts and real solutions. We will not be misled by proclamations that only serve to rob America of what truly makes us great: our diversity.
Union members and our families come from every country in the world, and our labor movement has trade union partners around the globe. These connections are a source of strength and vitality for our country, our workforce and our movement. Each new travel and asylum ban imposed by this administration undermines our values, our competitiveness and our standing in the world—but it will never undermine our solidarity.