As you begin the debate over immigration this week, we urge you to hold the line on workplace rights and focus narrowly on addressing the immediate crisis facing DACA and TPS holders and their families. All working people will be hurt if we allow more than a million hardworking men and women to be stripped of their rights on the job, so Congress must take steps to provide permanent protections to these deserving workers. Further, we urge you to oppose proposals that seek to drastically reduce permanent immigration, criminalize and deport people who have been working in our country for decades and replace them with a massive temporary workforce under the complete control of employers. Accordingly, we ask you to stand with us on these key issues:
Extend vital worker protections – Programs like TPS and DACA protect a vital part of our workforce and help raise wages and standards for all. We need more working people in our country to have rights on the job, not fewer.
YES to a clean DREAM Act and a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders.
Protect the exercise of workplace rights – Many proposed immigration enforcement strategies undermine worker organizing and increase worker vulnerability to exploitation and retaliation. Enforcement strategies that cause fear in our workplaces chill the exercise of workers’ rights, which drives down wages and working conditions for us all.
NO to nationwide E-verify mandates, attacks on community trust policies or erosion of due process protections.
Reject captive work – At a time when working people still struggle to make ends meet and our current immigrant workforce lives in daily fear of deportation, Congress should not expand visa programs that are misused to drive down labor standards and displace or replace the very workers we wish to defend. We must not reduce employers’ incentive to come to the table for needed comprehensive reforms.
NO to the expansion of the abuse-plagued H-2A, H-2B or H-1B visa programs or the creation of new guestworker programs.
Rather than slashing permanent immigration and walling off our borders, we urge you to refocus the debate on workers’ rights and maintain our nation’s commitment to family reunification, refugee resettlement, and keeping our doors open to working people from all over the world. The labor movement insists on holding the line today because we remain committed to the long-term struggle to build an immigration system that works for working people.
The ability to exploit any worker lowers standards for all workers, which is why Congress needs to act now to provide permanent protection to hardworking men and women with DACA and TPS.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department