Press Release

Now Is the Time to Expand Rights for All

In response to the introduction of the U.S. Citizenship Act, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka makes the following statement:

Unions are fiercely committed to transforming the lives of working people through bold, structural changes that remove all barriers to the right to organize. For decades, our unjust immigration system has forced millions of people to live and work in fear and enabled employers to exploit workers with impunity. In order to build worker power and keep our workplaces safe and fair, we must finally enact meaningful immigration and labor law reforms.

By creating a broad and swift path to citizenship for all those who have been failed by our broken system, the U.S. Citizenship Act will help spur a just recovery and ensure that we are all able to exercise our rights on the job and in the community. America’s unions welcome the introduction of this strong pro-worker and pro-democracy framework for change. Although it does not include all the reforms our system needs, we are heartened to see that it includes many key  protections for which workers have long fought. 

The right way to use immigration policy to raise wages and standards is by expanding rights and protections for all workers. We are familiar with the compromises that accompany immigration debates in Congress, and we implore members not to repeat past mistakes. The act must not be undermined with amendments that criminalize our immigrant communities, escalate the immigration enforcement regime or expand programs that treat workers as disposable commodities in our global economy.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden administration to see that this bill and its principles move forward in ways that align with our Workers First Agenda. We call for an immediate end to the deportation of all those who should be eligible for citizenship or asylum processing under the bill’s framework, and we urge Congress to explore every possible vehicle to put all of these working families on a long overdue path to citizenship.

Contact: Gonzalo Salvador (202) 637-5018