AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler delivered the following remarks as prepared at a citizenship rally and march in Washington, D.C.:
I’m Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO. We are 57 unions with 12.5 million working people in jobs all across the economy and we come from countries all around the world.
Together, we can defeat the forces trying to keep us divided and poor.
We have an economic system that treats immigrants as an exploitable subclass. It lets employers use immigration status as a tool to keep workers from organizing. That hurts every working person in this country. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Our immigration system should lift up standards, wages and rights for all working people. That’s why we need a path to citizenship.
We are all connected through work, and since COVID hit, our connections are stronger, deeper and crystal clear: There will be no recovery when millions of workers are forced into the shadow economy. There is no economic justice when the people who build, serve and feed this country are disenfranchised at the ballot box and at our workplaces.
Every working person in the U.S. should have access to the life-changing power and protection of a good job and the status to stand up freely for their rights at work.
Immigrants and refugees were, are, and will always be a vital part of our workforce, our movement and our democracy. So we’re putting Congress on notice: no excuses. Get citizenship done so we can truly build back better for all!
And now, frontline hero and member of UNITE HERE, my union brother, Aschalew Asabie.