Model Resolution on Immigration Reform
There are 11 million undocumented immigrants contributing to the American economy and community that are being denied basic rights and protections;
Anti-immigrant programs such as Secure Communities (S-COMM), E-Verify and I-9 audits have resulted in the deportations of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants and continue to incite fear and terror in immigrant communities;
The rate of deportations is at a record high, with 34,000 individuals being deported monthly, tragically separating thousands of families;
Family unity has been threatened by a broken immigration system that imposes unnecessary wait times for sponsorships, leaving millions awaiting reunification for decades;
Immigration reform must create a fair process respecting human dignity and family unity, including protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) families; Working people are strongest when working together, and the labor movement is strongest when it is open to all workers, regardless of where they come from;
We deny that migrants are responsible for the “strain” on jobs and services. These are scarce not because of migration, but because the corporations and politicians in their service are decimating them as part of making the majority pay for the crisis, to boost profits and the wealth of the rich;
Although we are not at war with Mexico or Canada, militarizing the borders has led to thousands of deaths and widespread violations of human rights;
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and other similar “free trade” agreements and structural adjustment policies and other U.S.-government-backed “economic reforms” continue to boost corporate profits while creating massive poverty in countries like Mexico, El Salvador and others, and as a result, millions of workers and farmers are displaced and have no alternative but to migrate in search of work, and therefore will continue to come to the United States to work, join our unions and participate in our organizing drives;
Temporary worker programs do not reflect America’s values as a democratic society. The largest corporations and employer groups in the United States — including WalMart, Hyatt, Smithfield, the Associated Building Contractors, Microsoft and others — seek to force this flow of migrants to come to the United States only through guest worker programs, where the low wages, lack of rights, and dangerous conditions are described as “Close to Slavery” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, while these corporations try to restrict and end family-based immigration;
We as a labor movement have previously called for inclusive reform of our immigration laws, and adopted a position that demands a halt to deportations, amnesty/legalization for all undocumented workers, the strengthening of family reunification as the basis of immigration policy, protection of the right to organize for all workers, the repeal of employer sanctions, opposition to guest worker programs, the demilitarization of our borders, and “fair trade” policies that prevent the massive destruction of jobs and communities south of the border contained in the current “free trade” agreements; and
The AFL-CIO is committed to working together on the side of justice for all, along with community partners, including civil rights, human rights and immigrant rights organizations, to pass immigration reform that encompasses the principles of this resolution and that strengthens our democracy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The [name of union body] stands united with the community to call on Congress to create a rapid and inclusive way for 11 million undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and citizenship — not contingent upon border security measures or going to the “back of the line” of prospective immigrants. Such a swift legalization process must lead to a green card, without requiring proof of continuous employment and without excluding people based on minor criminal records or based on learning English.
The [name of union body] supports family reunification by increasing legal avenues for loved ones to reunite with each other by eliminating the backlog in family reunification petitions and ensuring that families can petition for relatives in the future without the long waits, and opposes eliminating any family preference category.
The [name of union body] calls on Congress to ensure due process and protections at every level of immigration and to reinstate judicial review;
The [name of union body] stands united with the community to call on Congress to put an immediate halt to all deportations and all workplace enforcement actions. Enforcement programs such as Secure Communities, racial and ethnic profiling, and the use of detention, including mandatory and prolonged detention, must be ended. Mandatory E-Verify and I-9 audits must also be ended, as they build upon the flawed employer sanctions framework and push workers into an underground economy where workplace abuses are prevalent;
The [name of union body] supports a reform on border enforcement based on demilitarizing the border and restoring full civil and human rights in border communities. Immigration laws should be enforced by the federal government, not by local law enforcement officers, and the policies leading to the detention and deportation of hundreds of thousands of people annually, overwhelmingly workers and their families, much be changed;
The [name of union body] calls upon Congress to provide immigrants with equal access to healthcare and other public benefits;
The [name of union body] calls on Congress to ensure full labor and workplace rights and protections for all workers regardless of immigration status, including the right to organize and enforce worker protections without retaliation;
The [name of union body] calls on Congress to remove from any immigration reform legislation all guest worker provisions and programs, as these only contribute to creating a second class of workers and lowering wages and working conditions for all workers. Permanent residence visas should be made available for people who want to come to the U.S. to work;
The [name of union body] calls for a just immigration reform that addresses the root causes of migration, and therefore calls for fundamental changes to NAFTA, CAFTA and all “free trade” agreements; all provisions causing poverty and unemployment that force people to migrate to survive must be scrapped, and no new such agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, should be signed;
The [name of union body] will communicate this position with the State Congressional delegates and will urge this resolution to be adopted by the [name of national union or state federation], other local unions and central labor bodies.