Washington, D.C. – Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work issued the following statement following the U.S. House Democrats’ introduction of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” a comprehensive immigration reform bill:
“Our immigration system is broken, and now is the time to fix it. Doing nothing – the preferred approach of the House Republicans and their leadership – is not a viable option, and for that reason, we applaud the House Democrats who took action and introduced a comprehensive immigration bill that provides a real, bipartisan solution for our broken immigration system. Today’s bill shows leadership on behalf of Congressional members who understand that there is an urgent need for the House to act now on comprehensive immigration reform.
“This bill recognizes the importance of strong worker protections as a critical piece of immigration legislation. It requires that employers and their foreign labor recruiters disclose the conditions of employment visas and work contracts to potential immigrant workers and prohibits companies from charging the workers recruitment fees. The bill also expands the availability of the U visa to include victims of serious workplace abuse, slavery, or other serious violations of workers’ rights. These critical provisions protect workers against retaliation when they exercise their labor and civil rights, make U.S. employers and foreign recruiters jointly responsible for abusive practices and regulation, and allows full enforcement of federal labor and employment laws. When workers blow the whistle on bad employers, they are raising standards for all workers and providing a level playing field for employers who play by the rules.
“Strong worker protections ultimately help enforce immigration law. When workers can enforce their basic workplace rights, they reduce the incentive of employers to pull undocumented workers into the shadows of the economy. House members should be eager to cosponsor this bill and the House should move quickly to vote on it, as its provisions already enjoy demonstrated bipartisan support.
This month, workers around the country will speak out to make sure Congress takes action on this legislation. As part of a nationwide series of rallies, field events, town halls, and other actions to demonstrate the urgent need for immigration reform, workers across 15 cities will join together in support of strong labor protections at events organized by Jobs with Justice coalitions. Additionally, workers from California, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Tennessee who have suffered workplace abuse under the current immigration system will come to Washington, D.C., to share their stories and demand Congress act to fix it.”