April 17, 2013

Statement on Bipartisan Senate Immigration Reform Bill

Ori Korin, 202-822-2127×126

Washington, D.C. – Following the highly anticipated release of the Senate bipartisan proposal to reform our nation’s broken immigration system, Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work and co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, issued the following statement:

“Like many advocates for immigrant rights, we are dismayed to see Senators unveil such a lengthy and unreasonable citizenship process. We are nonetheless encouraged by Senate negotiators initiating a number of core labor provisions in this bill.  All workers deserve dignity and freedom from exploitation. Labor protections must be included in immigration reform or nearly every worker — no matter where they were born — stands to lose.

“We welcome the proposals providing workers with whistle blower protections, anti-discrimination protections, and access to the application of labor and employment laws. The Senate bill specifically includes important worker protections from the POWER Act for immigrant workers who blow the whistle on employer abuse. Without these protections, employers use threats of retaliation and deportation to silence whistleblowers and get away with abuse which hurts them and the U.S. workers that work alongside them.

“Yet, there is more to be done to protect and strengthen this bill as the legislative process unfolds. Workers’ rights advocates will continue to raise their voices to ensure that any immigration reform measure under consideration works for workers and employers alike. Immigration reform policies need to usher in a fair, broad, and inclusive roadmap to citizenship; fundamental labor rights, remedies and whistleblower protections for all workers now and in the future; and an improved guestworker program. Our coalitions and allies will be pressing hard for their representatives to take strong position supporting these bottom lines for workers.

“Immigration reform will ultimately boil down to policymakers deciding what type of economy we want to have in this country. Our nation’s leaders should not shrink back from this historic opportunity to turn the tide for immigrant workers, their families, and improve conditions for all working families in this country.

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