Answering Tough Questions AFSCME Convention July 15, 2014 Presenters: Fran Bernstein, FGA [email protected] Sookyung Oh, RCBS [email protected] Where Are Your Ancestors From? Agenda Parallels with the Past: Immigrants and the Labor Movement Immigrants’ Impact on Elections Public’s Views on Immigration Reform Immigration Reform: Answers to Tough Questions Latest from Congress, Obama Administration and States Resources Take Action! Parallels with the Past Immigrant Population: Then and Now Foreign-Born as a % of US Population 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2011 Immigrants: Work & Labor Chinese railroad workers Protest signs in English, Yiddish, and Italian German immigrant newspaper in Chicago Where Immigrants Live The Question of Race Learning English Growing Political Voice 2012 elections 75% of Latinos, 73% of Asian Americans, and 90% of African Americans voted for Obama Large Majority Support for Citizenship Recent polls show that a large majority of Americans support immigration reform that would give legal status to undocumented immigrants. This poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that 73 percent of those surveyed felt that undocumented immigrants should be given some path to legal status. Should have a path to citizenship Undocumented immigrants should have some way to stay in the U.S. legally 73% Should have a path to permanent residency only Don’t know which path 4% Should not be allowed to stay legally Don’t know 4% Source: Pew Research Center, via National Journal Support on both sides of the aisle Why do immigrants come here illegally? No common-sense immigration process exists Economic push and pull Violence in home country Family reunification Shouldn’t undocumented immigrants get in line like everyone else? Often no line to get into If you are lucky enough to be able to get in line – the process takes decades. Don’t immigrants take American jobs? Economy relies on immigrant labor Immigration reform will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs Fact: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship would generate an additional $1.5 trillion to the economy over 10 years. Don’t undocumented immigrants drive down wages? They are underpaid because of their undocumented status Solution is to provide legal status with full rights and protections on the job Immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship can raise wages for immigrant workers by 6%. How is immigration reform a workers’ rights issue? Workers living in the shadows frequently experience threats of deportation or violence, unsafe conditions and wage theft. Employers have an incentive to hire out-of-status workers because they can pay them less and fire and/or threaten them with deportation if they try to unionize. Don’t undocumented immigrants use public services while not paying taxes? According to the IRS, undocumented immigrants paid almost $50 billion in taxes between 1996 and 2003. Undocumented immigrants paid MORE in taxes than General Electric in 2010, contributing $11.2 billion in state and local taxes alone. Even so, federal law has closed almost all options for government assistance for out-of-status immigrants. On the Right Side of History “All labor has dignity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Grassroots Partners AFL-CIO and other labor Faith community Immigrant advocacy organizations Business groups Civil rights organizations President Obama’s Actions Prosecutorial discretion Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Lots of action in the states In-State Tuition – 17 states and 3 university systems Access to Driver’s Licenses – 12 states Lawsuits to block anti-immigrant laws Congressional Inaction Senate passed a bipartisan bill June 27, 2013 House leadership has blocked any floor votes Even DREAMers left with nothing What Will Obama Do? Looking to executive action by President Obama DHS will issue new, more “humane” deportation policies in August Imperfect solution How does immigration reform strengthen AFSCME’s Four Pillars? Undocumented immigrants will not fear joining the union whether a current fee payer or in a newly-organized workplace A path to citizenship will grow pro-working families electorate We’re building important allies through this fight Immigration Resources: Labor Online Resources http://www.afscme.org/issues/immigration www.afscme.org/en-espanol www.aflcio.org/immigration www.aflcio.org/ImmigrationUniversity www.workingfamiliestoolkit.com Immigration Resources: Allies Alliance for Citizenship – www.allianceforcitizenship.org Asian American Justice Center – www.advancingequality.org Immigration Policy Center – www.immigrationpolicy.org National Council of La Raza – www.nclr.org National Employment Law Project (NELP) – www.nelp.org National Immigration Forum – www.immigrationforum.org National Immigration Law Center (NILC) – www.nilc.org United We Dream – www.unitedwedream.org Take Action Today!