AFL-CIO supports Undocumented Immigrants???
I've been reading an excellent book called, "Ethical Borders: NAFTA, Globalization, and Mexican Migration" by Bill Ong Hing, Professor of Law at the University of Sanfrancisco and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. In it, he discussed a letter sent to President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that was critical of NAFTA and supported equal labor rights for all workers regardless of their immigration status. That letter was signed jointly by two organizations, one of which was the Canadian Labour Congress. The other was the AFL-CIO. I almost fell out of my chair.
Everything I've ever heard or read about the AFL-CIO evoked images of strikers throwing rocks at strike-breakers, strong-arming industry to succumb to their sometimes unrealistic demands, and mobsters running the trucking and shipping industries. So to believe that the AFL-CIO would have any sympathy for the undocumented immigrant was a very, very hard stretch for me. I had to look it up. What follows is the part of that letter Professor Hing references. If you don't believe it, click here to read the actual letter. It's on page 5:
Migration: The failure of neoliberal policies to create decent jobs in the Mexican economy under NAFTA has meant that many displaced workers and new entrants have been forced into a desperate search to find employment elsewhere. In the U.S. and Canada, employers, with access to a large, vulnerable and unprotected workforce of undocumented and temporary migrant workers, have undermined all workers by failing to afford the basic labor rights and protections to everyone. We believe that all workers, regardless of immigration status, should enjoy equal labor rights. Governments in all three countries should intervene forcefully to prevent wage theft, end ineffective and xenophobic raids, and stop abuses by labor recruiters. We also support an inclusive, practical and swift adjustment of status program, which we believe would have the effect of raising labor standards for all workers. Finally, we urge you to review security and border measures that have limited civil liberties.
All I've got to say is Bravo-Zulu, AFL-CIO!