Washington, D.C. (November 21, 2014) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on President Obama’s executive order to provide relief to immigrant families:
LIUNA has long been a fierce advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. We are a union founded by immigrants and believe that the fight for immigrant rights is not just critical for immigrant workers, but for all workers. Comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, levels the playing field for honest employers and allows everyone in America – immigrants and non-immigrants – to work free from harassment, intimidation or exploitation is urgently needed. Last year, we strongly supported the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation and had hoped the House would pass a similar bill. Unfortunately, politics trumped the need for real reform, and so now we find ourselves in a place that in order to give much needed relief to workers and their families an Executive Order, which is limited by law, is what is put forward as a solution.
While we are pleased that the President’s Order will provide some relief to five million immigrant families, it does not encompass all of the principles that LIUNA has strongly advocated for years. The Executive Order is no substitute for real reform that provides a path to citizenship or a way to address future immigration that protects all workers. We also are concerned with the temporary nature of the Executive Order and the uncertainty that it will continue to bring to many families.
We too are frustrated with Congress’ inability to take action on this critical issue, and we believe that Congress should start working as soon as possible to pass comprehensive immigration legislation once and for all. It is time to stop playing politics with people’s lives and livelihoods—Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform.