Washington, DC - Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina released the following statement after the United States Senate reconvened on Thursday to approve $600 million in additional border security spending:
“In recent years, Republican leaders in Congress have repeatedly refused to support comprehensive immigration reform by insisting that border security must come first.
“But these Members know full well that the United States has spent tens of billions of dollars increasing personnel and technology at the border for more than 25 years and that border security alone will never solve our immigration problems.
“We will not achieve true security until we enact all of the interconnected parts of comprehensive reform:
- A worker visa system that protects American workers and reflects our economy’s actual labor needs in the 21st century and beyond;
- A plan under which undocumented workers who have built up lives here can remain and eventually earn citizenship if they pay taxes, learn English, and get right with the law;
- An end to immigration backlogs that separate families;
- An accurate employer verification system that protects privacy and worker rights; and
- Improved border security.
The United States Congress has now acted in a bipartisan fashion to put more personnel and technology at the border.
Make no mistake: on its own, this legislation will not fix America’s broken immigration system – the American people and every member of Congress knows that.
But it does eliminate the No. 1 excuse that Republicans have given for inaction on the broader reform our nation desperately needs: inaction that plays right into the hands of bad-actor employers who want to continue to divide and exploit workers.
It is time for Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to show the political courage needed to give our country comprehensive immigration reform.
Republicans who have refused to engage now have a choice: they can come up with more excuses or they can get serious about finding a solution.
If Republicans refuse to step forward at this point, it will be a sure sign that they are putting politics ahead of policy. If that happens, they should be ashamed of themselves for failing the American people.”
With 2.2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.