San Francisco Working Families Join Growing National Chorus for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

“Democracy cannot function unless all men and women, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the political process with full rights and equal protections.”

That’s the message that the San Francisco Labor Council proclaimed last month when they passed a resolution in support of a “Roadmap to Citizenship” for aspiring Americans. Now, the 100,000 working families that the San Francisco Labor Council represents are joining that commitment to equality by working with community partners—including civil rights, human rights and immigrant rights organizations—to promote citizenship for 11 million immigrant aspiring citizens. That includes a campaign to communicate our position to California’s congressional delegation in support of our immigrant co-workers, neighbors, family and friends.

Last night, the San Francisco Labor Council kicked off its campaign for comprehensive immigration reform with a community forum for union members and others who want to get involved with what’s shaping up to be one of the highest-profile issues of 2013. At the forum, international labor leaders joined with immigrant workers and community partners to send a clear message – Workers rights are human rights, our movement is made up of ALL workers, and Labor is united in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

UFCW International President Joe Hansen:

Now is the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Not next year, not the year after.  Now! … No one is better able to lead the reformation of immigration than the Labor Movement. We can no longer be a nation that turns away aspiring citizens. We must be a nation that builds dreams, not border fences.

Among the many brave immigrant workers who spoke at the forum was Peruvian immigrant Morima Palomina.

Those of us that are here have already made a life for our children…. As a woman and a single mother, going back to Peru to look for work is not an option.  Those of us affected by our status don't have the luxury of shaping how the plate of immigration reform is served to us.

San Francisco Labor Council’s Executive Director Tim Paulson:

Working people are working people, regardless of the color of their skin or where they were born. In San Francisco, we recognize that working people are strongest when we work together and our movement is strongest when it welcomes all workers. On a regular basis, the more than 11 million immigrant aspiring citizens who contribute to our communities, country, and economy are denied a voice at work and other basic rights. The creation of a road map to citizenship would not only stop employers from continuing to take advantage of our failed immigration policies; it would improve wages and labor standards for all workers by giving immigrant workers a voice on the job.

Learn more about Labor's nationwide immigration reform campaign.