Amy Dean is a Fellow of the Century Foundation and co-author, with David Reynolds, of “A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement” and is president and founder of ABD Ventures. She worked for nearly two decades in the labor movement and now works to develop new and innovative organizing strategies for social change organizations. You can follow Amy on Twitter at @amybdean, or she can be reached via www.amybdean.com.


Why Immigration Is a Top Priority for U.S. Labor: Q&A with Maria Elena Durazo

Amy Dean

Immigrants' rights are workers' rights. These days, that idea is a principle held dear by the union movement in the United States. But that wasn't always the case.

As recently as the mid-1990s, many unions took protectionist stances against allowing new immigrants to come to this country. It was only after these unions saw the abuses that became prevalent under an employer-driven system for verifying immigration status that the labor movement embraced a new position. The movement recognized that for working people to thrive, all employees had to have full rights in the workplace.

Today, labor is one of the key forces pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the movement's advocacy and more about how unions transformed themselves into outspoken champions of immigrant rights, I spoke with Maria Elena Durazo.