By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Two major labor federations have announced they will support immigration reform –albeit with some conditions– providing a boost to President Obama’s plan to address this thorny issue.
Leaders of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and of rival federation Change to Win told The New York Times they will support an immigration reform plan that includes a path to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants, but they will oppose any expansion of guest worker programs that bring immigrants temporarily into the country.
“The accord could give President Obama significant support among unions as he revisits the stormy issue in the midst of the recession,” reporters Julia Preston and Steven Greenhouse wrote.
Later on Tuesday, the labor leaders announced a “unity framework” composed of five main points:
- The creation of an independent commission to allocate employment visas based on real market needs and not on “political compromise.”
- A secure and effective worker authorization mechanism.
- “Rational operational control” of the border.
- “Adjustment of status for the current undocumented population.”
- Improvement of the existing temporary worker programs, but not “a new ‘indentured’ or ‘guest worker’ initiative.”
Support from the powerful labor organizations —Change to Win includes the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, food and commercial workers and farmworkers— can be important in pushing an immigration reform bill through Congress. President Obama and White House aides have recently said they intend to start introducing a comprehensive reform initiative as soon as next month — and the controversial issue has been getting more attention in the last couple of weeks.