Column: AFL-CIO – “On Labor Day, too many workers labor in the shadows”

The AFL-CIO reminds us that as U.S. workers take Labor Day off to celebrate their careers, this year more people are taking the time to remember laborers who work in the shadows of our economy without any access to the rights and protection that everyone deserves.

Majority of immigrants have no work protections

While over 11 million undocumented immigrants work in our society, attend school and raise families, many will never attain their dreams because of the threat of deportation hanging over their heads and the possibility of citizenship uncertain. Immigrants struggle to become a part of the country through their contributions but receive abuse by the system and are sometimes exploited by employers. Many immigrants have no protections because they are here illegally and are paid below minimum page. This vicious cycle continues in turn lowering wages and working conditions for American workers and makes it harder for businesses to follow the rules. This Labor Day, it is important to notice that not all workers are lucky enough to have a fair place to work. The current immigration system depresses living standards for all workers and reform should possess the ability to protect the rights of all workers.

Growing support for All Laborers

At the beginning of August, 41 national leaders representing a broad coalition advocating for worker protections were arrested for civil disobedience standing outside the offices of members of the House of Representatives . In California, hundreds of cars gathered in a rally in front of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s district. Several other areas are also taking action with advocates declaring their message loud and clear. “If Members of Congress continue to obstruct a vote on immigration reform, they will have to answer to a growing majority of Americans who support a path to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform.” We already saw a reflection of diversity when the immigration reform bill passed the Senate as business owners took action together with immigrant rights groups, community organizations, working families and labor and civil rights leaders.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office reports that modernizing our immigration system with a path to citizenship would create approximately 5,946 new jobs in Missouri and would increase the economic output by $496 million in just one year.  Despite promising statistics, hesitant politicians are not sure if the immigration bill is the best way to go. The country has millions mobilized and ready for change that includes a path to citizenship. Many hope that future labor days will be able to celebrate all those that work in the U.S. not just those that were born here.

If you are looking for a licensed immigration attorney, have questions regarding immigration reform, applying for a visa or attaining legal status, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.