Struggle for Immigrants’ Rights Highlights Split Within Organized Labor

2:01 pm in Uncategorized by Michelle Chen

(Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Cross-posted from In these Times.

Trying to please all at once and disappointing everyone, the White House has long played a game of good-cop-bad-cop on immigration, promising reforms while clinging to some of the cruelest deportation policies.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s delicate waltz around immigration highlights complex frictions within the labor movement on immigration policy—revealing contrasts between immigration enforcement employees and the AFL-CIO leadership.

Though the mainstream labor movement has not always placed itself at the forefront of immigrants’ struggles for equality, the AFL-CIO has recently spoken out in defense of undocumented workers and their communities. The AFl-CIO Executive Council has joined a chorus of groups opposing Secure Communities, a notorious Homeland Security program that promotes the sharing of information between local and federal law enforcement authorities about the legal status of immigrants arrested by local police.

The AFL-CIO stated that the program encourages racial profiling, and demanded that the White House “Immediately terminate the operation of Secure Communities” and bar it from jurisdictions known to practice “discriminatory policing.” The statement, signed by the AFL-CIO and National Immigration Forum, specifically cited Alabama’s brutal new anti-immigrant law, which is currently being challenged in court. Read the rest of this entry →