The AFL-CIO began a nationwide campaign Tuesday to help thousands of undocumented immigrants sign up for President Obama’s programs to protect them from deportation and allow them to work legally in the USA.
The massive effort is moving forward despite the fact that two of Obama’s three executive actions on immigration have been put on hold because of court challenges.
More than 200 union members from 25 states gathered in a Holiday Inn in Washington for three days of training designed to allow them to return home and begin helping undocumented workers seek legal status.
“If anyone asks you why we’re holding this training now, while we wait for a judge to either clear the way or put up another hurdle, tell them this progress can be stalled but it cannot be stopped,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told members of two dozen unions. “We’ve come this far. We’re going forward. We will not be turned back.”
I hope it’s not too jingoistic these days to note that the American Federation of Laborers and Congress of Industrial Organizations was once concerned with the prospects of its existing members — which often meant opposing competition from foreign labor — rather than restocking its stagnant membership with formerly illegal workers, who will see their wages rise as already-legal laborers see theirs drop.
That, of course, was a while ago, and the AFL-CIO and other big-time labor groups in the U.S. have been solidly in favor of comprehensive immigration reform by any means necessary for some time now.