August 14, 2007
Statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
(Washington, DC) – On a hot, quiet August morning in Washington, DC – when the President is on vacation and Congress at recess – the Bush Administration announced an immigration reform package that essentially mandates federal racial discrimination.
The Administration’s guidelines would throw the doors open to racial discrimination to whole classes of people by placing an undue burden on workers who sound foreign, look foreign and particularly, on the tens of millions of Hispanic and Asian-Americans who would face greater scrutiny in the workplace. It is irresponsible to toss out civil rights for the sake of political gamesmanship.
Considering the circumstances, today’s announcement smacks of nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at terrifying immigrant workers. Further, this program lacks the support and mandate of the American people who have been demanding humane, comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the root causes of illegal immigration. This program offers no solutions, only punishments to workers.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has proven by its past behavior that it is not beyond their scope to traumatize innocent workers, including U.S. citizens, under the guise of immigration enforcement. During its raids at Swift meatpacking plants last December, all workers, including citizens, legal residents, were held by ICE agents and subjected to unlawful search and seizure. Law enforcement must uphold and defend the Constitution, not violate it.
Congress and the President promised the American people it would work toward solutions to these problems but both parties have failed. It is time for our elected leaders to get back to work – not with unauthorized, sweeping gestures like this Bush enforcement program.
More than 250,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) work in the meatpacking and food processing industries. Many of our workplaces include immigrant workers. Enforcement actions aimed strictly at workplaces like these accomplish nothing in terms of stemming the flow of workers entering the U.S. seeking the American Dream. Instead, they create huge turmoil in communities, significantly disrupt the otherwise stable production in the plant and violate the civil rights of all workers in the workplace.
The UFCW will continue to fight for reform that ensures that all working people—immigrant and native-born—are able to improve their lives and realize the American dream.
For the UFCW position on immigration go to Issues