National Labor Official Visits Milwaukee, Arguing For Immigration Reform
By Chuck Quirmbach
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 6:00pm
National labor official Eliseo Medina was in Milwaukee today, saying immigration reform would help workers.
Opponents of a path to citizenship for undocumented workers sometimes argue that the immigration bill now on hold in Congress would lead to some current U.S. citizens losing their jobs. That’s not the way Medina sees it.
Medina – the recently-retired secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, who also chairs the SEIU's immigration initiative – says many of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States are already working.
“They’re paying taxes and they’re contributing,” says Medina. “What we need, though, is to make sure that they all can be full contributors.”
He says legalizing undocumented workers will take workers out of the underground economy and lead to job creation for American workers – not job loss. He also says some SEIU members are undocumented, and it's time for them to be able to stop living in fear.
A challenge for the immigration bill, though, is to re-ignite congressional debate over the measure. Congress may have just ended the federal shutdown, but it isn't clear what other measures they plan to take up this fall. Medina says immigration advocates are contacting many members of Congress today.
Medina was in Milwaukee to help honor the pro-immigrant group Voces de la Frontera.