For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Contact: Viridiana Vidal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles, CA — In response to today’s US Senate hearing entitled “Immigrants are Essential Workers in America,” the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) sent a letter to Subcommittee Chair Senator Alex Padilla (CA-D), thanking the Senator for taking this initial step, and calling on him to host a hearing on “the direct conflict that currently exists between US immigration law enforcement and labor law enforcement.”
In addition, NDLON invited the US Senator to meet and join undocumented workers in lifting up their testimonies and proposed solutions as well. As the letter reads, “undocumented workers themselves are best suited to describe the problems they face and to propose solutions that benefit them and the country at large.”
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW.
May 12, 2021
US Senator Alex Padilla
11845 West Olympic Blvd, Suite 1250W
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Re: Request to host hearing to reconcile US immigration & labor policy
Dear Senator Padilla,
On behalf of our 60 member organizations nationally, and 11 member day labor worker centers in California signed below, we write to formally request that you schedule a hearing to discuss the direct conflict that currently exists between US immigration law enforcement and labor law enforcement, a conflict that is currently playing out to the detriment of both immigrant and worker rights. Moreover, we write to invite you to meet directly with undocumented immigrant workers from across California.
We appreciate the hearing you hosted as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, entitled “The Essential Role of Immigrant Workers in America” on May 12, to address current legislation to provide legal status to immigrant workers deemed “essential.” This is an important first step. It also underscores the need for much further conversation, and action, to address the ongoing tension that exists as the enforcement of outdated, unjust, and racist US immigration laws continue to undermine labor enforcement with attendant consequences that have exposed mixed status immigrant families to heightened infection and death rates during the pandemic.
As you know, predatory and unscrupulous employers deliberately use the threat of immigration enforcement to undermine, coerce, and threaten workers, directly hampering the exercise of workers’ rights at their workplace. Moreover, we just experienced four years of US government policy that deliberately sought to terrorize immigrant workers into voluntarily sacrificing bedrock rights afforded to them under the Constitution and under longstanding labor laws at the state and federal level. The consequences of this situation are severe. Recently, we published a report describing how Black, Brown and Asian people are getting sick and dying of COVID at alarmingly disproportionate rates.
This is an urgent matter for your subcommittee with jurisdiction over the immigration-related functions of the Department of Labor. Our day labor worker centers are united in calling upon President Biden to utilize his full vested authority to exercise discretion in the enforcement of immigration law to ensure that labor enforcement is given primacy whenever there is a conflict. For example, we have called upon President Biden to suspend deportation and provide work authorization for all undocumented immigrant workers who come forward to report abusive work environments. Moreover, we have called upon the Biden Administration to provide an immediate amnesty to all surviving family members of undocumented immigrants who died because of performing essential labor during the pandemic.
Inspired by your hearing, we also invite you to meet with and uplift the voices and testimonies of undocumented working people who have confronted the brutality of the status quo – in California and across the country. We believe that undocumented workers themselves are best suited to describe the problems they face and to propose solutions that benefit them and the country at large.
Just as we are working to elevate the important issues you raised during the hearing, we hope you will join us to ensure that immigrant workers receive the attention, gratitude, and above all, the rights they deserve.
Given the multiple crises being confronted by undocumented workers, the hearing that we propose is an opportunity to visibilize and honor the work of countless frontline working people that have died; to unequivocally reaffirm undocumented people’s humanity; and to reaffirm their right to legal personhood before the law.
We look forward to your response.
National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
Pomona Economic Opportunity Center
Employee Rights Center (San Diego)
Street Level Health Project (Oakland)
Centro Laboral de Graton
CARECEN-LA (Los Angeles)
Pasadena Community Job Center
Day Worker Center of Mountain View
Day Worker Center of Santa Cruz County
Dolores Street Community Services (San Francisco)
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