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[Excerpt] Overhaul of our nation’s immigration laws is long overdue. The current system is a blueprint for exploitation of workers, both foreign-born and native, and is feeding a multimillion dollar criminal enterprise at the U.S.-Mexico border.

America deserves an immigration system that protects all workers within our borders—both native-born and foreign—and at same time guarantees the safety of our nation without compromising our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties.

Any viable solution to this crisis must address the reasons why people are coming to the U.S. Most immigrants come from countries where the international development process has failed, and many are from countries where International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and trade policies have weakened countries’ economies and labor protections, causing a devastating impact on all workers. In some developing countries, IMF policies have caused public-sector workers to lose their jobs and their union protections, forcing them into competition in the private sector, where few, if any, jobs are available, driving down wages and working conditions even further. Trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement undermine the agricultural economies of developing countries, leading workers to leave the fields and consider moving north. Without rising living standards abroad for workers and the poor, the pressure for illegal immigration will continue and escalate.


Suggested Citation
AFL-CIO. (2006). AFL-CIO Executive Council statement: Responsible reform of immigration laws must protect working conditions for all workers in the U.S.. Washington, DC: Author.

Required Publishers Statement
© AFL-CIO. Document posted with special permission by the copyright holder.