CHICAGO – Leaders from the Illinois AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation of Labor applaud the U.S. Senate for voting overwhelmingly to pass bi-partisan, comprehensive immigration reform that will protect U.S.-born workers and aspiring citizens as well as create a pathway to citizenship.
“Working people in Illinois and across the country will benefit from today’s bipartisan vote to help make comprehensive immigration reform a reality. While Republicans certainly have extracted a high price for moving this necessary legislation forward, the compromise is a historic step in the right direction and we thank Senators Durbin and Kirk for their support,” said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Countless Illinoisans have been speaking up in favor of comprehensive immigration reform that protects workers’ rights, keeps families together, and creates an attainable roadmap to citizenship. The fight continues as we urge the U.S. House of Representatives to take up comprehensive reform without delay and for Illinois’ congressional delegation to be its champion.”
“The key to this legislation is the roadmap to citizenship for millions of people who have been living and working here, contributing to our communities without the ability to exercise basic rights on the job and living in fear of deportation. Thanks to a broad coalition of union members, small business owners, faith leaders, and immigrant advocates in Illinois coming together, we are one large step closer to finally having a workable immigration process that protects all workers,” said Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “On behalf of Chicago workers, I want to thank our senators for their support and I want to thank our members and community allies - but our work is not done until this comprehensive immigration reform becomes law.”
Union members have been working to ensure comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality. In recent weeks, thousands of union members placed calls and sent emails and petitions to Mark Kirk’s office to urge his support of worker-centered, comprehensive immigration reform. Local unions and central labor councils, representing hundreds of thousands of workers across the state, passed resolutions urging their elected representatives to support comprehensive reform. Illinois workers sent letters to the editor and participated in rallies and roundtables, while many more were engaged through new media outreach. More than 34,000 people viewed a Labor for Citizenship web video produced by the Illinois AFL-CIO and Chicago Federation of Labor.
Illinois voters strongly favor comprehensive immigration reform and by large margins support a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans even without extraordinary border security measures like those contained in the Corker-Hoven amendment. A recent poll of Illinois voters, conducted by a Republican and Democratic pollster and commissioned by the IL AFL-CIO, showed eight in ten Illinois voters support a path to citizenship and support comprehensive immigration reform by a 40-point margin. Support for comprehensive reform was even stronger in Chicago’s five collar counties.