WASHINGTON — United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) International President Joe Hansen released the following statement today in response to the introduction of comprehensive immigration reform legislation by Senate Democrats:
“The legislation introduced today by Senators Menendez and Leahy is an important step toward real, meaningful comprehensive immigration reform.
“As we have said, for too long, our nation’s badly broken immigration system has allowed unscrupulous employers to drive down wages and working conditions in industries across the nation, while creating an underground economy where labor laws are shredded and workers are afraid to report safety violations.
“The legislation announced today would chart a new course for our country: A course that protects workers, respects families and reflects our nation’s rich immigrant tradition.
“We applaud these Senators for offering real leadership and sensible solutions to our nation’s challenges, and we stand ready to work with them to ensure that pragmatic immigration reform becomes a reality. The labor movement has already released historic joint principles on immigration. The House has introduced a CIR bill, and now Senate Democrats have acted. It is time to roll up our sleeves and make this happen.
”It is unfortunate that Republicans across the country continue to use the issue of immigration as a tool to divide and to scapegoat. The American people want and deserve more. So rather than fabricating stories about beheadings in Arizona, let’s use this opportunity, and this legislation, to begin a level-headed debate about revamping our immigration system and revitalizing our economy.”