Last month, twelve U.S. Senators delivered a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano attacking the Obama administration for continuing to push an agenda that contains comprehensive immigration reform during “these troubled economic times.” Twenty more of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama asking him to expand harsh and costly immigration enforcement tactics, claiming such action would reduce the unemployment rate.
However, a report released today by America’s Voice shows that many of the representatives who oppose immigration in defense of the American worker have actually voted against the interests of hard-working Americans time and time again. Eighteen of the 20 House members who signed on to last month’s letter voted against increasing the minimum wage and 90 percent voted against extending unemployment benefits. All of them voted against equal pay for women. The letter that came out of the Senate was authored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and co-signed by Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), David Vitter (R-LA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Bunning (R-KY), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), James E. Risch (R-ID), Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). All of these Senators voted against increasing the minimum wage, none voted in favor of equal pay for women, and all of them received a grade of “F” from the AFL-CIO.
Eliseo Medina, a vice president at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), writes:
These leaders have no interest in supporting working families; no interest in raising standards or wages for working people who struggle everyday to provide for their families. In fact, these so-called champions of the American worker have taken every opportunity to make life harder for working families…it’s shameful to watch these members wear such a false veil of reform–fanning the flames of hate and fear against immigrants while championing policies that are bad for workers at every level.
Esther Lopez, Director of Civil Rights and Community Action at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) warned that UFCW members are now”armed” with this new research and will be ready to go to the backyards of the representatives and say, “you are not on our side.”
The report contends that anti-immigrant policy prescriptions would “only make a bad situation worse” by spending billions more taxpayer dollars on deportation, pushing millions more workers into the underground economy, and maintaining the status quo. Immigration reform with a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants would be an economic boon in the form of an expanded taxbase and a level playing field for all workers and businesses.