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NC State AFL-CIO announces support for comprehensive immigration reform

Jeremy Sprinkle
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February 6, 2013

Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director, 336-255-2711, [email protected]


State AFL-CIO stands with workers, advocates, and Civil Rights community to call for a road map to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans

Raleigh, NC – Today, the North Carolina AFL-CIO joined with immigrant workers and advocates, the Civil Rights community, and local community organizations to reaffirm their support for comprehensive immigration reform that protects immigrants and American workers. North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan announced the adoption of a resolution by the state and local AFL-CIO which calls on Congress to pass common-sense immigration reform that includes a practical and inclusive road map to citizenship and reflects core American values such as fairness, equality, and family unity.

“This morning we stand here together to say that immigrant workers have suffered long enough,” said MaryBe McMillan, state AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer. “It is time for the labor movement to do the right thing, to organize and fight back, because when we allow one group of workers to be exploited, all workers suffer.”

The resolution acknowledges that “more than 11 million immigrant aspiring citizens contribute to our communities” and argues that our “democracy cannot function unless all men and women, regardless of their skin color or where they were born, can participate meaningfully in the political process with full rights and equal protections.”

During the press event, the kickoff to the AFL-CIO’s national campaign for comprehensive immigration reform, working families pledged to continue building the strong coalition needed—including civil rights, human rights, and immigrant rights organizations—to promote citizenship and end exploitation. That effort includes a campaign to lobby Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan to advance the cause of immigration reform, already underway in the U.S. Senate, and to encourage U.S. Representatives to do the same.

“Immigration reform is not just a moral issue, although it is that,” said Bill Samuel, director of government affairs for the AFL-CIO, “It is also an economic issue. Immigration reform will make jobs better for all workers.”

“We need to ensure that guest worker programs don’t only serve the needs of businesses,” said Nadeen Bir, director of advocacy and organizing for the Durham-based Student Action with Farmworkers. “Workers’ rights and protections must be our priority, and this is good for all U.S. workers.”

Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina conference of the NAACP, called on America to live up to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. “When we deny immigrants their rights, we deny the very promises of America - to ‘bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free’. If that’s not true, then we should erase the etching and say that’s no longer the America we hope to be.”

“Working people are working people. It doesn’t matter where they were born,” said James Andrews, President of the North Carolina AFL-CIO. “In North Carolina, we recognize that our movement is strongest when it welcomes all workers. Only unscrupulous employers win when immigrant workers are denied a voice at work and other basic rights. The creation of a road map to citizenship is recognition that our failed immigration policies have failed all workers.”


The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of all working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.

Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform joined the state AFL-CIO

NC State AFL-CIO kicked off national AFL-CIO campaign for comprehensive immigration reform at a press conference in Raleigh, NC on Feb. 6, 2013