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Joint Statement by Union and Business on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

February 24, 2013

This week, a joint statement was issued by the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce regarding their efforts toward compromise on the issue of immigration reform.

Over the last months, representatives of business and labor have been engaged in serious discussions about how to fix the system in a way that benefits both workers and employers, with a focus on lesser-skilled occupations.  We have found common ground in several important areas, and have committed to continue to work together and with Members of Congress to enact legislation that will solve our current problems in a lasting manner.

The statement outlines three key principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: (1) U.S. workers should be considered first for any job openings, (2) in situations where businesses cannot find U.S. workers for certain positions, then businesses should be able to hire foreign workers “without having to go through a cumbersome and inefficient process,” and (3) the system needs to become more transparent with better data about the labor market and demographics.

This statement and efforts by business and labor to address guest worker issues is a significant step forward. Other leaders hailed the progress.

“For the first time, labor and business have agreed publicly to commit to immigration reform,” said Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, one of the labor groups involved along with the AFL-CIO in the negotiations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


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