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Published On: Fri, Jun 21st, 2013

Richard Trumpka on union support for immigration reform, must include Obamacare coverage

What may have surprised some, the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumpka, made a loud clarifying statement this week telling Newsmax that organized labor will oppose any immigration-reform measure that includes a ban on government-managed healthcare for illegal immigrants.

AFLCIO protesters support immigration“I disagree with those who say healthcare is a matter of privilege,” Trumka said. “It’s not a matter of privilege, but a right.”

Now stronger words for members of Congress pushing for language in the Gang of Eight bill to prevent these illegal immigrants from Obamacare priviledges. Trumpka says the healthcare ban as the work of “naysayers who want to add conditions” that will kill the bill.

“And we will oppose attempts to kill the bill,” Trumka said, adding that the AFL-CIO was fully committed to helping the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants “come out of the shadows” and become citizens.

Trumka’s fighting words came at a time when the Senate working group — known popularly as the Gang of Eight — appears headed toward including that healthcare ban in the comprehensive immigration package headed toward a Senate by July 4.

Here’s his initial statement back in April:

The bill introduced today is another step toward addressing a real crisis. The United States urgently needs a roadmap to citizenship for more than 11 million aspiring Americans. And while Washington, D.C., is full of legislative unveilings that dissolve into recriminations and unsolved problems, this time actually is different. Our cause is unstoppable. There will be a roadmap to citizenship in 2013.

As is to be expected in an 844-page first response to an issue as complex as immigration, there are several details in the bill that cause unintended, but serious, harm to immigrant workers and the broader labor market. We will work to correct those problems now that a bill is before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We also want to emphasize that while we are making progress in Washington, there is an accelerating crisis of deportations in America. It isn’t a crisis when violent criminals or drug dealers are deported after due process, that’s common sense. But it is a crisis when workers who stand up for themselves in the workplace are deported after employers decide immigrant workers no longer know their place. It is a crisis when DREAMers are separated needlessly from their parents by deportation.

We know that there will be a roadmap to citizenship soon, but not soon enough for hundreds of thousands of hard working people and immigrant communities. We call on the administration to cease deportations of people who will soon be eligible for a long overdue roadmap to citizenship so the legislative process can proceed without prolonging the crisis. That is the sensible and humane thing to do. When a war is about to end, it makes sense to reach a cease-fire rather than extend the suffering needlessly.

Our role is to make sure that roadmap leads to citizenship achievable not only in theory but in fact. Workers care for the elderly, mow our lawns or drive our taxis, work hard and deserve a reliable roadmap to citizenship. And so the labor movement’s entire grassroots structure will be mobilized throughout this process and across this country to make sure the roadmap is inclusive.

The labor movement’s role in the coming months is clear: continue to mobilize on behalf of not only an immigration reform bill, but a bill as compassionate and constructive as our country deserves. And so we will dedicate presidential campaign style resources to ensuring that all workers have a place on the roadmap to citizenship, to reuniting families, and establishing long overdue worker protections.

Along with our allies in the broad-based immigrant rights movement and in communities across the country, the labor movement says that the time for citizenship is now.

Contact: Jeff Hauser (202) 637-5018

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Richard Trumpka on union support for immigration reform, must include Obamacare coverage | says:

    […] Click here to view original web page at http://www.theglobaldispatch.com […]

  2. GOP Senators Ride to Schumer’s Rescue says:

    […] “What may have surprised some, the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumpka, made a loud clarifying statement this week telling Newsmax that organized labor will oppose any immigration-reform measure that includes a ban on government-managed healthcare for illegal immigrants,” says TheGlobalDispatch.com. […]

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