In recent days and weeks, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ opposition to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 has come under attack by his opponent Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Sanders has rightly referenced the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, as a big reason why he did support the bill. He specifically cited LULAC’s strong opposition to the temporary worker provisions, which would have created a guest worker program that would have exploited immigrant workers by relegating them to low-skill manual labor.
“The Senate compromise is a radical departure from our current system that is rooted in family and employment-based immigration,” stated Rosa Rosales, LULAC National President. “If enacted, the temporary worker provision alone would create a new underclass of easily exploited workers who would be forbidden from realizing the American Dream. This bill will dehumanize workers, short-change employers and lead to wide-spread undocumented immigration as many workers inevitably overstay their visas rather than return home.”
In 2007 the LULAC National Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose the Senate immigration compromise finding the bill unacceptable in its current form. The LULAC Board cited the imposition of a temporary worker program without a meaningful pathway to permanent legal residence, the elimination of four out of five family-based green card categories, and the implementation of an untested “merit-based” point system in place of our current employment-based immigration system as unacceptable components of the proposal.
LULAC came to the defense of Sanders in light of the attacks by Secretary Clinton.
“Senator Sanders’ mention of LULAC’s efforts to oppose the proposed immigration reform of 2007 demonstrates the power of LULAC’s grassroots efforts,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “LULAC is committed to preserving the dignity of all immigrant workers, and Senator Sanders’ ‘no’ vote in 2007 shows that the voices of our community reverberated through the halls of Congress and impacted national policy. We will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform that supports family unification, respects the human rights of immigrant workers, and provides a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants already making positive contributions to this country.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.