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Pro-Immigrant Policies are Economic Winners for American Workers

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Greg Sargent in WaPo and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh Make Strong Cases for Pro-Immigrant, Pro-American Worker Policies

Washington, DC – In a sharp Washington Post column, Greg Sargent makes the case for why new Biden administration policy guidance to protect undocumented whistleblowers doubles as pro-American worker policy that makes a mockery of MAGA extremists’ faux-populist attack lines. Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh made a persuasive case for why immigration reform is an essential part of strengthening the U.S. economy.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“Pro-immigrant policies are pro-worker policies and help immigrants and U.S. born workers alike. At a time of worker shortages and a sluggish economy plagued by inflation, pro-immigrant policies would juice the U.S. economy in the short- and long-term. The new whistleblower protections announced by the Biden Administration  are a positive development for both the undocumented population in the United States and native-born American workforce. Despite the efforts of MAGA Republicans to pit them against each other, the reality is that GOP opposition to immigration, sensible reforms and labor protections for undocumented immigrants hurt all workers. As Secretary Walsh points out, immigration reform could be a key component of strengthening the U.S. economy if we can overcome Republican nativism that holds us back.”

Read Greg Sargent’s Washington Post column, “Biden just outmaneuvered MAGA Republicans — and they barely noticed,” with select excerpts below:

“Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas unveiled an initiative on Friday that would extend more protection against deportation to undocumented immigrants who report labor rights violations by employers … Undocumented migrant workers often fear reporting workplace violations — ones they were victims of or just witnessed — because it could lead to their deportation.

… This policy attempts to align the interests of undocumented workers with those of native-born workers. For some on the right, casting those interests as irrevocably in conflict has been essential to their project. This zero-sum agitprop packages the nativist impulse to drastically limit immigration as all about protecting the American worker.

But this new move undermines that rhetoric. In describing the shift, Mayorkas took pains to note that it will facilitate holding “exploitative employers” accountable for taking advantage of vulnerable workers who are in the U.S. lawfully. Mayorkas added: “Employers who play by the rules are disadvantaged by those who don’t.” In other words, allowing undocumented migrants to speak out about exploitative labor violations without fear of retribution helps aboveboard employers and U.S. workers, too.

… “All workers, whether documented or undocumented, have an interest in being compensated, in not being abused, in being able to blow the whistle,” immigration lawyer David Leopold added. When the undocumented are exploited, Leopold said, “that brings down the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers as well.”

… Now that the administration hopes to protect undocumented migrants who blow the whistle against exploitative employers, will MAGA Republicans attack it? If they do, they should be challenged to say why they oppose holding employers accountable for their abuses. That would make their lack of constructive solutions on immigration even more glaring.”

Read excerpts of U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh’s new comments in Davos on how more immigrant workers and immigration reform will strengthen the U.S. economy: 

“I think the biggest threat, one of the biggest threats to our economy is not inflation. It’s– or wage growth, it’s lack of workers. And immigration reform is a key to that.

…a lot of people think of business people that are watching this show right now, are thinking immigration to fill jobs that are needed that they may not have workers for. The average American is thinking immigration, they see a picture of the Southern border. And I think they’re very– two very issues … I think we have to separate the issues, deal with the Southern border, but really think about our economy, and immigration, and how do we pass a bill where people that come to the United States of America, they educated. When they graduate, if they don’t get a visa, they get thrown– they don’t get thrown out, but they have to go back home.

We’re losing that. I mean, you think about the ability for us to keep some of that brainpower, if you will, in the United States working in the country, it’s important.”