A union leader says the Agriprocessors immigration raid one year ago in Postville shows the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. Mark Lauritsen is the vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Lauritsen says one of the things we’ve learned is “you can’t enforce your way into a workable immigration system.” He says the new homeland security secretary should be applauded for saying we have to go beyond action against illegal workers and include bad employers. Lauritsen says there are more “bad apples” or Agriprocessors out there and that’s why we need reform.
Lauritsen says there are several things a new immigration policy should include. He says we need earned legalization for illegal workers who are already here. Lauritsen says we do need to think about secure borders and employer sanctions along with due process. He also says we need bilateral partnerships to work on things like the future flow of immigrant workers.
Lauritsen says the immigration reform would help rebuild the economy. Lauritsen says the reform should be part of the economic recovery package and should move illegals “out of the shadows” to become full participants in our society. He says we must punish employers like Agriprosscesors “who ganged the immigration system to drive down wages and working conditions to bring an end once and for all to this cycle of exploitation of the working men and women in this country.”
Lauritsen says a good thing that might come out of the Postville situation is that it gives the U.S. a chance to change immigration laws and “change the course of history.” Lauritsen made his comments on a conference call with reporters discussing Tuesday’s one-year anniversary of the Agriprocessors raid.