Secretary Solis said the immigration system "isn't helping those legitimate businesses and those employees right now that are getting shortchanged because there's an employer who doesn't want to play by the rules, is not paying back taxes or is not paying into the system," which ultimately "robs our economy of those revenues." Solis added, "Yes, we have to crack down on the border and make sure the criminals are taken out of this country, but at the same time we have to protect all workers." The Secretary said a pathway must be created for those immigrants willing to follow the rules to become documented. She said that it is simply impossible to deport 11 million people, destroying families and depriving the economy of many people who provide it great innovations.
Trumka urged immigration reform, maintaining that the current system negatively affects all workers. "If we're going to create an economy that really does work for all workers, immigration has to be fixed because it is a terribly broken system that is being exploited and creating a permanent underclass of citizens that is being used to drive down wages, so we have to eliminate that," he said.
Trumka added, "This nation was built on the notion that we embrace immigration."
Watch video of the entire discussion here or by clicking on the picture. For additional discussion of immigration reform, watch video of a plenary panel from the 2010 ACS National Convention called "Immigration Reform: Congress and the States." In addition, following that panel discussion, Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, talked with ACSblog about the need for greater public education surrounding immigration reform. Video of the interview, which can be downloaded as a podcast, is available here.