Yeah, it's the SEIU/Teamsters/UFCW (Change to Win Federation), along with the usual corporate suspects (ag, meat-processing, food prep) which are setting the agenda.
But why the unions? For ever and ever, the unions have opposed immigration of any sort (and yes, Matilda, they also opposed allowing blacks as members) because they knew that immigrants would undercut union-scale wage agreements.
Here's a short history of the events.
It was solidarity time inside the great hall along Chicago’s Navy Pier last July. The AFL-CIO was holding its 50th-anniversary convention. And support for mass immigration was a top priority. At various points in the proceedings, federation leaders such as President John Sweeney, and marquee guest speakers such as Jesse Jackson and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.), peppered their speeches with appeals to Congress to grant legal amnesty to millions of “undocumented workers.”
During that convention, the Change to Win federation split from the AFL-CIO.
The rancorous split led many commentators to conclude that the federations are hopelessly divided over policy issues, including immigration. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The driving force behind Change to Win is SEIU President Andrew Stern, who believes in labor and business “standing shoulder to shoulder” on immigration, fighting for more of it. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Stern’s former boss and mentor at SEIU, is also an immigration enthusiast, though he expresses his enthusiasm in language couched in classic leftism.
Following the 1952 Immigration Act and its amendments of 1965:
Illegal immigration was increasing in tandem with legal immigration. ...Labor leaders at first opposed any compromise that included an amnesty. But in the end,... resistance by the unions to the idea wore down. They settled on what had become a growing consensus. They would accept amnesty, so long as employers in the future would be subject to sanctions for hiring illegal immigrants. In the fall of 1986, the amnesty-for-sanctions tradeoff became law in the form of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).
The unions were suckered by the "sanctions" promise.
...employer sanctions, even in the early years only fitfully enforced, became laughable as time passed. In 1992 the federal government had levied 1,063 fines on employers for hiring illegal aliens. By 2002 that number had plummeted to 13—a 99% drop.
(A fact which Mark Belling approves wholeheartedly. Did anyone ever tell him that he is utterly mad?)
Meantime, John Sweeney becomes President of the AFL-CIO; he rose through the SEIU ranks, ironically enough.
Once in office, Sweeney quickly set about transforming the AFL-CIO into a vocal advocate for mass immigration. In 1996, the federation worked with ethnic and business activists to strip from pending immigration-reform legislation key provisions such as mandatory Social Security number verification and strict limits on refugee admissions. In February 2000, the AFL-CIO Executive Council announced its opposition to IRCA employer sanctions and support for amnesty for unauthorized workers.
Which was de facto the situation until GWB's speech. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Bush's call to require REAL authorization for immigrant workers ever emerges from Congress,
Now GWB and some Republican "leaders" see Mexican immigrants as the next Great Leap Forward in Republican Party membership.
They smoke dope.
Labor organizations have come to see America in much the same terms as the allies in MALDEF, the National Council of La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens. They believe Hispanic and other Third World immigrants are America’s victims who can be organized into a coalition of “people of color.” In 2001 the AFL-CIO Executive Council, the General Amnesty Coalition and other groups co-sponsored a May Day March for Workers’ Rights and March for Immigrant Rights. The Organizing Committee for Workers Rights held a May Day rally and concert in New York City’s Union Square under the slogan, “Amnesty for all immigrants— present and future.” Later, in October 2003, Sweeney welcomed illegal aliens to a pro-amnesty “freedom ride,” a bus convoy that converged on Liberty State Park in New Jersey.
The illegals, or amnestied legals, whatever--will become Democrats, period.
As to Globaloney George's chatter about "Real ID" of illegals/whatevers?
It's (at best) a ways off:
That’s precisely why President Bush adamantly denies that his guest-worker program constitutes an amnesty. But underneath the lofty rhetoric is the reality that the proposal lacks effective enforcement mechanisms to ensure that those who obtain renewable “temporary” three-year visas will return home. The Government Accountability Office recently admitted in a draft report that the agency overseeing the program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, would not have a fraud-management system in place until 2011. It looks like amnesty under a new name.
Fair warning: the devil is in the details. Those conservatives who think George Bush' speech was actually meaningful are treading on VERY thin ice. And those Republicans who think that the Mexican immigrants will join the Party and walk the neighborhoods are in for a VERY big disappointment.
And ANYONE who thinks that "Smart ID" cards and authorizations, yada yada, will be used to find and prosecute the big-time labor-abusers...
Smoke more dope.
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