HOUSTON—American Federation of Teachers President and AFL-CIO Executive Committee member Randi Weingarten participated today in a Harris County, Texas, kickoff event and press conference as part of the AFL-CIO's Campaign for Citizenship in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
She was joined by Harris County AFL-CIO Council Secretary-Treasurer Richard Shaw, DREAM Act-eligible student Denise Ortiz, immigrant workers and activists, and community partners. The effort kicking off today will be punctuated by hundreds of planned meetings with members of Congress in both parties in Texas and across the nation.
"Commonsense, comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform is long overdue," said Weingarten. "Immigration is a priority issue for both the AFT and the AFL-CIO. Americans know that our strength has always been built on the simple notion that America is a place where many become one. The AFT, as the representative of those who teach and care for our next generation, is working to open the path to opportunity and the American dream for the next generation of immigrants and citizens."
Shaw said: "Working people are working people—it doesn't matter where they were born." He added that action is important in this critical moment in our economy. "We need comprehensive immigration reform—not just for immigrants' rights, but for the rights of all workers who are trying to make a decent living for their families. Only unscrupulous employers win when immigrant workers are denied a voice at work and other basic rights. The creation of a road map to citizenship is recognition that our failed immigration policies have failed all workers," he said.