WASHINGTON, DC -- "The President today unveiled his priorities in achieving comprehensive immigration reform and we applaud his leadership. His proposal appropriately emphasizes creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, strengthening border and interior enforcement mechanisms and recognizes the economic implications of inaction.
While I agree that we need a plan that ensures future economic prosperity, modeling a system on the historically flawed guest worker programs will not work. We must re-examine this current exploitative model that creates a permanent underclass and often results in chronic abuse of workers and further undermines labor standards. The national unemployment rate is currently 7.8 percent, and even worse in the construction industry, 13.5 percent. We must not cause more harm to this slowly recovering economy or to our workforce. American workers are entitled to see that the United States is first preserving the economic standing of America's workforce before it invites new workers to labor in a newly constructed temporary worker program."