CHICAGO The United
Steelworkers union supports immigration reform and believes
that a sensible change in policy would benefit the metals
industry and the broader economy, a USW official said.
"Im a member of the
AFL-CIO Executive Council, and I support their call for
comprehensive immigration reform," USW international vice
president for human affairs Fred Redmond told AMM.
The AFL-CIO, which represents 57
labor groups, this month launched a campaign for "commonsense
immigration reform with a realistic and workable roadmap to
Redmond said he hopes any reform
legislation coming out of Congress will ensure that work visas
are "issued in a practical way, and not used to drive wages
down in the United States. There should be an independent
market commission that would provide a secure authorization
method based on labor market shortages and where the actual
Fixing immigration would help
boost the nations gross domestic product (GDP), Redmond
said, citing research by the federal government and economists
that reform could raise the GDP 0.8 to 1.3 percent by 2016;
boost patent applications and lead to home-grown innovation;
increase business start-ups, including venture-capital-funded
public companies; increase demand for locally produced goods;
and help bilateral trade, especially in the North American Free
Trade Agreement region.
"With an immigration system that
makes sense, Mexico can become a true trading partner and break
down some barriers in the trading system," Redmond said. He
also called for "rational and humane" control of the
"We also think that a
comprehensive, sensible policy will help employers get rid of
E-Verify (a document-check program) and some administrative
burdens. Its a win-win," he said.
Redmond estimated that at least
20 percent of USW members are immigrants, primarily from Mexico
but also from Europe and Asia.