Immigration Reform


WHEREAS, the United States is a nation of immigrants founded on the shared ideals and rights of democracy, freedom of speech, religious tolerance and equal opportunity; and

WHEREAS, many immigrants come to the U.S. because of a lack of quality jobs in their home country, a situation made worse by America’s failed trade policies; and

WHEREAS, immigrant workers represent a significant percentage of workers employed in core Teamster industries and stand on the frontlines of many ongoing Teamster organizing campaigns; and

WHEREAS, unscrupulous employers exploit undocumented workers by paying them substandard wages, and avoid paying employee payroll and other taxes, and these actions hurt all U.S. workers by driving down labor standards and depriving federal, state, and local governments of revenues; and

WHEREAS, the current electronic verification system utilized by employers warrants considerable improvement and many employers exploit this flawed system and use the threat of immigration law and deportation to frighten and intimidate workers who attempt to improve their working conditions by forming a union; and

WHEREAS, children who are brought to this country illegally and in many cases will spend the vast majority of their lives in the U.S. and identify as being Americans with a desire to be a part of the productive and law-abiding populace of this country; and

WHEREAS, an injury to one worker, whether documented, native born, or not, is an injury to all workers and it is the mission of the Teamsters Union to vehemently fight for respect and dignity in the workplace for all working men and women;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters believes that the most effective way to fully protect U.S. workers, reduce the unlawful exploitation of immigrant workers, and eliminate the incentive of employers to hire undocumented workers is for all workers – immigrant and native-born, to have
full and complete access to the protection of labor, health and safety laws; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Teamsters Union supports efforts to enact a comprehensive reform of the immigration system that includes a rational and reasonable pathway to earned legalization in order to end the underground, second class worker economy, where they are easily exploited by employers whose actions harm all U.S. workers by driving down labor standards and depriving federal, state, and local governments of revenues; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that immigration enforcement initiatives should focus on exploitative employers and that immigration laws must be enforced in a manner that ensures fair and humane treatment for all, full access to the law including judicial review, adequate translation, and access to counsel and the federal court system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the most effective electronic employment verification system is one that determines employment authorization accurately through an independent third party, prevents discrimination, and provides sufficient due process and privacy protection; and that employers who abuse electronic employment verification systems to recruit, hire or exploit undocumented workers, evade the payment of taxes, produce fraudulent documents, or retaliate against workers who exercise their labor rights, must be punished with significant penalties and fines; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Teamsters Union will continue to oppose any expansion of a “guest worker” or visa type program that institutionalizes the indentured servant status characteristic of bracero programs of the past; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Teamsters Union supports legislation to rescind the Hoffman Plastics Supreme Court decision; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Teamsters Union would support legislation like the Development, Relief and Education for Minors Act (DREAM Act), which addresses the tragedy of young people who grew up in the U.S. and have graduated from U.S. high schools, but whose future is circumscribed by our current immigration laws, by creating a pathway to permanent legal resident status for high school graduates who can demonstrate good moral character and have either been accepted to college or have enlisted in the military, as part of overall reform immigration reform.