In the wake of Trump's anti-immigrant executive orders and Governor Abbott's threats against sheriffs that refuse to comply with all ICE detainer requests, the delegates of the Harris County Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO unanimously passed the attached resolution.

Resolution: Protection of Immigrant Families
Harris County Labor Assembly

WHEREAS, core to the labor movement are the values of solidarity, freedom, opportunity, and equality for all;

WHEREAS, working people are strongest when working together and the labor movement is strongest when it is open to all workers, regardless of where they come from;

WHEREAS, we as a labor movement have previously called for inclusive reform of our immigration laws, and adopted a position that demands a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented workers, the strengthening of family reunification as the basis of immigration policy, protection of the right to organize for all workers, the repeal of employer  sanctions, and opposition to guest worker programs; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO is committed to working together on the side of justice for all, along with community partners, including civil rights, human rights and immigrant rights organizations, to pass immigration reform that encompasses the principles of this resolution and that strengthens our democracy;

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO passed Resolution 23, which:

·      calls on Congress to ensure full labor and workplace rights and protections for all workers regardless of immigration status, including the right to organize and enforce worker protections without retaliation;

·      calls upon Congress to create a fair, humane roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants that is broad and inclusive and not contingent upon border security measures or going to the “back of the line” of prospective immigrants;

·      supports family reunification by increasing legal avenues for loved ones to reunite with each other and by reducing unreasonable wait times that keep families separated;

·      calls on Congress to ensure due process and protections at every level of immigration and to reinstate judicial review;

·      calls for the end of enforcement programs such as Secure Communities, racial and ethnic profiling, and the excessive use of detention, including mandatory and prolonged detention;

·      supports a reform on border enforcement by establishing safe and efficient ports of entry that promote public safety and uphold civil and human rights;

·      calls upon Congress to provide immigrants with equal access to healthcare and other public benefits;

·      rejects the use of electronic employment verification systems, such as E-verify which builds upon the flawed employer sanctions framework and pushes workers into an underground economy where workplace abuses are prevalent;

·      supports immigration reform that will also address the root causes of forced migration by reforming our international trade policies to protect workers and families of all nations.

WHEREAS, President Trump has signed executive orders to commence raids and increase deportations of undocumented immigrants; turn our backs on Central American children fleeing violence allowed into the US; direct the Department of Homeland Security to build an unnecessary and costly border wall; and that threaten retaliation against law enforcement agencies who value trust with the community as a pillar for keeping their communities safe (so-called sanctuary cities);

WHEREAS, Texas Governor Abbot has threatened sheriffs who refuse to honor requests made by the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain inmates in county jails whose immigration status is in question with cutting millions of dollars in state criminal justice grants and with legislation that would impose criminal and civil penalties on them to remove them from office;

WHEREAS, Travis County Sheriff Hernandez partially discontinued cooperation with ICE, and which Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also said during his campaign that he wanted to eliminate;

WHEREAS, Mayor Turner announced that immigrants, refugees, and other communities at risk of being targeted are welcome here and will be protected in Houston; affirmed his support for Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA); and HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza and HPD Chief Art Acevedo echoed the Mayor’s positions;

WHEREAS, Houston Community College recently passed a resolution declaring HCC a safe space for all students regardless of legal status;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Harris County Labor Assembly

·      opposes Trump’s executive orders referred to above;

·      calls upon the state legislature to retain the Texas Dream Act;

·      calls upon Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to only honor ICE detainers placed on those charged with capital murder, aggravated sexual assault or continuous smuggling of persons or with a federal order or an arrest warrant for any other offense;

·      calls upon the City of Houston and other municipalities within Harris County to pro-actively do everything within their authority to protect immigrant communities;

·      And resolves to work harder to protect ALL communities threatened by this administration.

Passed and adopted by the Harris County Labor Assembly on this 25th day ofJanuary, 2017.

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President, Harris County Labor Assembly