A new coalition has formed in Anchorage in support of immigration reform. According to Felix Rivera, who is a member of the AFL-CIO and a spokesman for Alaskans For Immigration Reform, there are about eleven thousand undocumented immigrants in Alaska. The group hosted a small street demonstration in front of the offices of Senator Mark Begich and Senator Lisa Murkowski in Anchorage at noon today [thursday] to urge the Senators to support immigration reform.
“Aside from a pathway to citizenship, we want to make sure that we keep our borders secure, and that we keep families together. That’s really important. It’s really the right thing to do to keep families together, and also realizing that immigrants contribute to our society. They are not here to get a handout, they come here to work, and to better themselves and their families. “
Rivera says all three members of Alaska’s delegation have signed a letter in support of reform. The Immigration Modernization Act is scheduled for Senate floor debate in Washington DC next week. Daniel Esparza, a member of Anchorage’s Hispanic community, belongs to the union Unite Here which is affiliated with AFL-CIO.
“We applaud the effort, that we are very close to making history, and right now we believe that this is the year, and that this is the time to do it. “
Joelle Hall, also with AFL-CIO, says having a workable path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is important for all workers
“It’s very important to the working men and women of this country that workers who come to this country to work are treated fairly, and that they have pay and protections on the job that protect them, but also protect the pay and the conditions of the American worker. “
Hall says the immigration reform movement is not about unions, it’s about protecting workers .