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Labor’s Shift on Immigration

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Benjy Sarlin with a nice overview of how organized labor has shifted from a key anti-immigration force to one supporting immigration with great fervor. To be sure, there are a lot of individual unions, particularly in the building trades, that are not pro-immigration. But those unions are increasingly marginalized within the larger labor movement, particularly when you have unions like SEIU with large numbers of undocumented members. Labor’s problems with immigration go back a lot farther than Cesar Chavez. Organized labor’s first big political victory in this country was the Chinese Exclusion Act, Gompers’ AFL was largely anti-immigrant, etc. That organized labor is so strongly on the side of humane immigration legislation is a big deal and will help push for a quality bill this year.

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