R 308
2001-H 6549
Enacted 6/26/2001

H  O  U  S  E     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Representatives Williams, Fox, Almeida, Benson and Cicilline Date Introduced:   June 22, 2001

WHEREAS, These great United States were founded upon the dreams and traditions, the energy and labor of immigrants. They traveled far and wide from many nations to what they hoped would be a better world; and

WHEREAS, In this new century, immigrants continue to be a key driving force in the United States economy and in the economy of the State of Rhode Island, and such a major figure as Alan Greenspan has stated that immigrants are essential to the ongoing strength of our economy; and

WHEREAS, Much of the ongoing flow of immigration has resulted in dramatic changes in the global economy which have uprooted many individuals and families, and which have made them leave their native lands in search of sustenance and survival; and

WHEREAS, Our society has many sectors whose stability is dependent upon the labor of immigrants, and in particular on those who have no legal status. These undocumented immigrants are unfortunately subject to many injustices in the workplace. Their lack of legal status makes them fearful of retaliation, so that many of them endure long hours and low pay, unsanitary and squalid working conditions, sexual harassment and discrimination; and

WHEREAS, This exploitation of undocumented immigrants is made possible by the current system of employer sanctions. Immigration enforcement was supposed to be a shield defending labor rights; instead, it has become a sword used by unethical employers to undercut the rights of all workers; and

WHEREAS, In previously recognizing the plight of undocumented immigrants, the United States Congress in 1986 passed, as part of its Immigration Reform and Control Act, an amnesty program affecting those immigrants present in this country prior to January 1, 1982. The act also created a new enforcement system imposing sanctions on employers who hire undocumented workers. Almost two decades have passed, and some employers have used such sanctions to exploit undocumented workers who more recently have come to our shores; and

WHEREAS, The need for a new amnesty program has been widely recognized. On February 16, 2000, the executive council of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the largest labor organization in the land, issued a statement endorsing a new legalization program. In March the United States Catholic Conference and National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a joint statement with the A.F.L.-C.I.O. announcing a broad based campaign designed to encourage a new amnesty program for undocumented immigrants; and

WHEREAS, Undocumented immigrants in Rhode Island and throughout these United States make substantial contributions to our economic, civic and cultural life but unjustly remain vulnerable to exploitation as long as they are denied legal immigrant status, and as long as current employer sanctions persist; and

WHEREAS, The present immigration policies of the United States have been unevenly applied to the peoples of the African, Caribbean and West Indies nations; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That we, the House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby wholeheartedly support a new legalization program to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal residency in the United States. We support the abolition of the present system of employer sanction and we join the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Coalition for Dignity and Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants other leading business, religious and civic leaders and organizations in urging the United States Congress to establish new legalization programs that would ensure the rights of undocumented immigrants and to insure that it is justly applied to all peoples of African descent; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he is hereby authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Rhode Island Delegation to the United States Congress.

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