Washington, DC—The Board of the National Consumers League (NCL), established in 1899 to seek social and economic justice for workers and consumers, has adopted for the first time in its history a policy statement in support of broad immigration reforms. “We adopted this policy because when we reflected on NCL’s long history of fighting for the rights of workers and consumers and our ongoing work today, we realize that immigrants have been, and continue to be, the greatest targets of workplace and marketplace abuses,” said Esther Lopez, an NCL board member representing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
NCL’s policy allows the organization to support many aspects of the immigration reform efforts embraced by many members of Congress and the Obama Administration.
Since its founding at the turn of the 20th Century, the National Consumers League has championed the interests of both consumers and workers. Many of NCL’s first successes focused on rights for workers, including minimum wage laws for women and child labor restrictions, and many of those workers were immigrants. Many suffered from extreme poverty and immigrant children were often employed working long hours in dangerous conditions. NCL’s first leader, Florence Kelley once wrote, “We are infinitely cruel to the immigrants themselves in Lawrence, Little Falls, Pittsburg, Chicago, and the East Side, to say nothing of all the mines… Never in all history was anything more cruel than what we do about young immigrant girls.”
“Immigrants today in the US are exploited in the labor force and denied access to jobs, education and housing. Immigrants tend to be more frequent victims of wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and in some states in particular, oppressed by anti-immigrant laws and that puts them and their families in constant fear of deportation. They also fall prey to consumer scams and frauds, and often bear the brunt of exploitive consumer policies in interactions with institutions like banks and insurance companies,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s Executive Director.
NCL’s Board Chair, Anna Flores, noted, “America has always been a nation of immigrants. NCL mission supports the creation of a modern, 21st century legal immigration system that reflects our legacy. Our policy in support of immigration reform is in keeping with that legacy.”
NCL’s Policy Statement is below:
NCL supports a principled, comprehensive immigration reform that treats all immigrants with respect and dignity, no matter their legal status in the United States. NCL’s policy is below:
- Renews our commitment to citizenship that fully integrates undocumented immigrants into our way of life, affirming our shared rights, protections and responsibilities by providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.
- Protects the sanctity of family by reducing the backlogs and keeping spouses, parents and children together.
- Attracts the best and brightest skilled professionals to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and build on the success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and incorporates DREAMers, young immigrants who are Americans but for a piece of paper, into mainstream life through a path to citizenship so that America benefits from their scholastic achievements and military service.
- Ensures smart and effective enforcement that protects our borders, fosters commerce, and promotes the safe and legitimate movement of people and goods at our ports of entry.
- Ends the exploitation of U.S. and immigrant workers by providing safe and legal avenues for foreign workers to fill legitimate workforce needs, and establishes a workable employment verification system that prevents unlawful employment.
NCL supports comprehensive immigration reform that reflects both the League’s history and legacy in support of workers and consumers, and our interest and values as Americans, and is consistent with our nation’s commitment to fairness and equality.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.