Pittsburgh City Council has passed a unanimous resolution urging lawmakers at the state and federal level to adopt comprehensive immigration reform measures that would include a path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.
"The creation of a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans would improve wages and working standards for all workers by giving immigrant workers a voice in the workplace and halting employers who take advantage of failed immigration policies to exploit employees," the Council resolution stated. "Immigration reform is an urgent federal responsibility and must occur in a comprehensive, thoughtful manner guided by our nation's values of due process, civil and human rights, accountability, and proportionality."
At a press conference following the Council's action, Rudiak gathered together dozens of supporters, including representatives from labor, business, faith-based and other community groups, including the region's immigrant community.
"There is no reasonable system for people to become citizens of this country," she said. "That's why we have 11 million people living in the shadows. If we actually had a reasonable pathway to citizenship, people would not be doing that."
Rudiak, whose mother emigrated from Poland, said a Polish cousin of hers is now working in Spain because she was unable to find work in the U.S. even after graduating from Carlow University with honors.
"Not because she wasn't talented and not because they didn't want to hire her, because they did, but because the immigration process in this country is so absolutely onerous and literally takes years to get through," she said. "That's far too much red tape for any employer to be able to hire someone legally through the system."
Here is the text of the Council resolution:
"WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh has always been proud of its immigrant history, providing the backbone of industry and manufacturing and making Pittsburgh vital to the progress of the United States; and
"WHEREAS, immigrants from all over the world have been a significant portion of Pittsburgh’s growth over the past decade, bringing new life and investment to our City’s neighborhoods, educational systems, and commercial endeavors; and
"WHEREAS, each day thousands of immigrants work, own homes, open businesses, and contribute to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the City; and
"WHEREAS, above all, we believe in the human dignity of all Pittsburgh residents; and
"WHEREAS, our country’s immigration system is fundamentally broken, holding back our economy and fostering a sense of divisiveness and fear in communities throughout America; and
"WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh recognizes that immigration reform must protect the rights of all workers and families and provide sufficient channels for migration in the future; and
"WHEREAS, the creation of a pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans would improve wages and working standards for all workers by giving immigrant workers a voice in the workplace and halting employers who take advantage of failed immigration policies to exploit employees; and
"WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh recognizes the hopes of millions of immigrants to reunify their families and, as Pittsburghers have always held the core values of family and hard work, we recognize the dreams of young immigrants to get a quality education and contribute to our communities; and
"WHEREAS, immigration reform is an urgent federal responsibility and must occur in a comprehensive, thoughtful manner guided by our nation's values of due process, civil and human rights, accountability, and proportionality.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh hereby urges the 113th Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform as outlined in this resolution that establishes a clear, fast, and reasonable pathway to citizenship, keeps families together, upholds our values as a nation, promotes economic growth, and creates a fair immigration system guided by respect for the human rights of all persons; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall be delivered to the United States Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
SPONSORED BY COUNCILWOMAN NATALIA RUDIAK
CO-SPONSORED BY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARLENE M. HARRIS AND
COUNCILMEMBERS REV. RICKY V. BURGESS, PATRICK DOWD, BRUCE A. KRAUS, R. DANIEL LAVELLE, COREY O’CONNOR, WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND THERESA KAIL-SMITH