Labor unions have a big stake in immigration reform

May 1, 2013
Adrian Florido

As head of the 800,000-member Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Maria Elena Durazo is one of the nation’s most powerful union leaders, and a key player in the ongoing immigration reform negotiations. But before her current post, she led a hotel workers’ union. She said one of the hardest parts of the job was convincing workers who were in the country illegally to organize. They feared they could be easily fired, and she said that fear had rippling implications.

The hotly anticipated bill to overhaul our nation's immigration system is expected to be presented Tuesday by a bipartisan group of senators. At stake are the lives of at least 11 million — that’s the number of people living here without proper immigration documents.

From articles, interviews and tweets, we've pieced together what the proposal has in mind for different types of immigrant populations — long-term illegal residents, farm workers and felons, to name a few.

Luis Flores

Tucked away in the student center at University of California Berkeley, the Undocumented Student Program is designed to be a national model. It makes college possible for students without legal status.

Access to legal counsel proves challenging for immigrants

Mar 12, 2013

You would never notice it if you were walking by, because there are no signs, but San Francisco's immigration court is on the eighth and ninth floors of a nondescript office building here on Montgomery Street in the city's financial district. Immigrants can get a notice to appear here if they are facing deportation or applying for asylum. The people outside are here without lawyers. When I asked a man if he had a lawyer, he told me he wasn't sure if they'd let him see a judge or not.