THE BLOG

Will Republicans Listen to Paul Broun or Paul Ryan?

10/01/2013 11:25 am ET | Updated Dec 01, 2013

"These illegal aliens are criminals and we need to treat them as such." - Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA)

"We want to give people an ability to come out of the shadows and get themselves right with the law." - Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI)

House Republicans have a decision to make: are they going to listen to Paul Broun or Paul Ryan?

That decision, of course, falls with House Speaker John Boehner.

For too long, Boehner has let extremists like Broun dictate the actions of the House.

From the budget to the social safety net, the Speaker has abandoned his better instincts in favor of an increasingly radical caucus determined to destroy the government from within.

Immigration can and should be a different story.

In response to their resounding defeat in the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee issued a report that said: "We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party's appeal will continue to shrink."

For those of us that have been fighting for immigration reform for decades, any change in the GOP position was welcome news, whether it was out of politics or principle.

At the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), we seized on that moment and began the hard work of securing 60 votes in the Senate and 218 in the House.

Our union does not need to be reminded about the importance of this issue.

We know firsthand that our immigration system has been failing us.

We saw this failure in 2006 during the unconstitutional Swift Raids.

We saw it when we exposed the horrendous working conditions at Agriprocessors in Iowa.

We see it every day -- from the worker who cannot earn a decent wage to the husband kept apart from his wife and children to the person forced to watch their best friend taken away in handcuffs.

So our members mobilized and organized from coast to coast. They went to town hall meetings, participated in marches and rallies, and visited Congressional offices to create the momentum for comprehensive immigration reform.

In June, that hard work paid off when the Senate passed legislation on a strong bipartisan vote. But, as is too often the case, the House refused to follow suit.

In August, as members of Congress returned home for their summer recess, we ramped up the pressure.

We demanded reform that protects the rights of immigrants, keeps families together, and gives aspiring Americans the opportunity to become citizens.

Add that to the over 200 Democrats expected to support reform and it is clear we have the votes.

Now it is time for John Boehner to show the guts.

On October 5, the UFCW will be participating in rallies across the nation to demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform, all leading up to a massive march on Capitol Hill October 8.

Our message is clear.

We want to give aspiring citizens an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

We want full rights and protections for immigrant workers.

We want fairness and justice.

We want an immigration policy that reflects our values.

Speaker Boehner, we want a vote.

Listen to the American people. Listen to your friend Paul Ryan. Listen to reason.

Give us a vote today.