Emanuel Alberto Pleitez, candidate running for mayor, gave a press conference at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, on Wednesday, February 20th on his vision for immigration in Los Angeles.
Processing centers and path to citizenship
The city should do everything in its power to expedite the citizenship process for eligible immigrants. However, I am very aware that a green card does not equal opportunity, and opportunity should not be limited to “deserving immigrants.” Whether it is undocumented workers or other underserved groups, we need to work harder to support the dreams and aspirations of all Angelenos. That is why my plan focuses on increasing opportunities to make one’s life better, through the right to work and the right to get a good education.
Work visa benefits
A work visa would make it clear that undocumented workers are valued members of the Los Angeles community. It would make it clear that they enjoy all the protections of California and United States labor law; must be paid the minimum wage and benefits available to all workers at that position; and bring a large population out of the shadows. Studies have shown that such a program would be a positive boon to our economy as well as the budget. Bringing more undocumented workers out of the shadow economy expands the tax base and increases tax revenue.
Current protection of undocumented workers under California and federal law
Many undocumented workers don’t know they have rights that protect them. Many employers don’t provide undocumented workers with the same wages and benefits they would other employees in that position. That’s not fair. That’s one group of Angelenos taking advantage of another. That is not what Los Angeles stands for, and that’s what I want to stop.
Necessity for work visa program
Undocumented workers are our friends, neighbors, and brothers and sisters. They are valued members of our community. They should not feel like second-class citizens. They should not feel afraid to go after the same protections, wages, and benefits as other Angelenos. We need a work visa to end our underground labor market and give these hard-working men and women the rights and benefits they deserve. If we do not, we are perpetuating poverty longer than we should.
Federal immigration reform and contradiction of federal law
We already do not enforce federal law when we do not deport undocumented residents for misdemeanors, and a work visa program is not without precedence in California. Last year, members of the State Assembly proposed a bill to grant essentially a work visa to undocumented agricultural workers. Unfortunately, that bill was tabled. I want to see it resurrected and enacted for all undocumented workers regardless of industry. Los Angeles does not need to wait for the federal government to enact immigration reform – we should take matters into our own hands. We should represent, protect, and respect all residents, regardless of immigration status.
Subsidizing education all depends on fixing our budget and reforming our pension system. I am the only candidate to propose a plan to get our budget on a path to sustainability. If we buy out our workers’ pension benefits and invest in underserved communities, we will have the revenue we need to make this happen. That is why it is so important to elect a Mayor that has a comprehensive vision for the city – so all the pieces fit together.
Education programs and immigration
We need to break the cycle of poverty for many families in many of our communities. That means investing in educational opportunities outside the classroom – opportunities that the families that need them most typically cannot afford. We must target programs at these groups to make sure we are doing everything we can to get more students to graduate and put more people on a path to success. This is our moment.
Learn more about Emanuel’s seven-point plan for Los Angeles at http://www.pleitezforla.com/issues.
Blog written by staff for the Emanuel Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor 2013 campaign.
Emanuel Alberto Pleitez is a progressive Los Angeles native, he’s committed to uniting, serving, and inspiring his community. Son of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants, and experienced in the private and public sector, he hopes to re-energize Los Angeles with a grassroots campaign the likes of which the city has never seen before.
Paid for by Emanuel Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor 2013, 1972 E Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles CA 90033. Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org.