Some 1.8 million undocumented immigrants call Texas home. Texas has the second largest undocumented population behind California, making up an estimated 9% of the state’s labor force. Undocumented workers are disproportionately represented in low wage industries. In the construction industry, which employs the majority of WDP’s members, 50% of workers are undocumented.
Principles for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform
As a workers’ rights organization, WDP believes that comprehensive immigration reform is a necessary step in protecting all workers’ rights and ending abusive treatment of undocumented immigrants. Texas and the nation need immigration reform that keeps families together, honors the hard work and contributions of immigrants, rewards honest businesses, and creates a system that works for businesses and workers.
Read WDP’s Principles for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform here.
Since 2004 WDP has been involved in immigrants’ rights and immigration issues:
- Helped coordinate the 2004 Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride in Texas.
- Co-founded the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition (AIRC) in 2006, which mobilized 30,000 Austinites for just immigration reform – the largest march in the city’s history.
- Coordinated “A Day Without an Immigrant” along with AIRC, closing down an estimated 80% of restaurants and construction sites in the city to demonstrate the significant role immigrants play in the U.S. economy.
- Ongoing work to fight the impact of immigration enforcement programs such as Secure Communities that encourage collaboration between police and immigration enforcement officials.
- Published a report in February 2013 titled Build a Better Nation: A Case for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that showed that although undocumented workers were vital to the Texas construction industry, they were more likely to face workplace abuses.
Why Use the Term “Undocumented”?
Most civil rights organizations consider the term “illegal alien” to be derogatory and legally inaccurate. The word “illegal” carries a series of negative implications. For example, it is often assumed that “illegal” people have no civil or workplace rights, when in fact, all people have rights regardless of immigration status. Additionally, some people falsely think that entering the country without a visa is a felony crime, when in fact it is a civil violation (such as not paying your taxes accurately). “Undocumented” is a more accurate term, as it simply means an immigrant’s status is not documented by immigration authorities.