The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against an executive order granting citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants Thursday in what is likely a major blow to union membership.
Labor unions have been suffering a sharp decline in membership for decades. President Barack Obama signed a 2014 executive order opening the door to millions of new potential union members. The Supreme Court promptly closed that door by ruling that the president overstepped his authority. Union bosses claim their fight is about helping immigrants get the rights they deserve.
“[The] ruling is a setback for all those who have fought for more humane and rational enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “We continue to urge the administration to use its discretion to protect those courageous immigrant workers who are exercising their workplace and civil rights.”
Unions have already started to pave the road to get the millions of illegal immigrants into their ranks. They have set up training, workshop and recruitment programs all specifically aimed at the illegal immigrants that may be eligible for amnesty under the executive order. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leadership also condemned the ruling.
“This movement will not stop until every member of our community can live with dignity and without fear of deportation,” SEIU told membership in an email. “[They] had an opportunity to provide millions of immigrant families with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your life will not be torn apart.”
Union membership continues to go down year after year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data is available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014 however, the union membership rate was just 11.1 percent.
The Supreme Court came to a split decision which defaults the ruling to whatever the lower court decided. The executive order would have expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents programs to include millions more immigrants currently in the country illegally.
The AFL-CIO and SEIU did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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