By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is a close political ally of the Obama Administration, and a Mexican lawyers group (the Mexican National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD)) have filed a complaint with the Mexican Government arguing that the Alabama anti-illegal immigration law breaches the supplemental labor agreement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The SEIU announced in a written statement that they have been told that their complaint is under review by the Mexican government and that they were consulting with the American Government.
The SEIU/ANAD complaint claims that Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration law is “discriminatory” and “abusive” toward all workers (not just immigrants) and alleges that HB 56 violates international human rights and labor rights standards and undermines the ability of federal authorities to effectively enforce labor and employment laws.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina said, “We hope that further review of Alabama’s racial profiling law will make clear its devastating impact on workers, on the law’s potential for minimum wage and overtime violations, and on workers’ freedom of association which are supposed to be protected under the NAFTA labor clause.”
Mexico’s Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare issued a letter in response to the complaint filed this year with the Mexican government by the SEIU and ANAD, which cites the NAFTA side agreement, North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). The letter said that the Mexican government had accepted the complaint and is seeking consultation with the U.S. government.
The NAALC is a side agreement to NAFTA that commits the United States, Mexico, and Canada to uphold labor principles and to effectively enforce labor laws. The NAFTA labor agreement is the only trade pact with a clause specifically protecting the rights of migrant workers. The SEIU’s attorneys claim that the NAALC requires that migrant workers be given the same legal protection as U.S. nationals regarding working conditions.
According the SEIU written statement, “Alabama’s exports to Mexico totaled more than $1.7 billion in 2011, a 53.4 percent increase over 2008. Of Alabama’s largest export products in 2011, automotive products and bituminous coal stand out. Several of the motor vehicles assembled in Alabama — Honda’s Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline and Mercedes Benz’s M Class sport utility vehicle — are sold in Mexico, making it an important market for these Alabama products.”
In the 2011 legislative session, the Republican controlled Alabama legislature passed HB56: the Beason Hammons Alabama Citizen and Taxpayer Protection Act, which made being an illegal alien in Alabama a state offense. The state was then sued by the Obama Justice Department, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), pro-illegal alien groups, several Alabama Churches, as well as individuals. While several provisions of the controversial law were later overturned by the Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the heart of the law (that state and local law enforcement can ask for your identity and proof of legal residency) has withstood legal challenges to this point.
There are over 11 million persons living in the United States without the legal right to live here. The Barack H. Obama administration supports providing a path to American citizenship for most of those people. Critics of that policy claim that amnesty will only encourage more illegal aliens to enter the country.
To Read the original complaint in English: