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AFL-CIO's Trumka urges action to push the political left to polls

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By Gannett News Service
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

WASHINGTON — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wants President Obama to go “bold” on immigration to energize the political left going into the November election.

“No matter what he does, the right wing will go bonkers,” Trumka said on Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. “We think that he should take affirmative action with workers to let them come out of the shadows. We think that he should take back enforcement of immigration laws from the states and the cities.”

AFL-CIO leaders have had “significant meetings” at the White House with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who is leading the Obama administration's effort to come up with an executive order, Trumka said.

Johnson “will be very instrumental in formulating the president's policy,” the AFL-CIO president predicted.

Johnson served as general counsel at the Defense Department during Obama's first term. In that position, he co-chaired a 10-month defense study on the possible impact of repealing the “don't ask, don't tell” policy that paved the way for a congressional vote.

Johnson also is credited with defending continued use of the 2001 congressional authorization for the use of military force to fight terrorism, helping to explain how the authorization applies to al-Qaida and associated groups.

“The president brought him in because of his expertise,” Trumka said. “He's done a tremendous amount of study. He's met with every constituency out there.” He's given people tremendous opportunity for input so that he could learn and he could get a broad understanding. The president delayed the outcome of his report so he could have more time to study it.”

If the president's executive order isn't based on Johnson's recommendation, Trumka said, “Then I wonder why they went through all that effort.”

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