American Apparel’s Immigration Reform Campaign

Many companies have a advocacy project that they hold dear. For American Apparel, that project is the fight for immigration reform in Los Angeles. American Apparel has been a vocal supporter of the immigration reform movement since at least 2003. They have run ads and put up billboards calling for reform, and have been active in community protests. Their campaign “Legalize LA” has garnered much attention  and has put them at the forefront of the immigration debate in LA.

Why is American Apparel so involved?

First of all, they recognize the importance of immigrants for the economy, both in general, and in their own company. According to their Legalize LA website, nearly half of the top 50 venture firm companies were founded at least partly by immigrants. More importantly, however, many of their employees are threatened by detainment and deportation, and this is a threat to their company’s existence.  In the past, they have been pressured to fire up to 1800 undocumented employees who had decent salaries and benefits. They argue that many of these employees will only be forced to turn to crime or to work in the underground economy.

Who is being targeted?

Although the Immigration and Customs enforcement agency  (ICE) is targeting undocumented workers, there is a possibility that other immigrants are victims of the same process. Many times, immigrants could have trouble with their documentation, or they could accidentally be rounded up with undocumented workers. This could become a form of discrimination, and it is always a good idea for victims of discrimination to consult an immigration lawyer and discuss their options.

The proposed immigration reform

American Apparel believes in immigration enforcement but they believe policies surrounding immigration need to change first. Most importantly, if the US needs workers for manufacturing, there ought to be a program that allows for guest workers and more easy access to citizenship. In the meantime, American Apparel will continue to support their workers in the fight for immigration reform.



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