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Creating A Better Life for All

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Associate Director of Latino Affairs and Immigration for the Office of Public Engagement, discusses her experience at the Department of Labor movie screening of 'A Better Life'.

Last week I had the honor of watching one of the best films I have seen in years. Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Hilda Solis, the Department of Labor (DOL) hosted a screening of A Better Life for students and Administration employees. The film follows Carlos Galindo, a father with the strength and determination to ensure a better life for his son Luis, while living in the shadows of Los Angeles, a place I called home for 9 years.

In front of an audience of nearly 300 stakeholders and guests, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis introduces and holds a discussion with film director Chris Weitz, Diane Cortez, OSHA Investigator; and Lucia Garcia, Wage & Hour Investigator before screening the 'A Better Life' on the evening of Thursday, February 16, 2012. (Photo Credit: Department of Labor)

A Better Life is a powerful reminder of the lengths people will go through in order to provide for themselves and their families. It is also a powerful reminder of the need to fix the broken immigration system and illustrates the consequences of not acting. The President believes we must create a 21st century immigration system that works for employers, families, and immigrants. The Galindo family puts a human face on the need for Congress to work together in order to fix the broken immigration system through bipartisan legislation. While our Administration has taken a series of steps to improve our legal immigration system, we know that Comprehensive Immigration Reform is the most effective and long-term path forward in order to meet America's economic and security in the 21st Century.

We know that there are real economic benefits to Comprehensive Immigration Reform. For example, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the DREAM Act –as approved in the House in December 2010 –would have reduced the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. Further, Comprehensive Immigration Reform would boost GDP by more than 1 percentage point. The President has been clear that this is an economic imperative and an Administration priority. And A Better Life is a reminder to all that the time has come for us to get this done, for our country and our economy.

In addition to the film screening, Secretary Solis moderated a panel  that included Director Chris Weitz who talked about the impact this film has had on his career,  and two amazing DOL employees who are working tirelessly to ensure that workers are treated with the dignity and respect that  our country’s Labor Laws are meant to ensure. 

As a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, we know that the two can create a 21st century immigration system that ensures A Better Life for all.

To view a slideshow of the panel click here.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez is the Associate Director of Latino Affairs and Immigration for the Office of Public Engagement.