The amendment, which passed 27-16, urges the Secretary of Labor to set up retraining and employment programs for dislocated airport security workers, many of whom are permanent legal residents.
It makes no sense that pilots, flight attendants, and even members of the National Guard protecting our airports can be legal permanent residents, but screeners have to be U.S. citizens, said Pelosi. I will keep pushing to roll back the citizenship requirement for screeners and to insist that the Immigration and Naturalization Service move more quickly to naturalize permanent legal residents. But in the meantime, we must set programs in place to help workers find new jobs.
Under the aviation security legislation passed last November, airport security screeners who are not U.S. citizens by this November will lose their jobs.
At San Francisco International Airport, about 80 percent of security screeners are legal permanent residents, many of them from the Philippines. Some will be able to earn citizenship before the November deadline, but many others will need to find new jobs.
Funding for displaced workers is available through the Workforce Investment Act, and Pelosi said the vote by the Appropriations Committee would send a strong message to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to use her authority under the act to assist laid-off airport security workers.
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