On Thursday, November 20, President Obama announced a major executive action on immigration policy, which granted the opportunity for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States to gain legal status, and will allow families to temporarily live without fear of deportation of a loved one.
SEIU leaders praised President Obama’s announcement of his administrative action on immigration as an important step in the right direction for immigrant families and American communities. His action provides millions of families with a historic opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed to reform a broken immigration system that is not working for America. The President has taken a major step forward in addressing what needs to be fixed and has done what is right for our country.
President of SEIU International, Mary Kay Henry noted, “For millions of immigrant families, President Obama’s administrative action is life-changing. With this action, the president has taken our country forward in addressing what needs to be fixed about our broken immigration system. Millions of parents and children who work hard and play by the rules can now live without fear of being separated from their loved ones.”
The President’s action will allow millions of families to live without fear of deportation and to come out of the underground economy and raise their voices without fear of retribution.
“This is so important to our communities because right now too many families in Minnesota and across the country have to worry that they will come home one day to find that their family has been torn apart,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “This will allow families to stay together and will really strengthen communities across Minnesota and the United States.”
Local 26 has been active for years in trying to bring reform to the immigration system in this country; we understand many are excited and relieved by this opportunity, but there are also lingering feelings of uncertainty and fear. The public should be warned there are many people out in our communities who are offering immigration assistance. Please be aware of not becoming a victim of an immigration scam. At this time there are no forms to fill out. If someone is offering immigration assistance the public should check to see if the person is a lawyer of an accredited representative, which are the two groups of people authorized to practice immigration law. The groups hope to avoid the problems that arose after the president announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), when “notarios” and others sought to take advantage of immigrants.
We can expect more information in the coming weeks. Those who benefit from this administrative action are encouraged to learn more by visiting iAmerica.org, where you can learn more about this action, find out who qualifies, and how to safely navigate through the application process.
Local 26 had an initial meeting with members interested in learning more about the executive actions and will continue to contact members as we get more information.
Contact Cynthia Campos at (917)621-7374 or Ccampos[at]cynthiacamposlaw[dot]com for questions and more info and to stay connected on this issue.
This is a historic moment and the actions of President Obama will bring relief to the lives of millions in the United States, but many are still left out We can rejoice that in Minnesota alone, the executive action will help about 3,000 people with families. However, over 6,500 immigrants in our state are left out. They continue living in fear while effective reform is postponed. We need a solution helping all immigrants in this country – something only Congress can do. There is still a great deal more work to be done We must pledge to continue to unite, stay organized and keep fighting for comprehensive immigration reform.
On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship
Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Can we count on you to stand with them?
Help amplify the fasters’ call on the conscience of Congress to schedule a vote and end the moral crisis facing 11 million aspiring Americans by joining the campaign and sending a message of solidarity and encouragement to the fasters. We’ll deliver your messages in the coming days when the fasters need it the most.
Following the Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform, Morillo joins Rep. Ellison, other members of Congress and hundreds in civil disobedience action at Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, DC – Following the rally at the National Mall where tens of thousands gathered, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leaders were among nearly 200 local and national leaders, immigrants, civil rights and faith leaders arrested for engaging in acts of civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol today to demand that House Republican leaders pass commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship in 2013.
Arrested were Jaime Contreras, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and SEIU Maryland-DC State Council President; Terry Cavanagh, SEIU Maryland-DC State Council Executive Director; Javier Morillo, SEIU Local 26 President; Sylvia Ruiz, SEIU Immigrant Justice Campaign Director; Natalia Salgado, SEIU New York State Council Deputy Director and Estela Vasquez, SEIU 1199 Executive Vice President.
“Two hundred men and women have made a serious decision to cross the line to make it undeniably clear to Speaker Boehner and his colleagues in leadership that we are not tired, we are not shutting up and by no means will we stop demanding a commonsense solution to our dysfunctional immigration system,” Morillo said. “Today’s events should serve as a rude awakening to Mr. Boehner—he can either do what’s right for America or deal with the weight of the public’s unflinching pressure.”
Also among the arrestees were U.S. Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), John Lewis (D-GA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Al Green (D-TX).
“Today I saw and heard the hope, the frustrations, the determination of the American people – as we have been seeing and hearing for years – who want the immigrant community to walk the road to citizenship and participate fully in our democracy,” said Contreras, an immigrant who fled a bloody civil war in El Salvador at age 13. “The American Dream has been a reality for me, and I stand unequivocally in solidarity with them.”
Vasquez added, “I am an immigrant. I am one of many who represent a community that contributes to our nation’s economy, society and democracy. Yet our immigration system stands in our way. If my act of civil disobedience says anything about what we’re doing today, it’s that the time for immigration reform is now.”
“Speaker Boehner can’t deny it; the bipartisan support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship is right in front of him,” affirmed Sylvia Ruiz, Director of SEIU’s immigration campaign. “The choice is easy: stand with the American public by calling a vote for the immigration bill that’s already waiting on the table. Otherwise, we will continue calling, marching voting and boldly acting until we win reform.”
Following mass mobilizations in over 160 cities, today’s event is one of many planned in October to urge a congressional vote and passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship before the end of this year. The movement’s growing strength and support throughout the country stands in sharp contrast to the federal government shutdown.
WASHINGTON, DC – As part of an effort to stress the urgency for Members of Congress to act to pass commonsense immigration reform with path to citizenship, immigrant rights, faith, labor and business organizations are preparing plans for the August Congressional recess period to engage voters and constituents around the issue. Eliseo Medina, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), was arrested today at a civil disobedience event on Capitol Hill and issued the following statement:
“Our action today is meant to communicate the moral urgency of reforming our broken immigration system. The current system does not work and exacts a toll of misery on both immigrants and our economy. We have spent billions of dollars on deportations at the expense of investing in our schools, our infrastructure and programs that build up the economy. We must reform this failed approach in a way that treats immigrants with respect and reflects our morals and values as a nation.
“We took this action because we cannot allow the House to waste time. The urgency of the situation is too great. People are dying in the desert as they try to cross the border from Mexico, thousands of immigrants have been deported and every day families are being torn apart. We need to fix the system and we need to fix it now.
“While we have momentum on our side, some House Republicans still don’t get it. Instead of moving forward with a serious, comprehensive bill, the House chose to take a vote to deport DREAMers. And when we hear hateful rhetoric from Members of Congress like Representative Steve King, it gives us even more resolve to stand up for what we believe in – a pathway to citizenship.
“Speaker Boehner needs to understand the urgency for reform. Until the House passes a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship, we will continue to be in the streets, at town hall meetings and on the phones, demanding justice for the 11 million aspiring Americans in our country.”