POLITICAL ACTION

Executive Action on Immigration

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Minnesota Leaders Praise President’s Administrative Action

Highlight move as important step towards fixing our broken immigration system
ST. PAUL – SEIU leaders in Minnesota praised President Obama’s announcement of his administrative action on immigration tonight as an important step in the right direction for immigrant families and American communities. His action provides millions of families with an historic opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear. Republican leaders in Congress have repeatedly failed to reform a broken immigration system that is not working for America. Tonight, the President has taken a major step forward in addressing what needs to be fixed and has done what is right for our country.
“We commend the President for taking bold action after Congress has repeatedly refused to act,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “We know this move will strengthen our state and country because we understand how crucial the immigrant contribution is to our schools, neighborhoods, economy and our everyday lives.”
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.”
Unfortunately, conservative Republicans in Congress have threatened to shut down the federal government, sue the President, or block funding to stop administrative action from happening.
“Republican leaders in Congress need to stop playing politics with people’s lives,” said Carol Nieters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “They failed the American people by refusing to vote on meaningful immigration reform. If Republican leaders choose to continue to be the party of inaction and interference, they will be held accountable by voters in 2016.”
SEIU leaders also highlighted the new website iAmerica.org, which will be an information hub about the administrative action. Those who can benefit from this administrative action are encouraged to learn more by visiting iAmerica.org, where they can get trusted, up-to-date information and the tools to apply for relief.

 

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Fast for Families

Biden-FAST26On 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.

Join the “Fast for Families” – Send a message of solidarity!

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Fast and Pray for Immigrant Justice

SEIU26 invites you to be part of our Fast for Immigrant Justice on:Wednesday, November 13, 7:00am

In front of Representative John Kline’s Office

350 Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville

The U.S. Senate passed the bi-partisan immigration reform bill S. 744 last June. but there has been little action in the House of Representatives since then. Even though it looks like there would be enough votes in the House to pass an immigration bill, the leadership has stalled the process.

Faith communities, labor & grassroots organizations have continued to mobilize and advocate for immigration reform and will begin a Fast for Immigrant Justice.

 Fasting has been part of religious traditions for thousands of years, as a form of purification, re-focusing spiritually, and finding new vision. It is also part of the prophetic tradition to give public witness to injustice and speak truth to power.

For our purposes, fasting has also been used to facilitate political change, one example being César Chávez’s 25-day fast for migrant grape workers’ rights in 1968.

 

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo Among Those Arrested for Civil Disobedience at the U.S. Capitol

 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. 

 

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Eliseo Medina: Immigration Reform Is a “Moral Urgency”

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.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

New Polling Numbers Show Bipartisan Support for Immigration Reform

Fb Matt

St. Paul, Minn. – New polling numbers released today show growing bipartisan support for the U.S. House of Representative to pass immigration reform this year, including Republican support in Rep. John Kline’s district. The numbers come a day before House Republicans are expected to discuss immigration reform at a summit in Washington D.C.

The surveys, which were conducted by Public Policy Polling in seven Congressional Districts across the country, found that voters would be less likely to vote for their Congressman next year if he opposes immigration reform.

In Rep. Kline’s district:

·         44 percent say they would be less likely to support Rep. Kline next year if he votes against immigration reform.

·         77 percent say it’s important for the US to fix its immigration system this year.

·         Voters support the Senate version of the bill by a 69-24 margin.

·         Republicans favor immigration reform by 37 points; Independents favor it by 39 points.

“These numbers reflect a growing momentum all across the country to finally fix our broken immigration system,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “The Senate provided a great starting point for the House – we urge our Republican Representatives to call on GOP leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.” 

“The House must provide a pathway to citizenship and bring these 11 million aspiring citizens fully into our society. The Senate bill would bring millions of people out of the shadows and reunite hundreds of thousands of families.”

SEIU has partnered with a broad coalition of more than 30 faith, labor and business groups in Minnesota advocating for commonsense immigration reform. On Tuesday, SEIU members joined the coalition for visits to Rep. Kline, Rep. Paulsen and Rep. Bachmann’s offices in Minnesota, urging them to support immigration reform.

Nationally, SEIU has been a strong advocate for immigration reform, launching TV and radio ads featuring Americans of different backgrounds calling on Congress to pass immigration reform.

“Immigration reform is in the best interest of business and labor, of Republicans and Democrats, of all Americans, current and aspiring,” said Morillo. “Every day businesses are unable to hire qualified foreign-born workers. Immigration reform would allow companies to hire the most qualified workers. It would also stop employers that intimidate and exploit undocumented workers, a widespread practice that drives down wages and working conditions for everyone. The time is now for a vote.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Senate Passes Immigration Bill with Bipartisan Support

SEIU Leaders, Members Thank Senators Klobuchar and Franken for Votes in Favor of Path to Citizenship

St. Paul, Minn. – The U.S. Senate took a critical step toward fixing our country’s broken immigration system today with a bipartisan vote of 68-32 to pass commonsense immigration reform legislation. Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Minnesota are thanking Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken for their leadership and votes in favor of the bill.

“Senators Klobuchar and Franken have been incredible advocates for the 11 million aspiring citizens for years,” said Javier Morillo, President of Local 26. “At SEIU, we’ve been proud to partner with a broad range of business, labor, faith and immigrant rights groups here in Minnesota to help our Senators pass a bill that finally provides a path to citizenship and brings millions of people out of the shadows.

“This bill is not exactly what we would have wanted – the massive build-up at the Southern border will have serious ramifications for border communities and American taxpayers – but we look forward to continuing to work hard to change these provisions and make this bill something that benefits all of us,” continued Morillo.

Emilse Neira immigrated to Minnesota from Colombia and is now a U.S. resident. She is a janitor and a member of Local 26. For her, immigration reform is extremely personal.

“My husband was deported when I was five months pregnant,” said Neira. “At a time we should have been celebrating our new family, our family was instead torn apart. I’m happy to see this vote because the dad of my son can finally regulate his status to bring him out of the shadows. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, not only for me, but for millions of families around the country. Thank you Senators Klobuchar and Franken for your leadership.”

SEIU has been a strong advocate for immigration reform, both here in Minnesota and nationally. Last month, SEIU International launched TV ads as part of an immigration ad campaign, featuring Americans of different backgrounds – including Republicans – calling on Congress to pass immigration reform. The ads represent the growing public opinion across party lines who believe that immigration is good for our country, but say the current system isn’t working.

“These Minnesotans – just as all new American immigrants – contribute to our communities, our society and our economy,” said Jigme Ugen, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “As an immigrant myself, I came to America because of the opportunities this country promises for all people. Thank you to Senators Klobuchar and Franken for your leadership not only in the Senate today, but in the Senate Judiciary which first heard this bill.”

SEIU members are now calling upon Minnesota’s representatives in the U.S. House to continue working together to pass immigration reform.

“All House members – especially Republicans – must realize that the American people want Congress to finally solve this problem,” said Morillo. “They must provide a pathway to citizenship and bring these 11 million aspiring citizens fully into our society. I love knowing that I live in a nation that is built upon the dreams of immigrants, upon the idea that in this land, all people have rights. The momentum will continue to fix our broken immigration system, once and for all.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Wear Your Support for Immigration Reform

The Senate is set to vote on final immigration bill next week, meaning we need to turn the pressure on NOW!Time is Now
Place just one call a day to your Senator, for the next 7 days, in support of reform. It’s easy – state your name and that you support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. Say thank you and hang up!

If you complete the calls – we’ll send you a tshirt!

Place your first call now -1 888-979-7604 – and then SHARE widely. The Senate won’t know what hit them!

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Immigration reform: It’s not a done deal.

We’ve always known that passing real immigration reform is not a question of if but when.

Call your Senator

Another day of debate keeps the momentum for commonsense immigration reform going strong. Today, working families across the nation can continue applauding Senators for passing amendments to the immigration bill that strengthen protections for future and current workers. In particular, the W Visa program was further bolstered with components that reflect the unprecedented agreement made earlier this year between Labor and Business. While the debate will only intensify in the days ahead, we will continue the drumbeat for smart immigration legislation that not only mirrors our national values, but also includes a clear and direct roadmap to citizenship.

Most of our families came to this country simply because they wanted to make a better life and be part of the land of opportunity. We cannot stand by and let the “American Dream” become those black-and-white images of the past. We need a solution that takes the American economy into the future.

Get on the phones to tell your Senator that you support immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship. They must hear from you!

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment