Immigration Reform

SEIU-USWW members are leading the fight for commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  Our broken immigration system tears families apart, crushes the dreams of young people and creates an underground economy that hurts all workers.  We are calling on Congress to act on behalf of a growing majority of voters by passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation that raises the quality of jobs for all workers, keeps families together and creates a realistic roadmap for aspiring citizens.

For updates on the national effort to pass immigration reform, click here.

“No Hate” Debate: Hundreds Call on Trump, GOP Contenders to Drop Anti-Black, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Worker Rhetoric

Outside Reagan Library during GOP Debate, advocates call for an end to attacks against blacks, immigrants and working families.

Los Angeles – A diverse coalition of more than 40 local and statewide California organizations rallied outside the GOP Presidential debates on Wednesday to protest racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric used by several of the candidates.

“The G.O.P. has increasingly shown to support a platform of hate and racism against immigrants and other communities of color in their efforts to appeal to the most extremist views in the Republican Party,” said David Huerta, President of SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW). “Today we’re taking a stand. The anti-black, anti-immigrant, and anti-worker rhetoric of the G.O.P. and of its leading candidate, Donald Trump, is not welcome in Southern California!”

The daylong action on September 16 began with a morning press conference McArthur Park. Marchers then boarded buses for the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, where 15 candidates participated in two debates hosted by CNN.

These protestors—including faith, immigrant, civil rights groups, students, and labor unions—were united by the goal of holding Republican presidential candidates’ feet to the fire to get them to stop using racially intolerant rhetoric about immigrants and other communities of color.

Community, faith, labor, student, and civil rights leaders and immigrant families spoke about the anti-immigrant, anti-working family rhetoric language used by Donald Trump, other candidates and certain media outlets.

Speakers noted that as the GOP frontrunner, Trump has had an outsized influence on the racist rhetoric employed by Republican candidates in this election cycle.  As his overheated language has grabbed headlines, and other candidates have followed with insults and mis-truths about immigrants and the Black Lives Matters movement, among other issues of importance to people of color.

Rally supporters called on the candidates to show respect for racial equality and the contributions of immigrants and other working people.

“As an African-American, it pains me that candidates like Donald Trump are allowed to dominate our political debate in the media,” said Kawana Anderson, a security officer in Los Angeles and a member of SEIU USWW. “From his birtherism propaganda against the President to his inflammatory rhetoric against immigrants and his most recent comments attacking the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s a tragic reflection of the G.O.P.’s slate of candidates running for the highest office in the nation.”

Earlier in the week, more than 62 organizations signed a letter to CNN calling on the network to stop the hate in the presidential debate and to ask the candidates to pledge to engage in a civil discourse about immigration, immigrants, and working class families. These groups are encouraging people to distribute and discuss this letter using the hashtag #NoHateDebate. A copy of the letter can be found here: http://bit.ly/1JXRs1c

“I am not an anchor baby,” said Kenia Castillo, a sophomore at Bravo Medical Magnet High School, who was also given the honor of swearing in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013. “I am a hardworking young woman who will one day run for office and win. On that day, with all the readers of my humble words as witness, I’ll invite you, Mr. Trump to swear me in.”

Rally is sponsored by: L.A. County Federation of Labor, CHIRLA Action Fund, SEIU, SEIU-USWW, FIRM, Community Coalition, UNITE HERE, Black Workers Center, KIWA, Carecen, MFV, Teamsters Local 396, and others.

 Follow the discussion at #NoHateDebate & #DebateWhatMatters

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On International Workers’ Day, We Raise Our Voices to Raise America

As we approach the 25th anniversary of Justice for Janitors demonstrations that sparked the modern movement for $15 an hour minimum wage, we celebrate the sacrifice and hard work of janitors that contributed to changing the way the world looks at immigrant workers. The fight for dignity and respect for workers in low wage industries continues today as the struggle for racial justice calls upon all of us to lead. Read SEIU-USWW President Huerta’s and SEIU’s International Executive Vice President of Property Services Division Valarie Long’s reflections up on Huffington Post on how far we’ve come and what we face before us. Be sure to share it online!

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On May Day, No Justice Delayed

May Day 2015 Announcement

Thousands expected to take to the streets in Los Angeles for workers, immigrant families, and communities of color. iAmerica-sponsored Resource Fair will follow march and rally.

The Los Angeles May Day Coalition, the oldest network of community organizations, labor, immigration reform advocates, faith communities, and allies, announced plans for this year’s May 1, International Worker’s Day, mobilizations in Los Angeles.

Under the banner “On May Day, No Justice Delayed,” the Friday, May 1 plans include a rally with remarks from David Huerta, President of SEIU USWW at the Dragon’s Gate landmark, a march through downtown Los Angeles major thoroughfares, and, a first for 2015, an Immigrant Families Resources Fair at Grand Park, right across from City Hall.

The theme speaks to this year’s demands: a) $15 an hour wages; b) no more delays in the implementation of the deferred action programs known as DAPA/DACA; and, 3) fair law enforcement practices that disproportionately impact Black and Latino communities.

“Workers come here to contribute to and boost our economy — not to become casualties of exploitation by employers that prey on vulnerable workers. It’s time for a Wage Theft enforcement bureau in Los Angeles,” said Alejandra Valles, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU United Service Workers West at a press conference announcing the May 1 plan.

The May Day mobilization starts at 3 pm at the corner of West Cesar E. Chavez Ave. and North Broadway in Los Angeles. A rally kicks off the festivities with the expected participation of well-known leaders in the labor, faith, immigrant rights, and civil liberties community, as well as elected officials.  Several immigrant families and workers impacted by low wages, immigration delays, and unfair law enforcement practices will take to the microphone.

The march is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. moving east on Cesar Chavez, south on Main Street through Placita Olvera, looping east on W. Aliso St., stopping briefly in front of the Los Angeles ICE Detention Center on Alameda Blvd. Marchers proceed north on W. 1st Street, briefly stopping in front of the LAPD headquarters, finally stopping on N. Spring Street, in front of City Hall and Grand Park.

New to 2015, the Coalition is also coordinating a large Immigrant Families Resources Fair with the support of entities such as the City of Los Angeles Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Los Angeles Unified School District, IAMERICA and SEIU Immigrant Justice Campaign alongside dozens of other organizations.

More than 50 tables will offer information, referrals, and assistance to members of the Los Angeles community. The 5 pm to 7 pm Resources Fair will feature more than 30 immigration, housing, criminal defense, and wage theft attorneys. These professionals will be available for brief consultations at no charge to members of the public.

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United Service Workers West Responds to Injunction on DACA by Texas Judge

photo (30)     LOS ANGELES –SEIU-USWW (United Service Workers West) President David Huerta, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Council member Gil Cedillo, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) Executive Director Angelica Salas, and other community leaders hosted a press conference and rally outside City Hall to promote applications for the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  A judge in Texas placed a preliminary injunction on the implementation of the program that was set to become open for application starting tomorrow, February 18, with applications for DAPA expected in May 2015. In response, David Huerta, President of SEIU-USWW, issued the following statement: “The President’s executive action will mean no more deportations for millions, and real access to opportunities that will improve the lives of immigrant workers and their families,” said David Huerta, President of SEIU-USWW, which represents janitors, security officers, airport workers, and other service workers throughout California. “When workers step out of the shadows, they are able to protect themselves from unfair retaliation by employers and raise standards for everyone.” “The lawsuit trying to stop DACA and DAPA from going into effect is just a political stunt that the court system will soon reject,” Huerta continued. “It’s important for our community to continue to get ready to apply for those programs so they can become eligible as soon as possible.” “President Obama acted because Congress refused to fix our broken immigration system and he did so fully within his legal authority.” “But make no mistake: Latino families, Asian American families, and the entire immigrant community and our allies — we are all watching closely. We will remember the names of those anti-immigrant politicians that continue to play cynical games with the lives of our communities come elections time. Stonewalling providing relief for millions of immigrant families for cold political gain is inexcusable.” Currently, 1.1 million Californians qualify for DAPA and DACA. Across the country, dozens of groups hosted similar events, including educational forums and press events, to demonstrate broad support for the implementation of the new executive actions, as well as call for the passage of a ‘clean’ Department of Homeland Security funding bill and legislative efforts that will not undermine families.   A central information resource promoted at the event – iAmerica.org is a source families can trust for accurate information and tools that will guide them through the process and enable them to gain referrals – with absolutely no money required.  SEIU and partners in the legal community developed the online resource to prevent theft and fraud from unscrupulous attorneys or “notarios” who may take advantage of those seeking relief under the orders. SEIU’s message to immigrant families is never to pay for applications (which are available with no charge) and never to pay attorneys or others who claim to provide expedited service for a fee.

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