On the heels of the massive 200,000 person march in Washington, D.C. March 21, a 15,000-person march in Los Angeles, and other large-scale marches that continue to take place across the country, this week SEIU members are rallying for Congress and DHS to roll up their sleeves and move comprehensive immigration reform forward.
Following last week's embarrassing news about abuse and mismanagement at the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency (ICE)--hundreds of SEIU members across the country are holding vigils today and Friday to call on the agency to get its house in order. Today, members will gather outside of USCIS offices in Oakland and Sacramento. On Friday, SEIU security officers and cleaners will gather fellow immigrant rights activists at ICE vigils in Los Angeles, San Jose, St Paul, and Boston. The following week, SEIU Local 32BJ and 1199 will hold a vigil in New York.
"When DHS first announced its enforcement goals--including its increased focus on worksite I9 audits-- SEIU was optimistic that the Obama Administration would clean up past wrongdoings," said SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina in a press conference on Wednesday. "Instead, the agency has added flames to the fire by replacing worksite raids with electronic raids. Field officers are acting like cowboys, more interested in adding scalps to their belts than targeting criminals and abusive employers, which would actually help solve our immigration problems. As a result, communities lose, businesses lose, families lose, America loses."
These ICE vigils are an effort to illustrate the ongoing, human cost of this agency's misguided, out-of-control immigration enforcement strategy.
"We are speaking out against the senseless separation of families and community destruction," said Victoria Marquez, a cleaner in Los Angeles who has not been able to travel back to see her family in El Salvador for 15 years. "Our families, our communities and our country need comprehensive immigration reform."
In addition to the vigils, SEIU Locals are participating in national day of action events in Seattle, Las Vegas, and Chicago this Saturday. Coming off the massive rallies in March and the continued frustration by activists that Congress has not moved legislation forward, the "day of action" message is simple: we need a bill. It's time for Congress to reach across the aisle and pass smart, bold immigration solutions that restore fairness and strengthen our economy.
April 10 National Day of Action Events
- In Seattle, SEIU Local 775 and SEIU Local 6 will an alliance of over 50 organizations, faith and community groups for a massive rally at Occidental Park.
- In Las Vegas, Los Angeles-based ULTCW members are traveling to join SEIU Nevada in Las Vegas for a massive rally with Senator Reid and Rep. Gutierrez.
- In Chicago, SEIU Local 1 and SEIU Healthcare IL will join a broad group of activists and Senator Durbin to call for an end to deportations and solutions NOW!
In addition to the rallies actions, SEIU members have made thousands of calls and sent faxes in to their members of Congress and into DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's office to call for an end to the ICE outrages and real immigration solutions.
Join our Action List. If you haven't yet, text "justice" to 787753 to join our action list or go to: seiu.org/immigration.