Immigrants are essential to keeping America running, and never has this been more evident than over the last year during the pandemic. That’s why SEIU members joined movement partners nationwide in over 77 May Day events on May 1st, demanding that Congress create a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders, DACA recipients and all the 11 million undocumented people in the US. They also called attention to the plight of essential caregivers, and urged Congress to invest $400 billion in the caregiving workforce through the American Jobs plan.
“Throughout the pandemic, immigrant essential workers have kept office tenants safe from COVID. We are an important piece of this economy and deserve permanent status now,” said Alejandrina Paz, a 32BJ office cleaner in VA who came from Honduras 15 years ago and who spoke at the event in Washington, DC.
Leontine Djahi, a home care worker and member of SEIU Local 105 in Colorado made the connection between immigration reform and investments in caregiving. “As a naturalized citizen, I believe that all essential workers should have a pathway to citizenship,” said Djahi. “This would allow us to continue to give quality care to our clients and help us to better provide for our families without living in fear of being separated.”
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry marched with janitors from SEIU local 87 in San Francisco, and tweeted: “Immigrants have always worked hard for America — keeping it safe, healthy and running...even before the pandemic. This #MayDay, let’s never forget that immigrant rights equal workers’ rights and our contributions should never be discounted.”