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.”
SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.