Immigration

Minnesota Mobilization Campaign Kicks off in Support of Commonsense Immigration Reform

Local Civil, Immigrants and Labor Rights Groups Announce Coalition to Support President’s Immigration plan

Saint Paul, MN – Civil, immigrants, and labor rights leaders representing a broad range of Minnesotans gathered today at the State Capitol to unveil a Minnesota mobilization campaign to support commonsense immigration reform. This comes just a day after President Obama announced his plan for immigration reform.

Javier Morillo, President SEIU Local 26, speaks at Commonsense Immigration Reform Kick Off

“We are a nation of immigrants who all do our part to contribute,” said Mitch Azarcon, who is from the Philippines and a member of SEIU Healthcare MN. “I am a surgical tech. My brother is a nursing assistant. My sister just graduated from college and is in her first job. Our country is better for having hardworking immig
rants as contributing members of our communities. Young people especially, like the DREAMERS, have a lot to contribute and we should give them the chance to fulfill their full potential. The time to do immigration reform is now. I am ready now. Our communities are ready now. So we will start organizing for action now.”

Congressman Keith Ellison, who was unable to attend today’s press conference due to illness, released the following statement in his support of the coalition.

“America was founded on the idea of liberty and justice for all. Just like today’s immigrants, our founders came to America to escape oppression and ensure opportunity for their children. It’s long past due our laws live up to our values. The President yesterday laid out a vision for an America that continues to be a beacon of hope for those aspiring to a better life.”

The local leaders join leaders from across the country in calling on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform in 2013. These plans include contacting lawmakers and holding rallies in April, leading up to a mass demonstration on April 10 at the U.S. Capitol, where tens of thousands of marchers will gather.

“Now, more than ever, there is momentum for commonsense immigration reform, a complete overhaul of a system that does not work. There is no time for partisan games; the American people want and deserve a real and lasting solution. We will hold lawmakers accountable as we work to make immigration reform a reality this year,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26.

“When I was nine, my younger brother and I embarked on a journey to Minnesota – we did not yet know what it meant to be crossing a border illegally,” said Uriel Rosales, a DREAMER and Executive Director for Navigate. “At that time, riding a bus for hours, and flying on a plane for the first time was an adventure. Borders were irrelevant to our spirit.

“Yesterday, as I watched President Obama give details about Commensense Immigration Reform, I thought that it has been a long time coming,” continued Rosales. “I am happy I had not lost hope, not just to see myself benefit as I graduate from the University of Minnesota being able to follow and work in my future profession as an educator, but to know that now my mother will have a chance to walk alongside me, no longer undocumented, and completely unafraid.”

National polls demonstrate an across-the-aisle support for a real and lasting solution to repair the country’s immigration system. As immigration reform rises to the top of the Obama Administration’s legislative agenda, 2013 is undoubtedly the year for Congress to pass a commonsense immigration reform with a clear roadmap to citizenship.

“My son, Salif, is becoming a man, but he is not here with me,” said Brakim Kone, who is from the Ivory Coast and a member of SEIU Local 26. “I cannot teach him. I cannot pass on my values and experiences as a man. This is why immigration reform is import. Families need to be together. There was a war in the Ivory Coast and children were separated from their parents.  I look around here and there is no war. But I am still separated from my son, separated from my family.”Representatives of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Asambelas de Derechos Civiles, Centro Campesino, ISAIAH, Latino Communications Network, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, SEIU MN State Council, UFCW Local 1189, UNITE-HERE Local 17, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Jewish Community Action, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference were also in attendance.

 

 

###

SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, child care, 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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Local Civil, Immigrants and Labor Rights Groups Announce Minnesota Coalition to Support President’s Immigration Plan

Mobilization Campaign for Commonsense Immigration Reform Begins

Saint Paul, MN – On Wednesday, January 30 at 12:30 p.m., local civil, immigrants and labor rights leaders will come together at the State Capitol to stand in support of President Obama’s legislative proposal for immigration reform as members of the Minnesota coalition.

Congressman Keith Ellison will join SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo and other local leaders in unveiling their united campaign to call on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform in 2013. The groups will announce plans to contact lawmakers and hold rallies in April across the nation, leading up to a mass demonstration on April 10 at the U.S. Capitol, where tens of thousands of marchers will gather.

National polls demonstrate an across-the-aisle support for a real and lasting solution to repair the country’s immigration system. As immigration reform rises to the top of the Obama Administration’s legislative agenda, 2013 is undoubtedly the year for Congress to pass a commonsense immigration reform with a clear roadmap to citizenship.

Who: Local leaders unveil Minnesota coalition for Commonsense Immigration Reform
When: Wednesday, January 3012:30 p.m.
Where: Room 125, Minnesota State Capitol75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd | St. Paul, MN
Who: Congressman Keith Ellison

Javier Morillo – President, SEIU Local 26

John Keller – Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Uriel Rosales – Executive Director of Navigate

Leaders from Asembleas de Derechos Civiles, Centro Campesino, ISAIAH, Latino Communications Network, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, SEIU Healthcare MN, SEIU MN State Council, UFCS Local 1189

 

###

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Immigrant Case

Monday morning the justices ruled on the Arizona vs. United States case.

US Supreme Court Building

The high court upheld parts of Arizona’s strict law targeting illegal immigrants, but said the federal government has the ultimate authority to decide who will be held on immigration charges and deported.   The justices said Arizona’s police can stop, question and briefly detain immigrants if officers have reason to believe they are in the country illegally. This was seen as a key part of the state’s law. But the justices said the police have limited authority. They must check with federal immigration agents before deciding to hold the suspects. The justices also blocked parts of Arizona’s SB 1070 that would have made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to fail to carry documents or to seek work.

The court’s decision appears to give states such as Arizona a quite limited role in enforcing the laws against illegal immigrants. Their police can notify federal agents if they have a suspect in custody, but they cannot keep them in a county jail on state charges.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate most portions of Arizona’s SB1070 is an important victory for fair-minded Americans. Although the most odious part of the law, the “show me your papers” provision, was not enjoined, we take heart in the reaffirmation by the Court that we cannot have a patchwork system of 50 different state immigration laws.  To any politician who supports laws like SB1070, we say this: We will remain vigilant, we will be in the streets protesting and we will be at the ballot box voting. SEIU members in Minnesota, and across the country, share a deep-seated commitment to defeating any legislator willing to put anti-immigrant, draconian laws on the books – today’s ruling is a reminder of why that commitment is important,” said SEIU MN Local 26 President Javier Morillo.

On a key point, the court agreed that only the federal government should regulate immigration. The court also left the door open to future legal challenges, which SEIU and other plaintiffs in other lawsuits against SB 1070 are pursuing.

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina

SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina responded to the court’s ruling:“Today the Supreme Court agreed with us-that only the federal government should regulate immigration and that states do not have the right to create a fifty state patchwork of immigration laws.  But today is not a good day for justice in America. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the most egregious section of this discriminatory law that defies the words etched in stone across the front of the august court building: ‘Equal Justice Under the Law.”

Medina said SEIU will mobilize voters to ensure that politicians who write such discriminatory laws do not win election.“This ruling makes clear that our campaign to mobilize Latino voters and communities of color to organize and grow our electoral power is an absolute necessity. On November 6, we will be heard at the ballot box.”

Other Key Facts include:

  • A report by the Immigration Policy Center and Center for American Progress showed that if all undocumented workers in Arizona were given a path to citizenship, it could increase employment 7.7 percent and increase tax revenue by $1.86 billion.
  • The report also showed that if every undocumented worker left the state of Arizona, it would decrease total employment by 17.2 percent.
  • Thus, the state’s economy would decrease by $48.8 billion.
Here is a brief overview of the other major case of interest to SEIU that the court is weighing: Health reform

SEIU Minnesota members worked tirelessly on behalf of all Minnesotans and played a critical role in the original passage of the Affordable Care Act. Their strong advocacy has, two years later, meant we’ve seen Americans of all ages and backgrounds now have greater access to affordable health coverage. However the court rules on the question of whether Congress overstepped its power in requiring virtually every American to buy health insurance, it could set important limits for future lawmakers. There will almost certainly be some message for Congress about what the limits of its powers are. If the court strikes down the law,  it will lay the ground to establish new limits.

Regardless, when it comes to our healthcare, we all want the same things: to be able to afford the care we need, to know we won’t be bossed around by insurance companies, and to have the freedom to make the right healthcare decisions for ourselves and our families. The healthcare law does just that and we are here to support it.

Affordable Care Act: Key Facts

  • Works for women, children, seniors – everyone. More than 86 million Americans received preventive care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free in 2011.
  • Works for young adults: 2.5 million young adults are now insured because of the new health care law.
  • Works for older Americans: More than 5.1 million Medicare beneficiaries saved more than $3.2 billion on prescription drugs because of the new health care law.

Works for those with pre-existing conditions: More than 129 million Americans will not be denied coverage again because of the law.  Works for small businesses: A growing number of businesses offering health care coverage are taking advantage of tax credits available under the law.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Minnesota Applauds President Obama’s Decision For DREAMers

St. Paul, MN.—President Obama showed leadership traits rarely found in Washington — common sense and courage — by granting administrative relief to eligible DREAMers this week.

“SEIU in Minnesota, and nationally, congratulates the young Dream Activists who have worked tirelessly to make the case for this sensible solution.  They are an example of this country at its best – people who came, often with nothing, and have made a life for themselves and enriched our communities,” says SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo.

According to the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, about 500 young people a year might benefit in Minnesota from the federal legislation.

DREAMERs are disproportionately high achieving young students with good moral character — valedictorians, athletes, cheerleaders, J-ROTC members, and future scientists, nurses and technology developers — who grew up in the United States and consider themselves Americans but are not citizens because they were brought to our country without documents.

They want to serve the country that is their home and we will benefit from their contributions that will begin with this administrative relief and that will hopefully turn into congressional enactment of the DREAM Act.

Through President Obama’s great and courageous leadership, DREAM eligible students in Minnesota and across the U.S. can start getting relief from the immediate threat of deportation. The President has now done all he can do, but the kind of relief he is able to grant is temporary by its nature.

It is now up to Congress to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, which is the only way that the dreams of these productive Americans can finally be realized. SEIU will be urging Minnesota’s congressional members to vote in favor.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment