Why I Risked Arrest for Dreamers

by Jaime Contreras
32BJ Vice President

On Wednesday, December 6, I was arrested at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for standing up for Dreamers and the rights of all immigrants to build a better life in this country.

This fight is personal for me. My parents brought me here from El Salvador at age 13– undocumented – so that I would not be killed in a bloody civil war. Now, I am a U.S. citizen and I have served my country in the United States Navy. President Trump and his administration have now officially launched a cruel campaign to deport working moms and dads who have lived here legally for many years. This type of cruelty is not what I served for and this is not freedom.

SEIU members will continue to make our voices heard in support of our brothers and sisters until Congress does the right thing. Make your voice heard today: call your representatives in Congress at (202) 224-3121 and demand they pass a clean DREAM Act and a permanent solution for TPS holders now!

Today, hundreds of thousands of people living and working legally with TPS and DACA are deeply fearful that they, too, will be ordered to leave the U.S. and become subject to the President’s deportation machine. The Trump administration has already ended TPS for Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Thousands of TPS holders from El Salvador await their fate next month. And nearly a million young people face possible deportation now that the Trump administration cruelly ended DACA. This is a crisis that affects everyone.

Congress must uphold our American values and prevent the separation of thousands of families. Congress must do better than empty words of support for DREAMers and immigrant families. They must pass a lasting solution that puts them a path forward to permanent legalization.

We will continue to fight until there is justice for all the men and women who are trying to provide the best life possible for their families!