I think every shop steward should be training someone else and that person can be training someone else too.

~ Maurice Thomas, 32BJ Member, DC/VA/MD

A Huge Step Forward

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by Héctor Figueroa
President, 32BJ SEIU

Last night, President Obama changed the lives of millions. He changed the life of 32BJ member Simon Torres, whose brother and sister-in-law and two children woke up this morning free at last from fear of being deported. President Obama changed the lives of millions of young people who only know America as their home, even though they were born elsewhere. Last night he changed the lives of millions of working people who can now come out of the shadows and live free of fear. 

President Obama’s actions are a huge step forward. Regularizing status of undocumented immigrants gives all workers more power to demand better wages and benefits and will also enlarge the tax base to sustain services in our communities. If Congress follows the President’s lead and legislates a permanent fix of our broken immigration system, the economic gains for all working Americans will be even greater and long lasting.

We know there are those who oppose this administrative action and are already looking for ways to push it back. This will not stand. We stand united, focused, and even more determined to defend President Obama’s action and build the support needed to finally make comprehensive immigration reform into law. We invite Republicans to seize the moment and work with the President and others to pass legislation that fixes our broken system and creates a path to citizenship for all hard working immigrants who have choen to make America home. It was our work that brought about last night’s action, and we won’t stop now.

And for those of you who directly affected by this administrative action, or have family members or other loved ones who are affected, I urge you to use caution and stay away from anyone who might take advantage of this moment with offers of false legal services for high fees. We will soon be sending out additional information on legitimate legal services, including through our legal fund for those who have access.

You can also visit iAmerica.org for reliable and up-to-date information for potential applicants, an online application support tool that will link people to trustworthy legal assistance, and for essential services and information for immigrant families.

Brothers and sisters, I hope you will join me and the millions of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers who are celebrating today. Click here for information on activities taking place in your region. Si se pudo!

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