The statement below is attributable to 32BJ SEIU Vice President Jaime Contreras, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and naturalized U.S. citizen who fled a bloody civil war in El Salvador at the age of 13.
“As a union representing thousands of immigrant workers, we urge the Mayor and City Council in College Park to set an example for the rest of the nation to follow by passing a measure to grant legal permanent residents the right to vote in local municipal elections. Aspiring Americans of voting age deserve to have their voices heard when it comes to the long list of issues that affect their day-to-day lives.
Seven jurisdictions, including six within Maryland already allow aspiring Americans to vote in local elections and none has experienced incidents of voting fraud in federal elections. In fact, non-citizens enjoyed the right to vote in local and statewide elections in 22 states until the 1920’s.
As this community of primarily hard-working and law-abiding taxpayers continues to grow in College Park and nationwide, our elected leaders should ensure they have the opportunity to participate in our democracy.
Because Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are incapable of achieving a sensible and fair solution to our broken immigration system, these men and women have only their local leaders to rely on to do the right thing.”
As the largest property service workers union in the country, 32BJ represent 163,000 members in 11 states. The overwhelming majority of 32BJ’s 18,000 members in the D.C. Metropolitan Area are immigrants from Central and South America. 32BJ members hail from 64 different countries and speak 28 different languages.