NEW YORK CITY—National and local labor leaders have written a letter calling on President Obama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton to release on humanitarian parole nine young immigrant activists who were detained attempting to return to their families in the U.S.
The Dream 9, as they are known in reference to the DREAM Act, have been held at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona for nearly two weeks after engaging in a unprecedented border-crossing protest to draw attention to inhumane immigration policies.
32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said what needs to happen is a comprehensive solution through immigration reform so that families are not torn apart.
“The plight of the Dream 9 being held in an Arizona immigration detention center exemplifies a very serious issue, which is that 1.7 million people have been deported from the United States in the past few years,” Figueroa said.
“But, just because they’ve been deported, doesn’t mean they disappear,” he continued. “It is 1.7 million severed family relations, severed connections. It serves no useful purpose for our government to continue to detain these young Dreamers for their act of conscience, for their act of civil disobedience.”
The broad coalition includes 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the United Steelworkers Union (USW), the United Autoworkers Union (UAW), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the AFL-CIO. Labor unions have a long history of standing with civil disobedience movements to call attention to unjust laws, and in the past decade have played a major role in the movement for comprehensive immigration reform.
Over a dozen unions representatives and their affiliates have signed on to a letter requesting the immediate release and return home of the Dream 9, calling on more representatives and affiliates to add to the growing list of support.
“A number of the workplaces we represent rely increasingly on immigrant labor,” coalition leaders wrote in the letter. “Although we do our best to uphold the rights of all workers, helping to ensure the health and well-being of their families, too many workers in this country live in fear of workplace raids that could lead to their deportation and the loss of a breadwinner in their family.”
The letter is available here: http://bit.ly/16pgEKX
Please go to http://theniya.org/ for further details.
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