Sara Lonardo,, 202/730-7332

Issued December 20, 2016

SEIU Urges President Obama To Keep Immigrant Families Together in National Push to Use Presidential Pardon

Dividing immigrant families is bad for our economy and communities, deportation could lead to increased exploitation of immigrant workers and drive down wages for all

Washington. DC- Today, in a letter featured in the New York Times, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) joined a coalition of immigrant rights, labor and community organizations calling on President Obama to protect immigrant families by using his power to pardon immigrants who have committed minor infractions. 

“Immigrants do the work that our families need and that drives our economy like caring for our children, the sick and the elderly and securing and cleaning our offices, hospitals, and airports, but, since the election, millions of immigrant families have been living in fear of deportation forces targeting them in their workplaces and tearing their families apart,” said Rocio Saenz, Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “By exercising the presidential pardon for immigrants who have committed minor infractions, President Obama can take action now to protect our economy and our communities from the divisive politics of Trump that threaten to profoundly impact all families

One third of all U.S. Presidents including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Jimmy Carter, have used that power to pardon broad categories of persons. While the authority to pardon does not include the authority to legalize undocumented immigrants, it can be used to to protect adopted children of U.S. citizens, prevent legal immigrants who have committed minor infractions in the past from being deported for those minor infractions, prevent hardship to those who are currently barred from reuniting with their loved ones in U.S. because they reentered the U.S. without permission years ago .

Along with SEIU the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Immigration Law Center, the Center for Popular Democracy, National Day Labor Organizing Network, Make the Road New York, United We Dream, the Bronx Defenders, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the American Friends Service Committee have also signed on to the letter to President Obama.