Sara Lonardo,, 202/730-7332

Issued May 01, 2017

Tens of thousands of SEIU members march to show support for immigrant families

Join together to RISE UP against criminalization of immigrants, actions to tear families apart

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tens of thousands of SEIU members, including security officers and airport workers, healthcare professionals and public employees joined marches in nearly 100 events nationwide to call on self-interested politicians who have rigged the system against the immigrant families who contribute so much to our communities and our economy. With 400,000 immigrant members, SEIU is the largest organization of immigrants in the United States, and was founded by immigrants nearly 100 years ago

“Working people are joining our brothers and sisters in communities across the nation to stand up for immigrant families who are forced to live in fear that they will be ripped from their homes and separated from their children,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Immigrants do the work that our families need and that drives our economy, like caring for our children, the sick and the elderly, and security and cleaning our offices and airports. When they are able to come out of the shadows and fully participate in our communities, it will benefit everyone.”

Over the past several months, and most recently with Saturday’s People’s Climate March, SEIU members have taken to the streets to stop the extreme agenda being pushed by self-interested politicians and their corporate backers. The voices of working people are already being heard, affecting policies that make a difference for real people every day. For example, without the tremendous activism we've seen, the 2017 funding bill announced today would certainly have funded Trump's border wall and given him more of the money he needs to deport and detain even more immigrants.

“Now more than ever is the time for us to unite,” said SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz. “We will not sit quietly while millions of our family members, our neighbors, and co-workers are torn away from their families and deported. Today, we RISE UP against the Trump administration’s actions to criminalize immigrants and communities of color and tear families apart.”

Almaz Beyenne, a contracted Dulles International Airport worker who went on strike last week against her employer the Huntleigh Corp., said: “We make this country stronger with our work, by exercising our rights, and by paying taxes. Now I am scared because I don’t know what he will do next, but he must respect us, because this nation is made by immigrants.”

May 1 is also International Workers Day, when working people in the United States renew their commitment to fighting back against self-interested politicians who rig the system in favor of greedy corporations by making it harder for working people to join unions. Only by joining together in unions will working people have the ability to stand up to those greedy corporations and self-interested politicians.