Aparna Kumar,

Issued September 19, 2022

Statement from SEIU’s Rocio Sáenz on Death of Asylum Seeker

Washington, D.C. — Rocio Sáenz, Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, issued the following statement in response to the tragic suicide of an Asylum Seeker in New York City.

“Our hearts are with the family of this young woman who tragically took her own life after traveling to the US seeking asylum. While we do not know her name or her personal circumstances, her suffering and death should not be in vain. Every single person's life has value, something that Governors DeSantis and Abbott have shamefully forgotten. Their cruel political games have gone on long enough and are costing human lives.

People seeking refuge in the U.S. are often fleeing unimaginable horrors which put their lives in imminent danger. Instead of being processed in an orderly way so they can plead their case for asylum before a judge, they are finding themselves being used as pawns by cold-hearted politicians trying to create an international spectacle that makes a mockery of American values.

We are a nation of immigrants, and SEIU is proud to be a union of so many immigrant essential workers who tirelessly serve our communities in countless ways despite not having a path to citizenship. Working people stand united across race in demanding real action from our elected leaders to create a more humane and fair immigration system that values the sanctity of every human life – and we won’t tolerate cynical attempts by politicians seeking to divide us.”

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.