Aparna Kumar,

Issued February 05, 2024

SEIU’s Henry: We need balance, not a one-sided approach to our nation’s immigration challenges

WASHINGTON, DC - Mary Kay Henry, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement in reaction to the permanent immigration provisions that are included in the bipartisan emergency supplemental bill whose text was released yesterday by a bipartisan group of Senators:

“As a union representing two million working people from diverse backgrounds, including many immigrant workers, SEIU strongly opposes the one-sided approach to our immigration challenges facing our country that is embodied in the text released yesterday. This approach will not solve the immediate issues at the border, and may very well worsen the escalating humanitarian crisis that brought us here in the first place while failing to reap the economic benefits of immigration. We urge that they be stripped from any legislation that makes it to the President’s desk.

America desperately needs immigration reform, but we can’t settle for a short-sighted solution that will cause permanent damage. For it to stick, our approach needs to be balanced and reflect our shared values as a nation of immigrants and working people. Securing our border requires a fair, efficient, and humane legal system to process and resettle people who come here. It also requires us to finally provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been living, working, and forming families here for decades so that they can make their full contribution to the U.S. economy and our future, free from fear.

Compromise is almost always necessary to achieve great goals, but the extreme Republicans who pushed this deal were never going to give up any of the items on their longstanding anti-immigrant wish list. From Trump on down, they have admitted that they see chaos as politically beneficial. We can support our international allies fighting for democracy without setting a dangerous precedent that does not reflect our values. Any Republican arguments to the contrary are in service of a political agenda and not of working people.”