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WSLC’s Johnson: Labor stands with immigrants and refugees

SEATAC (July 2, 2018) — Following are the remarks delivered by Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, at the Families Belong Together protest — more than 10,000 strong! — on Saturday, June 30, 2018, outside the SeaTac Federal Prison.

It is an honor to be with you today. It is hard to convey to you just how beautiful you look from up here.

As our Legislative Policy Director, Eric Gonzalez, just told me, this is how we are going to win. And he is right. We are all immigrants, we are the community, and we speak with one voice.

We are immigrants. We are community. We are one.

My name is Jeff Johnson and I am the president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. We represent 450,000 union workers who stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.

We say, “Welcome to America. We need you and want you.”

We say to Trump and Sessions that the people have a zero tolerance policy for your hatred, your ignorance, your bigotry and your racism.

Unless you are Native American, our families all emigrated from somewhere – we are all immigrants. My grandparents came from Croatia and from Sweden. America was built with the blood, sweat, tears, dreams, aspirations and hopes of Native Americans, slaves and immigrants. The rich tapestry of our culture is a mix of immigrant cultures, food and stories.

The world stands in horror of seeing children locked in cages wailing for their parents. Surely this could not be happening in America. If this is Trump’s vision of greatness – then we don’t want anything to do with it.

In April, my wife and I visited No More Deaths in Aravaca, Arizona. This is a border town about 30 miles from the border. The desert countryside is stark and desolate and unforgiving. Over 2,000 migrants have died in this desert over the last dozen and a half years. And there is a blemish on the American soul for every immigrant who has died trying to reach what they thought would be the security and safety of America.

Labor stands with immigrants and with refugees today and every day going forward. We say, “No more deaths! No more separations! No more incarcerations! No more detentions!”

We will stand together shoulder to shoulder to fight for your protection. We benefit from the strength of your commitment to provide for your families. We welcome you with open arms and sanctuary in our union halls. And we have zero tolerance for Trump’s hate and racism – he does not represent America.

We are immigrants. We are community. We are one.

Yes we are and, sisters and brothers, this is how we will win.

ALSO at The Stand — More actions this week to protect immigration policies

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