SEATTLE — At the June 30 rally outside SeaTac Federal Prison that drew 10,000-plus demonstrators and at the daily peaceful vigils outside local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices since then, organized labor has been standing alongside many others to demand an end to the terrorizing of immigrant communities and separation of families. This Thursday, labor will once again tell ICE that “Families Belong Together!”
TAKE A STAND! — Wear your union colors and bring signs to the Seattle Labor for Keeping Families Together Vigil from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 outside the Seattle ICE Office, 1000 2nd Ave. in downtown Seattle. UFCW 21 will provide donuts and coffee. See the Facebook event page to RSVP or get more details.
President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending “family separations” at our nation’s southern border hasn’t ended the humanitarian crisis his administration created by imposing that policy in the first place. Many of the thousands of children taken from their parents by federal agents have yet to be reunited with their families.
Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” remains in place and every person found without documentation near the border continues to be arrested and prosecuted, including people who are fleeing violence and oppression and seeking asylum in America. The White House continues to fan the flames of hatred and racism by calling immigrants criminals and rapists, and falsely repeating that Trump’s immigration policies are a national security issue.
At last month’s 2018 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, union delegates from across the state approved the following resolution:
RESOLUTION ON IMMIGRATION AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT
WHEREAS, immigrants and refugees have enriched the fabric of our communities, the workforce, and the labor movement since our nation’s founding; and
WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO’s website further elaborates, “the labor movement is the natural home for new immigrants struggling to achieve economic security and win social justice, and our commitment to building an immigration system that represents the needs and interests of all working people is fierce and unwavering”; and
WHEREAS, with the recent election of President Trump, immigrants and refugees are unjustly targeted with policies such as the Muslim ban and derided by the administration, who referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole” countries on January 11, 2018; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld President Trump’s third version of a ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries; and
WHEREAS, Attorney General Sessions’ “Zero Tolerance” immigration-detention policy has ripped apart families and led to the systematic imprisonment of children; and
WHEREAS, despite President Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and policies, immigrants and refugees are essential to economic growth in America and have an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth domestically; and
WHErEAS, the labor movement states its commitment to standing with immigrants and refugees, instead of deporting immigrants, we need to ensure that all working people have rights on the job and are able to exercise them without fear of retaliation; and
WHEREAS, communities, like Pacific County, have seen the direct impact of ICE raids on personal and workplace relationships as friends and coworkers have been the target of immigration enforcement; and
WHEREAS, Washington State’s agricultural economy is threatened by the increased threat of detention and deportation of low wage workers that sustain its $10.6 billion annual economy; and
WHEREAS, union employees serve all people and provide services accessible to all, regardless of ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, physical or mental disability, immigration status or religion; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will continue to work with affiliated unions to ensure that we have a comprehensive program for our immigrant members, including a plan for rapid response to raids and detentions, know your rights trainings, and best practices for provisions we can bargain into our contracts to help protect workers from ICE raids; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, understanding and believing that immigrants hold a strong role in the workplace, will help develop public policy to protect all workers from ICE raids, prevent state public funds and resources from being utilized for federal immigration enforcement, support legal defense of immigrant families, and stop the expansion of private detention centers in Washington State in its 2019 legislative agenda.