With many healthcare workers in America being immigrants or the children of immigrants, an executive order from the president on immigration is good news.
New York City–based members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East are praising President Barack Obama’s executive action to provide relief to millions of undocumented residents and are crediting their rallying, organizing and speaking out for the president’s decision.
“There is a deep connection between civil rights, workers’ rights and immigrant rights,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham in a statement. “Whenever you have a group of workers who are being exploited and taken advantage of, who live in fear and have no rights, that drags down the standards for all working people. Our country’s immigration system is profoundly broken, and has cruelly ripped parents from their children. Right-wing extremists prevented any sort of common-sense fix, so after six whole years of sincere attempts to compromise, our president took a courageous stand.
“This is not about playing politics; this is about people. This is about keeping sons and daughters together with their mothers and fathers. This is about the long struggle of our nation to live up to our ideals of welcoming hard-working newcomers and expanding full rights to all who strive for the American Dream.”
The workers have vowed to hold elected officials accountable for their actions on immigration in 2016.
“Throughout our history, immigrants have always made vital contributions to our economy, schools, small businesses, culture and communities,” said Maria Castaneda, secretary-treasurer of 1199SEIU, in a statement. “President Obama’s order is a major step towards helping workers who want to play by the rules, pay their taxes and become recognized members of our society.”