The Trump administration announced today the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. America's unions responded with outrage and resolve. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
President Donald Trump’s move to terminate DACA and strip work authorization away from 800,000 productive members of our society is cruel and wrong. Ending DACA will increase the pool of vulnerable workers in our country and embolden employers to retaliate against working men and women who dare to organize on the job or speak out against abusive working conditions. This indefensible act will make our workplaces less fair and less safe and will undermine our freedom to join together and fight to raise wages and standards.
This direct attack on union members and union values only strengthens our resolve to overcome racial divisions and demand changes to a system rigged to benefit the wealthiest and corporations. The eyes of history are upon us. The labor movement will stand with these brave young workers and fight for legislation so that the contributions they make are celebrated, rather than assaulted. We will push for a pathway to citizenship and continue to oppose enforcement policies that discriminate and generate fear in our workplaces and communities. We will not give up the struggle until all working people have rights on the job, regardless of where they were born.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders:
It is grossly unfair and morally reprehensible for the U.S. government to go back on its word and deport undocumented young people who bravely came out of the shadows and registered under DACA.
DACA was part of an effort to find solutions to our broken immigration system and a legal path to citizenship for millions of hardworking people who were brought to America as babies and children through no choice of their own, by parents in search of a better life for their families.
It is urgent that Congress act to protect the young adults covered by the DACA program and finally get serious about comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform. It is on Congress to prove to Americans of every race and creed that our government keeps its promises and rejects hate and xenophobia.
AFT President Randi Weingarten:
President Trump has an opportunity to lead on this issue. The time has come for the president and Congress to offer comprehensive solutions to our broken immigration system. We must defend DACA now, but we know the enduring work is to provide pathways to citizenship for millions of students, families and neighbors working and living alongside us, which includes passing the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.
The AFT will continue to fight to protect undocumented students, refugees, individuals with temporary protective status, and their families from the threat of deportation. A nation built by immigrants should welcome those in pursuit of the American dream, not pull up the ladder behind us.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) President Monica Thammarath:
Today, we hold our immigrant community close. Know we will protect, defend and fight with you—our immigrant brothers, sisters and siblings—from raids, detention and deportation. We are committed as ever to do everything in our power to stop this mass deportation agenda and to make sure white supremacists and their agenda have no place in the White House or at any level of government now and in the future. If we are to truly move toward comprehensive immigration reform, mass deportation is not the answer. We call on our elected officials to find lasting legislative solutions that protect and strengthen sanctuary cities, defund and demilitarize our borders and our communities, and ensure that all immigrants live free from fear of detention or deportation.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a heartless, gutless move by the Trump administration that threatens to rip 800,000 young DREAMers from their families.
California is home to 200,000 DREAMers who contribute to our state’s economy and culture every day. I know some of them. These young people are bright—some downright brilliant—hard-working contributors to our community who strive for the American Dream for themselves and their families. They’re our co-workers, classmates, friends and family. They deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.
By ending DACA, Trump will turn their promising lives upside down in an effort to appease his anti-immigrant base. He is committing a cold and cynical act that will harm all of us in the long run.
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello Kline:
Today’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a disgrace. This is not what the United States of America represents, nor is it who we are. This policy is another clear example of White Supremacy strategies and tactics and we denounce it....
This action is shameful and completely stains the Republican Party. We call on Republican legislators in the Senate and Congress to support the young immigrants and work with Democrats to pass a clean, stand-alone DREAM Act. We call on our Las Vegas employers on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas to stand with your workforce and to not let this immoral decision pass quietly.
Department for Professional Employees (DPE) President Paul E. Almeida:
Many of the young people covered by DACA are young professionals, working as teachers, doctors, nurses and lawyers, who contribute greatly to the American economy. By eliminating the DACA program, President Trump is ripping over 800,000 hard-working young people from their communities, jobs and families. DPE stands with the young professionals and union members affected by the termination of DACA and will work to help these young people stay in the place that they call home.
Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta:
Even after the departure of Steve Bannon, the Trump administration continues to signal that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is brimming with white nationalist-fueled policies. Rather than going after greedy CEOs and corporations that depress wages, offshore jobs, fuel economic insecurity and make workplaces worse, President Trump has decided to scapegoat young immigrants who are working hard, contributing to the U.S. economy and making a better life for themselves and their families....
Taken together, the administration’s actions and policies on immigration and other issues, combined with the state-sponsored violence of ICE and Customs and Border Patrol are accelerating the vitriol and hate speech of Nazis and other white supremacists against people of color and immigrants. Jobs With Justice resists white supremacy and scapegoating of working people of color, whether it manifests as violence, hate speech, laws or policies.
Laborers (LIUNA) President Terry O'Sullivan:
LIUNA was founded more than a century ago by proud immigrant and minority workers, and then as now, we continue to work for fair treatment of all workers. LIUNA has been a strong and tireless advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, but in light of congressional inaction on comprehensive reform, we supported President Obama’s Executive Order to provide relief to children of immigrant families, known as Dreamers, through the DACA program. The administration’s announcement today to end the DACA program is disappointing and only further stresses the importance of Congress acting on real immigration reform.
Dreamers, immigrants who have lived in the United States since childhood, have spent their lives contributing to this country by working, paying taxes and even serving in our military. They are as American as those born here, except for an immigration status that is beyond their control. It is about time that Dreamers are able to live unburdened by the fear of deportation. These young immigrants deserve the chance to obtain lawful permanent residence and eventual citizenship. Today’s announcement ending DACA puts these young adults and children in a precarious and undeserved limbo.
Although our country has a long road ahead in achieving comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act is a promising bipartisan step in the right direction. In light of the administration’s decision, LIUNA strongly urges Congress to immediately redouble efforts to come together and quickly pass this legislation.
UAW President Dennis Williams:
I am deeply disappointed by the Trump administration’s mean-spirited decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It is now incumbent on the Republican-led Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act.
If Congress fails, over 800,000 of our friends, neighbors and many fellow union members who came to America as children, pay taxes, raise families and contribute vital services to our economy, risk deportation to a land that many do not know and cannot recollect.
Enough is enough. We cannot let the American Dream become hostage to a politically extreme agenda that seeks to divide us.
Union Veterans Council:
UNITE HERE President D. Taylor and UNITE HERE Vice President Maria Elena Durazo:
Because of Donald Trump, 800,000 legal workers are now facing loss of their ability to work legally, and face deportation and loss of their families. It is imperative that Congress act immediately to protect the 800,000 DACA workers whose fate is now in their hands. It is now up to Congress whether these nearly 1 million immigrants, who contribute to the American economy, live productive and meaningful lives, and attain education and employment at higher levels than natural born Americans, lose their most basic rights to live in a country they were brought to as children. UNITE HERE resoundingly condemns the termination of DACA, as well as Trump’s lack of political courage, and will take to the streets, lobby our congressional members in UNITE-HERE dense districts across the country, and activate and mobilize our 270,000 workers in every state in the nation to advocate tirelessly to Congress to save DACA.
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone:
President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel and a betrayal of what America stands for.
Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement.
President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love.
On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.