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Despite what Trump says, we won't make America great by making life worse for immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2016
Media contact:
 Elizabeth Fernandez, elizabeth.fernandez@seiufl.org954-652-9897

Miami, FL — After winning the official Republican presidential nomination, many speculated that Donald Trump would attempt to shift some of his positions in order to win back important voting blocs he intentionally alienated during the primaries.

Clearly, he did not. At a speech in Phoenix, AZ, Trump insisted on accusing immigrants of homicide and theft, while suggesting that we must “build a wall that Mexico will pay for,” increase deportations, and “keep immigration levels to historic lows.”

The following is a statement from Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida and executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East in Florida:

“Why are we surprised? It doesn’t matter what he says, where he says it, who he hires to say it, or who stands by him to say it… Trump will never change.

“What is surprising and infuriating is that we let Trump define what this country talked about for an entire week. While Trump and his pundits filled the airwaves once again with hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric, millions of immigrants with and without papers, were making America great by working in Florida’s farms, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, classrooms and many other industries.

“Talking about fixing our broken immigration system without talking about creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people is not making America great again and we won't stand for it. More importantly, spending our resources on deporting more people and separating more families is not what we want to keep on doing.

“Instead of vilifying immigrants, Trump should start listening to Florida’s working families, to our kids, to our voters. Since 2013, voters have said in poll after poll that they support immigration reform with a path to citizenship. If there’s still room for doubt, recent polls confirm that 62% of Floridians haven’t changed their mind.

“Immigrants are the backbone of our economy. Bringing 11 million people out of the shadows and giving them a real option to get in line and become full citizens of the country they’ve lived in and paid taxes in for decades is the only solution we see as feasible.

“We’ve had this conversation for years now and we don’t need to repeat it. It’s time to move forward on immigration, and there’s only one presidential candidate who has proven her solid support for a pathway to citizenship.”

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SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.