Miami, FL—SEIU Florida President Monica Russo released the following statement in reaction to the planned wave of new immigration raids targeting hundreds of mothers and children:
“We refuse to be silent as vulnerable mothers and children seeking refuge from violence in Central America are unfairly targeted for deportation. These families are fleeing a crisis of epidemic violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and are only crossing the border to seek refuge and safety. We are sending a strong message to Washington, DC, that targeting vulnerable parents and their children is cruel and unacceptable. The criminalization of immigrant families needs to stop.
“More than 32,000 families of mothers and children have already been apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol between October 2015 and March 2016, a huge jump compared to previous years. The vulnerable families caught up in these raids rarely have access to lawyers or due process, becoming entangled in an incredibly flawed system as they desperately seek asylum. Sending these fleeing refugees away only exposes them to further violence and hardship.
“Spurred by anti-immigration bills and the attacks on immigrants by politicians like Donald Trump, there has been a tremendous surge in citizenship applications among the 8.8 million immigrants across the United States who are eligible to become citizens. They will vote, and they will remember.”
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.