• SEIU Draws Battle Lines Over Immigration Order: This Is Not Over

    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Tuesday condemned an appeals court decision to uphold a block on President Barack Obama’s amnesty.

    “Once again, we find ourselves in a battle to preserve the hope of millions of families who have long made America their home,” SEIU International Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz said in a statement. “We have no doubt that the deferred action initiatives will prevail.”

    May 19 was originally supposed to be the first day illegal immigrants could apply for deportation relief and work authorization under the president’s executive order, but a federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction in February that temporarily blocked the order. At the time, several prominent unions, led by the AFL-CIO, rallied against that decision.

    On Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled against a request to lift the block.

    “We always knew that the fight for immigration reform was not going to be easy and that there would be bumps along the way. But the president’s immigration action stands on the right side of history,” Sáenz continued. “The same cannot be said of Republican leaders and the 26 plaintiff states who have unapologetically stood in the way of real immigration solutions.”

    The executive order would have expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents programs to include millions more immigrants currently in the country illegally.

    “They have failed to live up to our American values and, by their actions, place families at risk,” Saenz went onto say. “As we look to 2016, those contenders who continue to block or flip-flop on immigration reform, be forewarned: The Latino and immigrant vote will deliver a strong mandate for a lasting immigration solution.”

    It is no surprise that organized labor has been so adamantly behind the president and his executive order. Once authorized to work, the millions of immigrants are expected to help unions replenish membership rates, which have been in significant decline in recent years. Unions have set up training, workshop and recruitment programs all specifically aimed at the millions of illegal immigrants that may be eligible for amnesty under the executive order.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership continues to go down year after year. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent. In 2014 however, the union membership rate was just 11.1 percent.

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