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Statement on Ending of DACA from SEIU Healthcare PA President Matthew Yarnell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 6, 2017

President Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) represents a destructive choice that hurts our communities and derails economic development and job creation.

The President’s plan targets over 800,000 young immigrants for arrest and deportation. The suffering in immigrant communities as some of our country’s most productive, educated, and aspiring people are hunted down and seized by government agents will be heart breaking. People with DACA status came out of the shadows to register with the government in good faith. Now the Trump administration aims to round them up in detention facilities, uprooting their lives and tearing apart their families. In many cases, the government will be arresting people who have never spent time in the country of their birth and who know only the U.S. as their home.

Nurses and healthcare workers care for patients every day without regard to their ethnicity, country of origin, or immigration status. This is both an ethical commitment and how we build strong communities. When we recognize our shared humanity and focus on caring for each other, we create a better country for everyone. The Trump administration’s plan takes the U.S. down the path of armed agents raiding peaceful homes and workplaces. It will alienate millions of people from their government and their neighbors, dividing America just when we need to come together.

There is no good reason — not even one — for Trump to end DACA. According to research by the University of California, San Diego, 91% of young people with DACA status are employed, contributing to their communities, and creating a growing economic footprint. Because these 800,000 “dreamers” are at the start of their careers, a majority buy their first car and one in six purchase a first home after gaining DACA protection. The Trump administration claims without evidence that DACA status workers are taking jobs that documented workers could have filled, but the opposite is true. The conservative libertarian Cato Institute observes that new entrants into the workforce (like DACA-status workers) actually create economic activity that drives job creation. The Trump plan to arrest and deport 800,000 educated DACA-status workers will weaken the U.S. economy and do nothing to create good jobs for anyone. The DACA decision reveals a Trump presidency driven to create racial and ethnic conflict instead of opportunity for working people.

President Trump has allowed a six-month pause before starting wide scale arrests so that Congress can debate the issues around DACA. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania will waste no time in taking action. We are organizing to demand that our U.S. Senators and Representatives reject the end of DACA and instead enact just and comprehensive immigration reform – reform that must include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

In partnership with our community allies like Make the Road Pennsylvania, CASA, One Pennsylvania, and many other organizations, nurses and healthcare workers will rally around people with DACA status and stand with immigrant communities against repression and xenophobia. We will not rest until President Trump’s cruel policy to end DACA fails, just as we mobilized to ensure that his catastrophic healthcare cuts went down to defeat.

If working people take action together, we can protect each other and make sure that our communities emerge from the Trump administration stronger, more united, and ready to build a country that rewards hard work and respects all working people.

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About SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of nurses and health care workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. Together, we work to protect patient care, expand access to quality health care for all, and to lives of health care workers. We accomplish these goals by organizing non-union health care workers, driving industry standards in our contracts and fighting for legislation that affects health care in our state. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is affiliated with SEIU Healthcare, part of the Service Employees International Union which represents 2.1 million working people in health care, public services, and property services.

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