New York, NY – Today on the 5th anniversary of the landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, UNITE HERE is recognizing the many DACA recipients who keep the American hospitality industry thriving, and doubling down on our commitment to fight for continued DACA protections for these workers. The anniversary comes on the tail of racist demonstrations and terrorism in Virginia this weekend.
“Our union’s response to violence and racism has been and will continue to be delivering justice for all workers, including immigrant workers, who love this nation,” said Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE’s General Vice President. “DACA has been a vehicle for justice to the 800,000 immigrant workers now able to contribute to our economy, and it has changed the lives of immigrants by giving them a legal avenue to work and the opportunity to achieve a good job with living wages and union benefits. DACA has been transformative for many of our own union sisters and brothers who are members of UNITE HERE, and our union will not stand by as prejudice and racism threaten to end it. We are the hospitality workers’ union: our union has many immigrant faces, many brown and black faces, many countries of origin, and one voice. We will continue to raise this voice continually until DACA is no longer threatened and immigrants working here no longer have to live in fear of losing their legal worker status.”
UNITE HERE represents a diverse membership of hospitality workers, including many immigrants employed to work through the DACA program. Christian Torres, a UNITE HERE member living in Los Angeles, says, “As an immigrant in America, having the opportunity to work a good union job because of DACA completely transformed my life. DACA allowed me to obtain employment as a food service worker at Pomona College in California, and to provide for myself and my family. Without DACA, many people like me would suffer.”
UNITE HERE affiliates across the country are participating in DACA protection events today, and UNITE HERE’s General Vice President Maria Elena Durazo is marking the anniversary in part by leading a rally in Los Angeles with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Congresswoman Nanette Barragan (D-CA), and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA).
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada.