Washington, DC – Today UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers union which represents thousands of DACA and TPS workers, is marking the Trump DACA deadline with a week of historic worker actions from Honolulu to Washington, DC in a continued commitment to a pathway to citizenship. With the fates of hundreds of thousands of DACA and TPS holders remain uncertain as DACA renewals are underway despite Trump’s program termination, UNITE HERE is running major internal member education campaigns for DACA holders and is organizing externally against Trump’s racist immigration policies.
“America has been my home since I immigrated here at twelve years old,” said Celica Valdez, a UNITE HERE member in Monterey, California. “DACA allowed me to come out of the shadows and provide for my family. I’m a single mother, and my family depends on my union job as a hotel worker at Hyatt. If Trump wins with taking away my work authorization, my family would be destroyed.”
This weekend in Hawaii, UNITE HERE Local 5 held the largest immigrant citizenship application fair in the state’s history, with major local political backing including co-sponsorship of the Mayor of Honolulu. UNITE HERE chose to mark the DACA deadline by training over 150 union and community volunteers to assist eligible immigrants who attended to apply on the spot for American citizenship. The historic citizenship action is one of the largest in UNITE HERE International’s history, and resulted in 10 times the citizenship applications than the next largest citizenship fair in Hawaii’s history. This week will also see UNITE HERE affiliates in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Nevada and as far flung as Indiana to New Jersey mobilizing in-state for a range of activities, including federal lobbying, joining a major action today in Washington, DC, and holding member education seminars for impacted workers on DACA.
Maria Elena Durazo, General Vice President of UNITE HERE and icon of the immigrant rights movement, is marking today’s DACA deadline in part by serving as a keynote speaker at a Dreamer student forum at UCLA for DACA holders to engage with political office holders and policy experts on their pathway forward. Under Maria Elena’s leadership, UNITE HERE has been engaging in an internal organizing campaign to educate union members who are DACA holders on the court decision to allow renewals, and the impact this has on current work authorizations.
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 including tens of thousands of immigrant workers.