Thousands of asylum-seekers from Central America are headed on foot toward the U.S.-Mexico border. Many are traveling with their families. As union members and people of conscience, we understand the importance of standing together and advocating for each other when faced with the abuse of power. We have an opportunity to challenge the ways our borders are used to separate instead of welcome. This is a moment to declare that all human beings have inherent dignity. All workers have the right to a living wage, the right to collectively bargain, the right to provide for their families, and the right to a life free from violence.
Individuals, families, and communities are making the heartbreaking decision to leave the place they call home. We recognize that millions of our current and former union leaders have travelled a similar path. We must dare to ask the question, what can we do when those who seek asylum instead find armed forces, threats of violence from vigilantes, and racist fear-mongering? The migrants have been called an invasion of terrorists and criminals. But the terror comes from the U.S. halls of power and privilege, from the same people who oppose unions, universal health care, and raising the minimum wage.
Those in power want us to blame immigrants for our economic struggles. But we know that the rich and corporations, not immigrants, have cut our wages and shipped our jobs abroad. Instead of deporting immigrants, we need to ensure that all working people have rights on the job and are able to exercise them without fear of retaliation. Working people of all races, religions and immigration statuses must stand together to end policies that put profits over people and to stop the race to the bottom in wages and standards.
The New Sanctuary Coalition is issuing a National Call to Action to give aid and support to the people fleeing violence and poverty for sanctuary in the U.S. We call on you to stand in solidarity with our sisters, brothers, and comrades. Help us to send committed people to the border, including union delegations with varied skills, and to send greatly needed resources to support a traveling and weary people. We can transform a difficult exodus into a journey of hope.
In many languages, we can answer this call with the old labor song, “Which Side Are You On?”
Labor unions listed for identification purposes only