Dozens of South Bay residents gathered at SEIU Local 521’s union hall on Friday to watch President Obama address America on the topic of administrative action on immigration. The ‘Watch Party’ was hosted by the Santa Clara County Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, comprising immigrant rights advocates, community organizations, service providers, and faith and labor organizations. President Obama’s executive action provides administrative relief to millions of immigrants, offering a temporary solution and protection from deportation. At the same time, a coalition of legal, civil rights, and worker organizations, along with Latino media partners such as Univision and Entrevision, has launched the iAmerica.org portal for immigrant families to learn about the President’s administrative action, find out whether they qualify, and safely make their way through the application process. Eligible immigrants can learn about and apply for relief in seven languages. Friday’s ‘watch party’ draw elected leaders from the South Bay Region as well as representatives from community organizations such as the Asian Law Alliance; Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI); Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN); People Acting in Community Together (PACT); Sacred Heart Community Service; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish; UFCW Local 5; United Service Workers West; SEIU Local 521; student DREAMers and others.
Activists gathered at the Federal Building to speak out in support of administrative relief and to talk about the path forward. Labor, business and faith leaders came together to reiterate their support for the plan which includes a means for undocumented immigrants to pay taxes, certify their status and come out of the shadows.
SEIU Local 521 and the Kern Coalition for Citizenship, a community group that includes labor, business, faith and social justice groups, gathered in front of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office for a rally and press conference. The rally was well attended by media and members of the coalition. Marichel Mejia from the United Farm Workers Foundation said, “We are thankful for administrative relief, but we are still going to fight, we are still going to organize, and we are still going to put pressure on Congress. It has been 512 days since comprehensive legislation was passed in the Senate and it has still not been brought up for a vote in the House.”