A delegation of Local 521 members marched on the State Capitol on Monday, April 3 to join SEIU members from across California along with hundreds of immigration right activists in a protest and rally for immigrants’ rights.
Members met with their State Senators and lobbied for five immigrants’ rights bills that provide strong legal and civil rights protections for undocumented immigrants – and all Californians- caught in President Trump’s drastic deportation machine. Trump’s immigration policies aim to deport millions of our families, neighbors, and friends.
Members successfully lobbied their support for the California Values Act, also known as the sanctuary state bill, Senate Bill 54. The Senate passed SB54, authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, which prohibits local law enforcement from enforcing immigration laws.
SB54 passed on a 27-12 vote Monday, and will be sent to the State Assembly. The Senate also passed SB6, a bill that will create a state fund of $12 million to provide legal representation for immigrants facing deportation, and another measure, SB31, which will bar state officials from sharing data if the federal government creates a Muslim registry.
“Immigration agents are coming into our neighborhoods at rates we’ve never seen before. Places we all go to for help – schools, hospitals, courthouses – have been transformed into spaces filled with fear, especially for our Latino neighbors and friends. As Californians, we are horrified by Presidents Trump’s policies and languages about deporting millions of undocumented immigrants – people who contribute to our communities in a huge variety of ways.” -Valeska Sanchez, SEIU 521 member, custodian and Chief Steward for Fresno Unified School District.
Members lobbied in support of the additional bills:
AB21, authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, The Access to Higher Education for Every Student Act, creates legal, housing, and medical care protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students in response to the Trump administration. It will also increase the likelihood of graduation.
AB450, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu, The Immigrant Worker Protection Act, protects workers by setting standards for how employers cooperate with federal immigration raids, including requiring immigration agents to present employers with a judicial warrant before they are allowed on the worksite.
SB491, authored by Senator Steven Bradford, Civil Rights: Discrimination, Enforcement. This bill strengthens penalties for those who violate the California Fair Employment Housing Act, and gives local governments more authority to investigate discrimination complaints.
Attend our Immigration Know-Your-Rights Workshop on April 15 to learn more about your legal protections, how to interact with ICE agents, and how to help protect immigrant families in your community!
Watch our live footage of the rally.