Immigrant Justice


“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

America should always be a nation that welcomes immigrant and refugee families and their contributions to our communities and economy. Restrictions on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries repudiate our own values and give license to others around the world to do the same or worse. Denying refuge to persons fleeing persecution at a time when they are most in need of safety is morally wrong and un-American.  It undermines our security because it harms the victims of persecution and violates our international obligations.

SEIU members and our communities will keep standing up for immigrants, refugees and their families, despite these attacks. Tens of thousands rallied and marched in more than 70 cities throughout America on Jan. 14, and we will use our collective power in the days and months ahead to prevent deportations and protect immigrant families. We will build our movement so we can come back stronger in 2018 and 2020 to win common sense immigration reform that works for working families. Now more than ever, it is important to educate ourselves, to be prepared and empowered in any situation: Read iAmerica’s Know Your Rights materials and the ACLU’s What to do if Immigration Agents (ICE) are at Your Door.

We are #HereToStay!


Are you an immigrant, or descendant from immigrants? Share your story with us! Email with a  photo and a short paragraph on your experience.

Sign the Petition to tell President Trump #NoBanNoWall!

Stand with Healthcare Workers Nationwide to send an open letter to President Trump.

CALL CONGRESS: 855-614-6085. Say NO to a deportation force.  A deportation force would tear families apart and cost the United States billions of dollars. Tell Congress this is not what America needs!

“It is an egregious abuse of the public trust that a newly inaugurated president, who took the oath of office just days ago, would choose to undermine the very principles on which our nation was founded by scapegoating hardworking families with the falsehood that it advances safety.” -Mary Kay Henry

Read SEIU President Mary Kay Henry’s full statement on President Trump’s immigration policies. 

no deportation force FB AAPI

Take the Pledge to Stand Up for working families and AGAINST an extremist agenda that values corporations over people!

Join the action for Commonsense Immigration Reform!

Read our Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Is your DACA set to expire anytime in the next 9 months? President Trump has threatened to terminate the program, but current work permits will hopefully be protected. Renew Your DACA now.

See photos from our recent events, Community Compassion on Inauguration Day and Hands Around the Plaza.


Feb. 23, 2017 – Santa Cruz Police Offer mea culpa for Feb. 13 “gang” Raids; Really Immigration Related, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Feb. 22, 2017 – SF Has Bold Proposal to Protect Muslims, The SF Chronicle

Feb. 22, 2017 – Immigration Rights Activists Disappointed Over Salinas Sanctuary Rejection, Monterey Herald

Feb. 21, 2017 – Salinas Votes No on Sanctuary City Resolution, The Salinas Californian

Feb. 21, 2017 – What the U.S. Really Needs is a Wall to Keep Immigrants In, Los Angeles Times

Feb. 21, 2017 – Trump Administration Clears the Way for Far More Deportations, Los Angeles Times

Feb. 19, 2017 – On 75th Anniversary, Watsonville Remembers Japanese Internment, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Feb. 16, 2017 – The White House has Found Ways to End Protection for ‘Dreamers’ while Shielding Trump from Blowback, Los Angeles Times

Feb. 14, 2017 – What are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone? The New York Times

Feb. 13, 2017 – Thousands Protest Anti-Immigrant Milwaukee Sheriff at ‘Day Without Latinxos’, Huffington Post

Feb. 10, 2017 – Trump Furious After Court Upholds Block on Travel Ban, CNN

Feb 9, 2017 – California Farmers Backed Trump, Now Fear Losing Field Workers, New York Times

Feb. 9, 2017 – Federal Appeals Court Rules 3-0 Against Trump on Travel Ban, Washington Post

Feb. 8, 2017 – Why Silicon Valley Wouldn’t Work Without Immigrants, New York Times

Jan. 29, 2017 – Trump Mulling the Fate of Young Immigrants Protected by DACA, Mercury News

Jan. 25, 2017 –  What to Know About President Trump’s Immigration Orders, TIME

Jan. 25, 2017 – Las primeras medidas de Trump en inmigración: el muro, más centros de detención y recorte de fondos a las ciudades santuario, Univision

Jan. 25, 2017 – Trump’s Politicized Immigration Acts are at Odds With American Values, Washington Post

Jan. 25, 2017 – State Legislators React to Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders, Los Angeles Times

Jan. 5, 2017 – Union Official Tells Colorado Media That Immigrants Aren’t Responsible For Economic Woes, Colorado Springs Gazette

Nov. 18, 2016 – The High Cost of Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Center For American Progress

The Purple Buzz – February 2017

The Purple Buzz
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Engage Members. Develop Leaders. Build Political & Community Power.

Get involved in your COMMUNITY

The rights of working people are under attack – the right to a fair minimum wage, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the right to health insurance and more. But the rights of women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths, the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault have been threatened as well. We are all confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. Now is the time to stand together, to send a bold message to our new administration and to the world: We are a community, and we’ll protect one another no matter what gets thrown our way. Defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

During Inauguration Day weekend, thousands of SEIU Members from around the country joined their local communities at peaceful demonstrations, immigration actions and at local Women’s Marches. Since Congress reconvened on Jan. 4, our communities have been fighting hard to protect the Affordable Care Act. Moving forward, we need to keep the momentum going. Community solidarity is integral to the labor movement, and now more than ever we need to come together to stand for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.

SEIU 521’s many caucuses and committees are a great way to stay involved in grassroots community organizing. Right now we need to develop our caucuses in San Jose and Fresno, and form new committees in Santa Cruz, Salinas, Bakersfield, Visalia, Redwood City and more.
Get involved!


View photos from our January 14th National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice.

View photos from our participation in the National Women’s March on Washington.

Meet Our New CEO: Riko Mendez

Riko Mendez has been elected SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer (CEO) on January 31, 2017. Listen to his speech after the election results or read his message to members.

SEIU Local 521 members also overwhelmingly ratified amendments to our Localwide Bylaws. Read more about the election results.


Learn about SEIU 521 Scholarship and other 521 news in our latest Talking Points edition.

Talking Points Jan.FINAL

Join the fight to protect the Affordable Care Act!

Our community is coming together to #Fight4ourHealth and defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Five million Californians will be directly affected by a repeal. Millions currently benefit from ACA because of provisions like extending dependent coverage to age 26 and removing “pre-existing condition” clauses from insurance. Covered California and tax subsidies to small businesses have given people more freedom to change jobs and small businesses can better compete for the best talent.
Take Action: Learn how to share your story, attend an event, and more.


Apply for a scholarship through SEIU 521!

View our Year in Review: Everything we accomplished in 2016.

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Immigration Orders Will Unite, Not Divide Americans

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Talking Points: ACA in Danger & More

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Immigrant Justice National Day of Action



Millions of Americans around the nation joined together on Saturday, January 14, to stand for love, compassion and family.

We celebrate our immigrant heritage and defiantly pledge to protect immigrants, Muslims and refugees from hateful attacks and policies. It is time for us to link arms and stand as a line of defense against hate. We are #HereToStay!

Watsonville – Hands Around The Plaza

Hundreds gathered in Watsonville City Plaza on Thursday, January 19, for a peaceful community gathering. Musical performances by Pan Dulce and speeches given by recently elected State Assemblymember Anna Caballero, Watsonville Chief of Police David Honda, Watsonville City Councilman Felipe Hernandez, Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Maria Orozco, Doug Keegan and Frances Salgado from Revoluna. This event was organized in collaboration with The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Revoluna, Community Bridges, Salud Para La Gente, The City of Watsonville, Regeneration – Pajaro Valley Climate Action, the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, the Watsonville Brown Berets and the SEIU State Council. See more photos on our Facebook page.



BAKERSFIELD – Inaugurate Compassion March and Rally

We met on the corner of 21st and L Street in Bakersfield on January 14, and marched to the Liberty Bell for a rally. View video coverage on our Facebook page.
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FRESNO –  Immigration Resource Fair

Immigrant Families gathered for an information and resource fair at the Manchester Mall in Fresno on January 14.


View the event flyer (PDF)

SAN JOSE – Day of Action for Immigrant Rights / Dia de accion de derechos

Hundreds gathered together at  San Jose City Hall, to stand in solidarity for immigrants rights, including our own Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. Watch video coverage for the day on our Facebook page.



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Talking Points – January 2017

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Immigration Justice


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Help us Spread the Word! Print and Distribute the Flyer.


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Defend California!

California’s values and our people are under threat. Congress threatens to tear apart our communities and reverse the progress we have made as a state. But we can stop it – if we fight back.

Here are important actions to fight back. Join us!

URGENT ALERT: U.S. House Voting on First Step to Repeal ACA

Take Action Now!
We cannot go backward to the days when everyone lived at the mercy of insurance companies, children could be denied healthcare coverage for having asthma, and medical bills drove families into bankruptcy. When calling, say: Show us your plan to lower costs and improve healthcare for American families. We need CareNotChaos and we will continue to #Fight4ourhealth.

Share your story here.

Nearly half of the population in Kern and Tulare Counties relies on some form of subsidized insurance, so come and join us in Bakersfield on January 27.

Stay tuned and check this page frequently. More actions and events will be added soon. 

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Hands Around The Plaza – Unity Through Diversity!

JOIN US FOR A PEACEFUL GATHERING on JANUARY 19TH, at 5pm at the Watsonville City Plaza.

We stand together in solidarity with all those throughout the nation defending of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQ, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. We’ll continue to stand together as a community and protect one another, whatever gets thrown our way.

Along with many others throughout the U.S., we send a bold message to our new administration and to the world that we stand together; recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

WHEN: Thursday, January 19, 5pm-7pm

WHERE:  358 Main St, Watsonville, CA 95076. 2 hour free parking available at City Garage l (2nd street and Rodriguez Street)

Help us spread the word!

RSVP on Facebook.
Share the event flyer: Spanish Version, English Version

Jan 19 English

This event is hosted by City of Watsonville – City Gov’t, Community Bridges / Puentes De La Communidad, Salud Para La Gente, Monterey Bay Labor Council, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc., Revoluna, Regeneration: Pajaro Valley Climate Action, SEIU State Council and SEIU Local 521. For more information contact: Olivia Martinez at 831-460-9409 or Veronica Rodriguez at 831-247-5898

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2016 Year in Review

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Immigration: DACA Do’s and Don’ts

We know there are a lot of questions and uncertainty within the immigrant community at this time. Remember that everyone in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, has rights. Visit iAmerica resource center for Know Your Rights, DACA info and more.

For starters, the newly elected president has promised to end the immigration program that has provided work authorization and opportunity to many immigrant youth, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Review this list of DACA do’s and don’ts and share widely.


Source: iAmerica

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Genesis: What’s Your Vision for America?

Get inspired by our Member Political Organizers’ stories: Sergio ($15 and union rights), Mullissa (affordable child care), Rogenia (quality long-term care), Alysia (racial justice), Genesis and Tammy (common sense immigration reform).

Genesis Aguilar is a first-generation Mexican American. Her mother and father immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s, looking for work as fruit harvesters in the Central Valley. To honor their legacy, Genesis has taken up the fight for immigration reform as an SEIU 521 Member Political Organizer (MPO).

Read our Q&A with Genesis to find out why she got involved with SEIU. If her story inspires you, please share your own vision for America in the comment field below.


SEIU 521: Why is immigration reform important to you?

Genesis: My parents came to America to escape violence in Mexico and make a better life for themselves. They were granted amnesty in 1986, but many undocumented immigrants haven’t been as lucky. Undocumented immigrants have no hope of going home to visit their families – if there’s a funeral, or a wedding, they can’t go back to Mexico.

They live in constant fear of deportation, and this affects their lives in so many ways. They can’t rely on the police for protection against domestic violence or crime. They have no recourse. Just the other day in Salinas, I saw a couple crossing the street with their toddler. A reckless driver came speeding through the red light and hit their child – it seemed like the kid was ok, but it angered me. Because I know that the couple won’t report the incident. If they’re undocumented, they can’t sue, or pursue any form of justice, for fear of deportation.

“One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart”-Carlos Santana (1)

SEIU 521: What needs to change with the United States’ current policies towards immigration?

Genesis: Our country has a history of treating immigrants poorly; during WWII it was the Japanese; during the Goldrush it was the Chinese, and during the Industrial Revolution it was the Irish. It’s time for a change. We need a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, one that will allow families to stay together.

The borders we create are so arbitrary. Borders can be physical, like rivers and mountains, or imaginary lines dividing two nations. Borders can be economic, or cultural. November’s election is an opportunity to elect candidates who are capable of looking beyond our man-made borders to support working families and immigrants.


This election, our six Member Political Organizers are focused on five issues essential for building stronger communities across America:

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