Women participate in a protest on behalf of 32BJ SEIU, which is participating in widespread May 1 protests on Monday. Credit: Charles Mostoller

This guest column for Metro is by Daisy Cruz, 32BJ SEIU's Mid-Atlantic District Leader.

 

Despite opposition from the courts and the public in his relentless attempt to punish immigrant families, the Trump administration is still threatening to take federal funding from sanctuary cities like New York, Philadelphia and Boston, obsessing over wasting resources we don’t have to build a wall we don’t need, and in an embarrassing and unsuccessful attempt to ban Muslims has proven that his policies are conceived by a rejection of our constitutional order and values.

 

Trump’s anti-immigrant strategy will do nothing to help our economy or make our nation safer. These actions only spread fear in immigrant communities. That’s why people from all walks of life are standing together on May 1 to put a stop on fear and hatred. On May Day, our message is clear: hate cannot be normalized.

 

Our union is committed to representing all workers. We represent hardworking men and women from more than 60 different countries, including US and foreign-born, who are proud to work and live in our country. We understand the fear and trepidation that is running rampant throughout immigrant communities. I hear the horror stories of immigration raids while people are in their homes or at work. That is not the America I know.  I know our union and our country is only stronger because of our diversity.

 

The Trump administration would have you believe that every immigrant poses a danger to us. This baseless rhetoric causes unnecessary fear for immigrants and Americans. Those claims couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, several studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born here in the United States. They also contribute $700 billion to our economy, pay taxes, and support local businesses. These men and women are your neighbors, co-workers, and friends.  They work in restaurants, offices and apartment buildings. Their children play and go to school with your children.

The real crimes are the extreme immigration policies that strip cities that serve as sanctuary cities from federal funding. This move makes us all less safe by making police officers Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. It pushes immigrants deeper into the shadows, forcing those who are victims of crimes not to speak up, and takes away money for social service programs that benefit all.

Our elected officials need to end the hate and work to pass commonsense immigration reform that strengthens workers. Immigration reform would boost the economy by increasing wages, bringing new jobs, and diversifying skills to build companies. In fact, in a recent letter to the President, a group of economists’ herald the benefits of immigration reform, saying it would give the country a significant competitive advantage because reform is more of an opportunity and not a threat to the economy or American workers.

On Monday, hundreds of thousands will protest across the country against the attacks on immigrants and working people. Our fights are tied together, and we only get stronger when we build together. As a union, we stand united and we will be there on May 1 and the days and weeks after because we know immigrants are #HereToStay.

This guest column does not necesarrily reflect the views of Metro US.