May 2015 Issue
April 29, 2015

Social Justice all year round

Source: NYSUT United

Reach, mobilize, organize: Support immigrant workers

May 1 heralds both the arrival of warmer weather and May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, a worldwide celebration of working men and women. This month, as part of NYSUT's Social Justice All Year Round initiative, we're placing the focus on immigrant workers, many of whom face workplace exploitation.

In response to President Obama's executive action offering illegal immigrants a temporary path to stay and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, the AFL-CIO launched "We Rise!" a national initiative to reach, mobilize and organize immigrant workers.

NYSUT representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., last month for program training, learning how to help immigrant workers and their families apply for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program; and how to help qualified legal permanent residents apply for citizenship. More than 5 million people could potentially benefit.

"The goal is have participants return to their communities and create union-hosted forums to help immigrants learn about their rights on the job and enroll in programs available to them," said NYSUT Special Projects Manager Sonia Basko who attended the training. In this way, the AFL-CIO hopes to create a nationwide support network for immigrants, she explained.

Information ranged from how DACA and DAPA protect and advance workers' rights, to how to help individuals with the application process. More than 200 unionists from 23 different unions and 27 states attended the event.

NYSUT plans to launch a statewide program to help immigrant workers learn more about their rights on the job and apply for DACA, DAPA and citizenship.

How you can help

Educators and health care professionals are often the first to find out about an undocumented immigrant's status. Here are a few suggestions for making a difference in your community:

DAPA and DACA — Who qualifies?

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) Participants must:

  • Be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010.
  • Have arrived by Nov. 20, 2014, and been present in the U.S. continuously until a DAPA is submitted.
  • Have an unlawful immigration status as of Nov. 20, 2014.
  • Have no criminal offenses, including felonies and some misdemeanors.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Participants must:

  • Have arrived in the U.S. before age 16.
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010.
  • Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and every day since Aug. 15, 2012, and have an immigration status that expired before June 15, 2012.
  • Be a high school graduate, a GED certificate holder, attending school or honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces on the date the deferred action application is submitted.
  • Have no convictions for certain criminal offenses.

Both programs grant qualified participants temporary permission to stay in the U.S.

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