For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Wednesday, May 27, 2021
Viridiana Vidal (702) 206-2110 // firstname.lastname@example.org
(Los Angeles/New York) – In reaction to the release of “PUBLIC SAFETY: BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE” a report by the AFL-CIO Task Force on Racial Justice, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), NDLON co-directors Angela Sanbrano, Nadia Marin-Molina, and Pablo Alvarado issued the following statement on behalf of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON):
“We agree with the task force that ‘[s]ystemic racism has been used throughout history as a tool by those in power to divide workers, leading to the us vs. them mentality that is dominating today’s political and social unrest.’ For this reason, we were disappointed by the failure of the task force to identify and make recommendations about insidious and unrestrained racism within immigration law enforcement agencies represented by some of the unions involved in the release of the report.
“Others leading the way in the Black struggle against police violence will likely offer concrete rebuttals to the inadequacy of many of the recommendations, which clearly do not go far enough in addressing the role of law enforcement unions in upholding violent white supremacy. We stand in full solidarity with those critiques.
“We are focused on the report’s stunning silence about demonstrable and dangerous anti-immigrant racism within immigration enforcement agencies- and their unions. Our commitment to our immigrant worker members and our unwavering commitment to the Labor Movement demand that we speak up about this report’s glaring shortcomings, which left uncontested, would only further divide us.
“Unions are fundamental to democracy, and empirically, they have been at the forefront of advances in racial and social justice. But in recent times, retrograde, racist, and white nationalist forces have corrupted some unions, distorted the very idea of workers’ rights, and contributed to moral panic within the United States about the presence of nonwhite immigrants. Specifically, some unions have been manipulated to empower rogue federal immigration law enforcement agencies within the Department of Homeland Security which, in turn, were used to bring the country to the brink of fascism. This hijacking of the Labor Movement has undermined workers’ rights, criminalized workers of color, divided the progressive movement, eroded the rule of law, and imperiled US democracy. In short, racism within immigration law enforcement agencies and their unions was a core feature of Trumpism.
“This historic juncture requires that labor leaders have an honest reckoning with the fact that some unions were used and distorted to contribute to Trump’s rise and reign, specifically with respect to anti-immigrant racism. The absence of even a basic acknowledgment about the problem of immigrant-bashing and racist xenophobia within some unions is not just lamentable, it is a cause for alarm.
“We call upon our brothers and sisters in the unions whose names were used on this report to do more to identify and eradicate anti-immigrant racism within their membership, and we pledge to support those efforts going forward. The days of letting racism divide workers must be behind us. The path forward must be one of unity, honesty, and mutual solidarity.”