Union activist says immigrants are his brothers and sisters

President Obama acted boldly last night, using executive authority to help keep immigrant families together, stop fear in families of being split apart and to create a humane and rational immigration system.

President Obama’s action does not fix all the problems.  But it will temporarily make life for five million families safer, better and happier.  And that is a big thing and a righteous thing.

For those of us who are native born workers, immigrant workers are neither our enemy nor our problem.

Immigrant workers are not sucking up all the wealth in this country.  They are not busting our unions.  They are not keeping wages at poverty levels.  They are not the ones refusing to invest in the future of America.  Immigrants are not those who refuse to raise the minimum wage.  Immigrants have not off-shored and outsourced our jobs.  Immigrants are our fellow Americans who love their families and work hard every day.

Those of us who are native born and work for a living and get a pay check from someone else have a real present threat in the 1 percent, the plutocrats who want to run our country, the oligarchs, the radical rightwing.

Any man or woman who comes to America to feed the kids, work hard, sacrifice for a better life for their family is my brother and my sister.

The radical rightwing are going nuts. Republicans, do you really want to destroy the quality of life and hope for five million people?  They are attacking the president.  They will try to sue the president.  They will try to impeach the President.  They will threaten the President and all the rest of us. They will stomp their feet, hold their breath, scream and holler like the spoiled, privileged brats they are.  They will say the President can’t do this without knowing American history and the fact that President Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation by executive action.  The radical rightwing will use this action to distract us from the continued impoverishment of American workers and the destruction of the middle class.

Thanks for acting boldly President Obama.  Now let’s take on the Wall St and the One Percent, the destruction of the middle class and the future of the kids of all of us.

Stewart Acuff is a life-long union organizer and trade union leader. For many years he was the special assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO. Currently he is organizing director of the National Union of Healtcare Employees, 1199 in Philadelphia.

Photo: Marta Granillo, right, crying for her husband, relatives and friends who were arrested yesterday in an immigration raid at a plant in Greeley, Colo.  |  Ahmad Terry/AP & The Rocky Mountain News


Stewart Acuff
Stewart Acuff

Stewart Acuff is Organizing Director of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees 1199 in Philadelphia.