Union Launches Program to Help Illegal Immigrants Remain in the United States

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) recently held workshops to teach undocumented immigrants working in meatpacking and food processing plants how to apply for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program announced by President Obama in November 2014. DAPA enables eligible undocumented immigrants to apply to the Department of Homeland Security to remain in the U.S. temporarily without risk of deportation. Approved immigrants can work legally in the U.S. for three years.

The UFCW reported that it did not know how many of its 1.3 million members were undocumented workers. It set a goal of giving 100,000 union members information about DAPA and making sure “as many members as possible receive direct services from our union.”

The DAPA program and DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which was first announced in 2012, were halted when a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing both programs from taking effect. The SEIU has stated that it believes that these programs provide the opportunity to make their union movement stronger and anticipates there are thousands of illegal immigrant employees, including food-processing workers, constructions workers, and service industry employees who will need these programs.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the SEIU knows a significant portion of its membership is illegally in the U.S. and is fighting to prevent the deportation of its members and their dues?

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.

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