The following statement may be attributed to Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU:
“We are horrified, angered and deeply saddened by the death of the 7-year-old girl from Guatemala in the custody of Border Patrol announced last night. The Border Patrol needs to account for the 8-hour delay between apprehension of the girl and her father and the administration of medical care, and for the weeklong delay in releasing news of this tragic incident. As the ACLU noted, the child’s death offers more evidence that a culture of cruelty has grown at the Border Patrol, highlighting the urgency of stopping the administration’s request for billions of more dollars in enforcement funding. Instead, we need an immediate inquiry into this tragedy, and the adoption of reforms to prevent any future harm to migrants.
“As one of the largest unions in the United States representing immigrant workers, we feel that this girl’s tragic death is one more shocking example of the mistreatment of immigrants that the Trump administration has fostered with its brutal and racist nativism over the past two years. The outcome of the midterm elections proved that the majority of Americans reject the administration’s anti-immigrant fervor. Our members stand with all those who protest the mistreatment of defenseless migrants, the inhumane restrictions on asylum procedures, the separation of children from their parents, the attempts to restrict legal immigration, the unnecessary and harmful push for billions of dollars for a border wall, and the administration’s myriad other forms of anti-immigrant cruelty. We speak up for this nameless 7-year-old girl, and for the millions upon millions who daily suffer from the administration’s assault on the foreign-born.”
With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.