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New York Teamsters local joins sanctuary movement

Richard Monje  |  Issue: April | May 2018
Teamsters declared itself a sanctuary union

On February 12, 2018, the Teamsters declared itself a “sanctuary union.” This after a member from Guatemala was deported.


In every corner of the United States, there are horror stories emerging as Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) is captured ripping mothers and fathers from their children. They are terrorizing communities and workplaces as raids are planned and implemented without consideration for families or minors that are left at times unattended.

Cities, counties and states have developed defenses for these families and communities that can be passed and implemented. This “sanctuary movement” continues to grow and strengthen. Whole communities are shocked at the insensitive cruelty in the application of immigration laws to the letter. As the sanctuary movement begins with the formal defense of immigrants, there is a new morality and values that challenges the United States to ask itself, “Who are we?” “What will we become?”

As politics and electoral issues are debated, it is encouraging to see more and more communities and organizations joining the sanctuary movement and helping to establish this assertion of a past morality and values. They are also part of the assertion of a “new politics” that begins with understanding the worldwide crisis of migration and the necessity of immigration as part of a survival movement.

In July of 2011 the Teamsters Joint Council 16 passed a resolution in favor of Immigration Reform including a pathway to citizenship and resolving the Dreamer issue. Teamsters Joint Council 16 represents 120,000 workers in metro New York City, the Hudson Valley and Puerto Rico.

On February 12, 2018, the Teamsters declared itself a “sanctuary union.” This after a member from Guatemala who was on routine assignment was arrested and deported.

The Teamsters held discussions on how to respond when “officials” come to their workplaces and included training for members and leaders.

This is a very important step. Organizations like unions are moving from general declarations of support to the practical defense of their members, families and communities. We encourage all organizations and unions to support these efforts from self-interest to collective interest in all that we are as a country.

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