Those were some of the signs that protesters held up in front of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen’s office in Morristown on Wednesday demanding a vote on immigration reform.
“We have 10,000 members, most whom are immigrants,” said Kevin Brown, vice president and New Jersey Director for 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents thousands of immigrant workers in the Garden State.
“That’s why we believe in immigration reform. It’s important for all congressional delegates to support this.”
Immigrants contribute a good chuck to New Jersey’s economy because the state’s labor force is 27.5 percent foreign-born, according to 32BJ’s press release.
“We want a law that has … a way to legalize those who are here who don’t have legal status and a solution that has a pathway to citizenship,” said Brown. “I think this is incredibly important, it contributes to our economy.”
The union represents office cleaners who maintain commercial buildings throughout the Garden State. 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.
“My grandparents are immigrants,” said Brown. “They came over from Russia in the early part of the last century. They believed deeply in the American dream. The immigrants in New Jersey also believe in that American dream.”
The union also protested at Congressman Leonard Lance’s office on Wednesday and there will be a protest on Thursday at the office of Congressman Chris Smith.
“There’s also been a prayer vigil going on at Frank LoBiando office in southern New Jersey for several months,” said Brown.