Connecticut Leaders Call on Congress to Center Immigrant Workers in Historic Budget

Contact: Frank Soults, 32BJ SEIU,, 860-471-5692

Megan Fountain,, 203-479-2959

Advisory for: Thursday, August 26, 2021, New Haven City Hall

Connecticut Leaders Call on Congress to Center Immigrant Workers in Economic Recovery

Senator Blumenthal to rally with homecare workers, janitors, and farmworkers to support a historic budget that includes citizenship for millions of essential workers and an investment in good jobs

What:  Just Recovery for Immigrant Workers Press Conference

When: Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 10:30 am

Where: New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St, New Haven, CT 06510

WHO: Connecticut Domestic Worker Justice Campaign, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union), District 1199 SEIU (New England Health Care Employees Union), Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), Connecticut TPS Committee, CT Shoreline Indivisible, New Sanctuary CT, CT Workers Center, Comunidades Sin Fronteras, Black and Brown United in Action


  • Senator Richard Blumenthal
  • Mayor Justin Elicker
  • State Representative Robyn Porter, Co-Chair of Labor Committee
  • State Senator Julie Kushner, Co-Chair of Labor Committee
  • Nelson Pinos of New Haven, who recently left the church sanctuary where he took refuge to avoid a deportation order
  • Cynthia Johnson of New Haven, homecare worker and member of District 1199 SEIU
  • Besly Paul, McDonald’s worker and Haitian immigrant
  • Adela Camacho of West Haven, agricultural worker and member of ULA

New Haven, CT — At 10:30 AM on Thursday, August 26, union and community groups will host a press conference with Senator Richard Blumenthal to demand a national economic recovery that centers around our nation’s most vulnerable and essential workers, including a pathway to citizenship for those without status. The COVID-19 pandemic made visible how millions of workers — a majority of whom are women, immigrants, and workers of color — are essential parts of our economy, yet about five million lack citizenship rights and the ability to organize for better working conditions, and millions more lack living wages and safe workplaces.  

President Biden’s economic recovery plan, Build Back Better, proposes a huge investment in building a new economy with good jobs for working families. On August 24, the House of Representatives approved the Senate’s budget blueprint, including a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers, farmworkers, and immigrants in limbo, including those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Citizenship for millions is an investment in the American economy and will boost wages, reduce deficits, and accelerate GDP growth.

To create good jobs for all working families, Congress must include in the final budget reconciliation package an investment in good jobs, including support for care workers and a path to citizenship for all essential workers. Congress must also pass the PRO Act, strengthen the rights of workers to organize, and create whistleblower protections for undocumented immigrants who speak out about labor abuses. The blueprint will now be fleshed out for final passage, and speakers will encourage full and speedy Congressional ratification for a plan that would benefit a wide array of essential workers. 

“As a Personal Care Attendant who has worked caring for others for three decades, I know that when PCAs thrive, the people we care for thrive,” said Cynthia Johnson, a member of District 1199 SEIU of New Haven. “We need every elected official in this country, from the White House to Hartford, to take action NOW to recognize, respect, and professionalize this job and those who have the heart to do it. The time is now to approve a historic budget that invests in homecare services and pass the Better Care Better Jobs Bill.” 

“Congress has a historic opportunity to level the ‘paying’ field by investing in homecare jobs,” said State Representative Robyn Porter of New Haven. “The workers who care for our growing elderly population, who are mostly women, majority non-white, deserve equity in pay, benefits and worker protections. It’s time to put our money where our mouths are, which means taking care of those who take such good care of our most vulnerable populations.”

“I am forever grateful to have Temporary Protected Status, but much like COVID-19 has limited all of us for a year and a half, so my status has limited my ability to see family and plan for the future for a quarter century,” said Fausto Canelas, a Bridgeport office cleaner and 32BJ member originally from Honduras. “Immigrants like me risked our lives throughout the pandemic, performing essential jobs so that all Americans could live as normally as possible; we are asking Congress to honor our sacrifice by opening a path to citizenship so we can live normally, too.”

The press conference, which will take place on the steps of New Haven City Hall, will serve as an opportunity for policymakers to hear directly from members of their communities who would benefit from the Build Back Better Plan and would thus contribute to a stronger economic recovery. 


National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of nannies, house cleaners, and care workers in the United States. NDWA has four affiliate organizations in Connecticut who organize the Connecticut Domestic Workers Justice Campaign: Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA) in New Haven; CT Worker Center in Bridgeport; Comunidades Sin Fronteras in Norwalk; and Naugatuck Valley Project in Waterbury. Learn more at

32BJ SEIU is the largest building service workers union in the country, with more than 175,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 5,000 members in Connecticut.

District 1199ne SEIU is the largest organization of healthcare workers in the Northeast, with more than 20,000 workers in hospitals, nursing homes, home care and other health settings.