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Trade unions rally in Philadelphia in solidarity with immigrants

THOUSANDS of trade unionists rallied in solidarity with immigrants this week in the US city of Philadelphia.

The #FreeTheChildren demonstration in Pennsylvania’s biggest city drew members of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Federation of Teachers, United Food & Commercial Workers, hospitality union Unite Here, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

The unions chose to stage the solidarity demo in Philadelphia because the city’s Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (Ice) office has arrested more non-criminal undocumented migrants than any other branch of the agency, which gained notoriety recently for separating families and caging children at the US border before being ordered to desist by a federal judge.

International Union of Painters & Allied Trades president Ken Rigmaiden said: “We will not let any child be terrorised — not by a bad contractor, not by an unethical company and not by an administration that turns its back on what the Liberty Bell stands for.”

Unite Here Local 274 organiser Brooke McGlade told a People’s World reporter she had “seen how [immigrants are] exploited” by bosses who would make them work “heavy and ever-changing schedules” with warnings to keep quiet or be deported by Ice.

Unite Here president D Taylor said US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy was “crap” and “immoral” and said Mr Trump should be jailed.

“Somebody in the federal government needs to pay the price and needs to go to jail for inflicting this pain and suffering on these families. In Pennsylvania, child abuse is a crime,” agreed Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.

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