Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, a Democratic candidate for US Congress, Pa. 15, announced today that the Lehigh Valley Building Trades Council voted unanimously to endorse his candidacy at their recent meeting.The Lehigh Valley Building Trades Council consists of ten member unions, including the Boilermakers Local 13, The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 5, Carpenters Local 167, Cement Masons & Plasters Local 592, Electricians Locals 102 and 375, Elevators Construction Local 84, Glaziers & Architectural Metal Workers Local 252, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 23, and the Ironworkers Local 420 and Operating Engineers.
The Council noted Morganelli's long relationship with labor. Morganelli has a long history with labor, growing up in a labor household. John's father was a member of the Operating Engineers Local #542, the Laborers Union , the Steelworkers, and Teamsters. His mother was a member of the ILGWU. Before becoming the District Attorney, John represented the Bethlehem Corporation Employees Association Union and injured workers as a private attorney. He is the only district attorney who has fought to enforce the Construction Misclassification Act. He also prosecuted employers who failed to maintain Workers Compensation for their employees.
In accepting the endorsement, District Attorney Morganelli said. "In Washington, I will make protecting the middle class, growing wages, and access to health care my priorities. I have spent my career as a Democratic elected official protecting the working man and woman, and I pledge to continue that as the next Congressman from the 15th Congressional District."
Today, I want to address the issue of what to do with the "dreamers" – individuals named after the Dream Act Bill who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents when they were young children. There are now approximately 800,000 individuals who are in the United States without legal status through no fault of their own. DACA, - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is now being debated in Washington. In order to be eligible for DACA, an individual cannot have a felony or a serious misdemeanor conviction. Today, I am writing a letter to President Trump encouraging him to help solve this issue by agreeing to sign a DACA bill without conditions — a stand-alone bill. The fact is that it is just plain wrong to penalize hundreds of thousands of folks who did nothing wrong. These are not people who knowingly violated our laws by illegally entering the country. These are not people who have criminal records. Rather, they are individuals who entered the country through no fault of their own. They were too young to make their own decisions. They have grown up in the United States of America and know no other country. The majority of them are employed. Quite frankly, it would be wrong to return these individuals to their country of origin, a place they have never known. Their status is completely different, and they should not be treated the same as those individuals who on their own intentionally made a decision to run across the border in violation of our law and thereafter committed criminal acts in the United States.
Like all agencies, ICE has limited resources. At this time we still have hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who entered knowingly, on their own, and who came here to engage in criminal acts not productive work. ICE resources should first be focused on removing dangerous foreign criminals. DACA eligible individuals are not in that class. Further, the estimated number of 800,000 individuals that would be eligible represents about 1% of our overall population. Giving some legal status to them without conditions would have no negative impact. To the contrary, it would be the right thing to do. The President is right to want a secure border. But he is wrong in using these innocent dreamers as hostages and human pawns in a chess match with the Democrats. America must be a secure country. But we also must continue to be a compassionate country. It is my hope that President Trump and members of Congress will be able to resolve this matter.
Morganelli joins the race better known than other Democrats in the field. His moderate profile appears to fit the 15th District, increasing Democrats’ chances of flipping it from the GOP, according to some Democrats and outside analysts.