Thousands rally and march to demand full legalization and declare "round two" in response to a new wave of Sensenbrenner-backed attacks.
Today, the New York metropolitan-area immigrants rights movement presented its platform of demands to the nation from Union Square, and declared Round Two of its response to lawmakers failure to propose and pass a full, fair, and humane legalization bill. Marching to Times Square, more than two thousand protesters declared, No Deal! No Half-Steps, No Half-Measures! Full Legalization Now! and demanded an immediate end to detentions and deportations.
Earlier this week, New York United for Immigrant Rights (NYUIR)a coalition of more than 75 immigrant and human rights organizations in the New York metro areacalled on all communities to denounce the new wave of Sensenbrenner-backed attacks on immigrants. In September, the House passed a series of enforcement-only bills that authorized the construction of a redoubtable $6 billion border fence, and proposed to misuse state and local police to enforce civil immigration laws and shield the government from accountability for misdeeds or misapplication of immigration law, among other measures.
Local residents from Latino, Asian, Caribbean, African, Arab, labor, religious, civil rights, and human rights communities marched to Times Square, carrying a Border Wall of Remembrance and Resistance to commemorate the people who are suffering under current immigration laws, and a series of funeral coffins signifying the death threat that the Border Wall, Detentions, Deportations, and other anti-immigrant policies pose to our human rights and democracy.
Said Joel Magallan, Executive Director of Asociacin Tepeyac, "It is historic that major organizations in the New York area have come together and committed to presenting together the right proposal to the new Congressfair and full immigration reform that includes all immigrants who are living in the United States. We hope that other churches, unions, community organizations, elected officials, and others will involved to protect workers who are fighting for this immigration reform."
"Today we broke the silence around deportation, said Aarti Shahani, Co-Director of Families for Freedom. Now, no excuses. Lawmakers must push immigration laws that protect and consider our American-born children.
"We are marching today to send a message to those in Congress and across the country that we need full immigrant rights, we deserve full immigrant rights, and that the immigrant rights movement is not over; it is just beginning," said Hannah Weinstock, Community Organizer with the Forest Hills Community House.
"This march signifies an important step in the immigrant rights movement, said Ariella Ghanooni, Co-Coordinator of the No One Is Illegal [NOISI] Coalition. We must let Congress know that we defeated the Sensenbrenner bill and will not tolerate it to be passed piecemeal as the Secure Fence Act, the Military Commission Act, or any other law that punishes immigrants and grants them anything short of full and equal rights in this society."
Rishi Singh, an immigrant student and member of DRUMDesis Rising Up and Moving, said, "We marched by the millions earlier this year to demand legalization for all but the governments' response was one of increased enforcement and militarization. We refuse to be ignored and we will continue to expose the governments' attack on our civil and human rights and not stop until our demands are met."
Rally speakers included:
Rhadames Perez, Director, Accion Comunitaria Aurora
Juan Carlos Ruiz, Coordinator, Asociacion Tepeyac
Monique Dols, Student Activist, Columbia University
Joshua James, N.J. resident and 8-year-old citizen son of deportee
City Council Member John Liu
City Council Member Charles Barron
Berna Ellorin, Staff Member, Philippine Forum
Helena Wong, Organizer, CAAAV-Organizing Asian Communities
At Union Square, NYUIR formally presented its Platform of Demands, endorsed by member groups following a month-long consultative process this fall:
1. Legalization Now. No half measures, no half-statuses, no guestworkers. Create more opportunities for current and future immigrants to enter and stay. Support fair policies that allow people to live in peace in their home countries.
2. Keep Families Together. Stop detaining and deporting the parents of US citizens, US veterans, and our community members. Clear immigration backlogs. Pass laws that acknowledge and protect ALL families as we define them.
3. Due Process and Civil Rights for All. End all detentions and deportations. Repeal mandatory detention and deportation. Give immigrants a fair day in court, in front of fair judges, with fair laws.
4. Equal Rights for All Workers. Repeal employer sanctions that lower wages for immigrants and low-income workers by making work illegal. Stop hurting workers, street vendors, and small, immigrant businesses through raids, penalties and restrictions on licensing. Grant equal pay for equal work and stop dividing citizen and immigrant workers by selling their work to the lowest bidder.
5. Defend Minority Voters Right to Vote. Stop all forms of disenfranchisement. Laws requiring birth certificates and proof of citizenship create unfair barriers to voting for all of our communities. Create fair and accessible laws for all of our communities to vote.
6. No More Discriminatory Immigration Policies. Stop all forms of selective enforcement. Stop targeting Black, LGBT, Muslim and HIV+ immigrants. Protect all of our civil rights.
7. Stop Profiting from Immigrants Suffering. Stop abusing and exploiting immigrant and citizen workers. Stop the profiteering from jails and detention centers.
8. Create Community Safety. Stop creating a climate of terror and fear by using local and state officials to enforce immigration laws in schools, the DMV, Department of Corrections, etc.
9. No More Deaths at the Border. No walls, No killing, No abusing families crossing the border or starving families once they cross.
10. Everyone Must Take a Stand. No more silence. Our religious leaders, our teachers, our neighbors, our unions must all stand up and fight with us. Make NYC a sanctuary for immigrants.
Today, the immigrant rights movement in New York declared Round Two of our communities response to Congress failure to propose and pass a full, fair, and humane legalization bill.
New York United for Immigrant Rights is composed of more than 75 organizations in the New York metropolitan area.