Supporters of the rally included the New York Immigration Coalition, the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Manhattan Legal Services, the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Catholic Charities New York, and Uptown Progressive Action, united to show Uptown Manhattan’s support for undocumented community members. At the rally, DREAMers spoke of their struggles, highlighting the promise of the American Dream while also pledging fierce resistance to the Trump administration’s attempts to separate them from their families and homeland.
The Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights announced an emergency “Know Your Rights” town hall to be held Monday, September 11, 2017, at Fort Washington Collegiate Church, 729 W 181st St, New York, NY 10033. NMCIR, together with Senator Alcántara and the Hispanic Federation, also announced an Immigration Eligibility Screening on September 23 at M.S. 366 Washington Heights Academy, 202 Sherman Avenue, New York, NY 10034.
This screening, which will be free and first-come, first-serve, will provide one-on-one consultations with immigration lawyers to undocumented people seeking a path to legal status. Organizations and elected officials reassured Uptown undocumented people that they could come to them for help, and urged participants to become involved in the Uptown Immigrant Defense Coalition, which seeks to use all available methods to protect and serve undocumented people who fear the cruel and arbitrary immigration policies of the federal government.
State Senator Marisol Alcántara (D-Manhattan), said: “As an immigrant, I cannot comprehend what possible threat our DREAMers could pose, and I will fight for their right to stay in this country. This rally is to show that the Uptown Manhattan community is united behind our undocumented community members. We will not allow the Trump administration to intimidate us, and will organize to protect our communities and change this policy. Not only DACA recipients, but also other undocumented people deserve a chance to become citizens of this great nation. When waves of European immigrants came to these shores, fleeing violence, political unrest, and famine, they were welcomed. There is no reason we should not also welcome today’s ‘huddled masses, yearning to breathe free’.”
Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) said: “President Trump’s decision to phase out the DACA program in six months destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of patriotic young people, and I am outraged,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “The American people overwhelmingly oppose deporting DREAMers, and Trump’s decision to undercut the program betrays the fundamental values of the American Dream. The Trump Administration’s despicable decision to begin deporting DREAMers in six months demands an immediate response from the Republican Congress, and I vow to continue my push to urge Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican House leadership to bring the DREAM Act to the House floor for a vote immediately. As public servants, we each have a role and responsibility to protect these young men and women from the senseless cruelty of deportation – as America is the only home that many of these young people have ever known.”
Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa said: “Notwithstanding the extreme anti-immigrant policies coming from Washington, the Northern Manhattan community is united in a coalition to fight back and ask congress for the reinstatement of DACA and passage of The Dream Act. Over 800,000 students are in fear of being deported after being granted the opportunity to pursue a career in the United States. It is unconscionable to turn our backs on immigrants who have been raised here and are in pursuit of their career paths. They have and will continue to add to the economic fabric of this nation.” Said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa. “In an era of globalization, we have the moral responsibility as a nation to maximize our assets through education to remain competitive by investing in our young generation regardless of their background. We will continue to advocate, protest, and fight back until DACA recipients and our DREAMERs are protected.”
“From one day to the next, our dream has turned into a nightmare,” said Feliz, DACA Recipient and Youth Leader of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “We fought for DACA before it existed, and we will continue to fight so that DREAMers and our family can state in the only country we call home.”
“Donald Trump‘s decision to end DACA means that September 5th, 2017 will be remembered as a dark day in our nation’s history,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “America will not be safer or richer by depriving nearly one million young people of their liberty, tearing away 700,000 workers from our labor force or robbing the U.S. economy of $460 billion in GDP. This is a senseless and self-defeating act which flies in the face of the principles that truly make America great: opportunity and justice for all.”
“We have 174 days to organize and demand that Congress pass a clean Dream Act that not only provides a permanent path to stay for 800,000 DACAmented youth but also provides a permanent path for the 11 million undocumented mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers that live and work among us,” said Angela Fernandez, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
Peggy Earisman, Executive Director of Manhattan Legal Services, said:
“The end of DACA is a tragic development for recipients and devastating to our country. We are honored to stand with courageous elected officials and uptown community colleagues to defend the rights of immigrant New Yorkers.”
Maria Lizardo, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation said : New York City’s dreamers have contributed enormously to our cultural and economic growth. They are resilient youth who will continue to persevere over what can sometimes seem like insurmountable odds. NMIC stands firmly behind our DACA youth and will use every available resource to support our community in this time.
Luz Tavarez, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York, said: “We deeply regret the President’s decision to rescind the DACA program and initiate steps to end the program without any replacement. Catholic Charities remains steadfast in our solidarity with the 800,000 “Dreamers,” who face even more uncertainty and threat. We recognize the six month wind down period provides an imperative for us to act quickly. We urgently call upon the President to support and Congress to promptly pass legislation that will protect and provide opportunities for these “Dreamers.” We will work with any and all to achieve this goal.“
Georgina Sanchez, with Uptown Progressive Action, said: We represent Uptown Progressive Action, a progressive grassroots organization in Washington Heights and Inwood. Uptown Progressive Action stands in solidarity with DACA recipients and with all of our neighbors who are undocumented, and we are committed to helping to protect vulnerable members of our community in any way we can. We are honored to live in a city and a community in which people from all backgrounds care for each other, and we express our gratitude to everyone here who shares these values. Thank you.”
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