Wednesday, June 2, 2010

[NY Immigration Reform Update]

56 Arrested in 3rd and Largest Round of Civil Disobedience for Immigration Reform

Thanks to all who joined the 3rd Civil Disobedience Action in front of 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan. Yesterday, 56 labor, community, faith and elected leaders were arrested in an act of civil disobedience to call on President Obama and Congress to enact just, humane and comprehensive immigration reform, stop the deportations, and stop SB1070. We thank the courageous participants and supporters who came out yesterday!

Below is yesterday’s press release, press coverage highlights, and the list of 56 CD participants. More details coming very soon re: next steps.

The New York Immigration Coalition

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News Release



109 arrests during three weeks of civil disobedience actions

June 1, 2010, New York City. Fifty-six New Yorkers were arrested in front of 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan today, the third in a series of civil disobedience actions in New York aimed at highlighting the growing human tragedy and unsustainable moral crisis caused by a broken U.S. immigration system badly in need of reform.

The participants, which included local clergy, labor, elected, and community leaders, linked arms and stepped into the middle of Broadway, bringing traffic in front of the federal building to a standstill as they sang the traditional protest hymn, “We Shall Overcome.” Today’s arrests raised the total number of New Yorkers arrested for civil disobedience over the past three weeks to 109. Three elected officials were arrested today: City Council Members Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, and Brad Lander.

The tone of today’s event was decidedly more critical of the Obama administration than in the past, as participants denounced President Obama’s announcement last week that he will send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and call for $500 million for increased enforcement measures. Speakers urged the President and Congress to move away from these tried-and-failed enforcement tactics and instead take legislative action to make just and humane immigration reform a reality this year. Speakers called on the Obama administration to place a moratorium on deportations and intervene to stop Arizona’s SB1070 law.

With 109 arrests, New York is playing a lead role in a growing national movement of nonviolent civil disobedience for immigration reform. Recent civil disobedience actions also have taken place in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Tucson, Detroit, San Francisco, and Seattle. Participants said their actions carry on the great tradition of peaceful non-violent resistance in the face of grave injustice, as practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The series of civil disobedience actions began on May 17th, when 16 New Yorkers were arrested. The following week, 37 were arrested in a similar action. Several elected officials were arrested in those actions: City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane D. Williams, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, and State Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat.

The message of today’s event was carried on the protesters signs: “Immigration Reform NOW!” “Stop Tearing Families Apart!” “Obama: We Voted for Change, Not This!” Attendees noted the incredible diversity of the participants, and that the coming-together of people from all walks of life for civil disobedience is something that has not been seen since the protests around the killing by police of Amadou Diallo ten years ago.

The recent civil disobedience actions mark an escalation in tactics by reform advocates nationwide. They follow a March 21st rally in the nation’s capital that drew over 200,000, and May 1st rallies that turned out hundreds of thousands across the nation. Despite these massive showings, leaders in Washington still have failed to produce reform legislation, prolonging the moral and humanitarian crisis facing our nation over its broken immigration system.

* * * * *

Participants released the following joint statement concerning today’s civil disobedience action:

“Being conscientiously of opinion that our current immigration laws betray our core principles of democracy, inclusiveness and justice; that they allow for Arizona’s immoral and unconstitutional SB1070; and that their continued enforcement through detention and deportation separates families and destroys communities; we are compelled to escalate our call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the face of inaction from our nation’s elected representatives.

“Today we stand in solidarity with the millions who contribute to our communities and economy while being denied full access to them. Our act of civil disobedience is performed with the belief that our laws can—and should—be better, and that our nation’s leaders cannot stand on the sidelines as our society’s core values are betrayed by a broken and immoral immigration system.

“We invite the enforcement of the law upon ourselves in the hope that our arrest today will be the catalyst for principled leadership from the President and Congress and for meaningful Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will put an end to the arrests and other mistreatments faced by our friends, families, congregations, and communities.”

—Unity Statement Signed by Those Arrested

  1. City Council Member Daniel Dromm
  2. City Council Member Julissa Ferreras
  3. City Council Member Brad Lander
  4. Roberto Ramirez, President, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Former Member of NYS Assembly
  5. Guillermo Linares, Former Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Former City Council Member
  6. Edison Severino, Business Manager, LIUNA Local 78
  7. Minerva Solla, Vice President, SEIU 1199
  8. Victor Rivera, Vice President, SEIU 1199
  9. Michael Myerson, Director of Communications, SEIU 1199
  10. Florence Johnson, SEIU 1199
  11. Johnnie Patterson, SEIU 32BJ
  12. Andrew Friedman, SEIU 32BJ
  13. Alvin Carter, SEIU 32BJ
  14. Melissa Amernick, SEIU 32BJ
  15. Anne Lessy, SEIU 32BJ
  16. Gabriel Thompson, SEIU 32BJ
  17. Allison Hirsh, SEIU 32BJ
  18. Steven Choi, Executive Director, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  19. Jennifer Kim, Vice President, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  20. Liz Chong Eun Rhee, Worker Associate, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  21. Jenna Ness, Development Associate, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  22. James Hong, Civic Participation Outreach Coordinator, MinKwon Center for Community Action
  23. Grace Meng, Steering Committee Member, Korean Americans for Political Advancement
  24. Kris Pak, Queens Community House & Korean Americans for Political Advancement
  25. Bakary Tandia, African Services Committee and Steering Committee Member, NYS Immigration Reform Campaign
  26. Jonathan Tasini, Economic Future Group
  27. Yasmine Farhang, Raha Iranian Women’s Collective
  28. Larry Moskowitz, Coordinator, Left Labor Project
  29. Daniel Huang, Chinese Progressive Association
  30. Juan Villar, High School Principal, Gregorio Luperon High School
  31. Rev. Susan Karlsen, Unitarian Universalist Minister, Unitarian Church of Staten Island
  32. Joe Thomasberger, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ New Sanctuary Committee
  33. Mariana R. Gaston, Member of Council of Supervisors and Administrators, AFL-CIO
  34. Emmanuel Caicedo, Organizer, Working Families
  35. Rachel Soltis, New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City
  36. Yul-san Liem, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
  37. Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, Community Leader, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition
  38. Dennis Chin, Center for Community Change
  39. Felton Davis, Catholic Worker
  40. Eli Kent, Director of Organizing, LIUNA Local 78
  41. Tania Salinas, LIUNA Local 78
  42. Abraham Hernandez, LIUNA Local 78
  43. Krzysztof Walek, LIUNA Local 78
  44. Sebastion Sokolowski, LIUNA Local 78
  45. Fabio Morales, LIUNA Local 78
  46. Jorge Roldan, LIUNA Local 78
  47. Manuel Ortiz, LIUNA Local 78
  48. Bob Greenberg, Member, United Federation of Teachers
  49. Hector Ruiz, United Federation of Teachers
  50. Nicholas Cruz, United Federation of Teachers
  51. David Kazanski, United Federation of Teachers
  52. Jose Vargas, United Federation of Teachers
  53. Margaret Burrelli, United Federation of Teachers
  54. Jonathan Moore
  55. Umberto Citrone
  56. Juan Antigua

The New York actions were spearheaded by Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH) in partnership with the New York Immigration Coalition, SEIU 1199, SEIU 32BJ, New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, The Black Institute, New York Communities for Change, New York State Immigration Reform Campaign, Families for Freedom, New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform, Art for Change, Hudson Valley Community Coalition, LIUNA Local 79, LIUNA Local 78, MinKwon Center for Community Action, New York Faith and Justice, New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, United Federation of Teachers and many supporting organizations.

# # #

Frances Liu

New York State Director, Reform Immigration for America Campaign
Immigration Advocacy Field Coordinator, The New York Immigration Coalition

137-139 W. 25th Street, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10001

Tel: 212-627-2227 x246

Fax: 212-627-9314


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