Yesterday, hundreds of immigrants and supporters gathered inside a church in Bushwick to rally for the passage of the DREAM Act and other policies which will keep immigrant families united and stem the tide of deportations. Melissa emceed the event, and was joined by a number of speakers, including Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who came in from Chicago for the event and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.
The event focused on several important policy reforms to our immigration enforcement system, at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students who have lived in the country for five years or longer, have graduated high school and complete two years of college or military service. The DREAM Act is expected to come to the floor in the Congress in the coming weeks.
Speaker Christine Quinn also joined the event to reaffirm her commitment to restricting the City’s collaboration with ICE at Rikers Island and other correctional facilities, sharing a letter that she, Melissa and other Council Members have sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on this matter.
Speakers also urged attendees to participate in the “Stroke of a Pen” campaign, which aims to collect thousands of letters from immigrant communities and allies calling on President Obama to place a moratorium on deportations. For each letter, the New York Immigration Coalition will send the President a pen, symbolizing his ability to enact a moratorium by signing an Executive Order, which does not require Congressional approval.
“This is the moment for the enactment of common sense and humane immigration policies at all levels of government,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Right here in New York City, our correctional facilities are serving as a pipeline to inhumane detention centers, and nationally we are separating more families than ever. Meanwhile, immigrant youth have courageously fought for the passage of the DREAM Act for a decade to no avail. As immigrant communities and allies made clear today, we are ready to hold accountable those leaders who were elected on pro-immigrant platforms, from Mayor Bloomberg to President Obama, as we await action on these critical reform measures.”
Click here to view a slideshow with additional photos from yesterday’s event.
All photos courtesy of the New York Immigration Coalition and the New York State Immigrant Action Fund.