Washington, DC – A strong coalition of member organizations representing hundreds of thousands of immigrant families across the country rallied in Washington, DC, clamoring for urgent progressive congressional action. At the foot of the Washington Monument, the groups spelled out “All of Us” as a visible reminder that any bill must protect the 11 million undocumented, who are facing economic and health crises and have been left out of all federal relief measures.
Immigrant community members shared their stories of being Dreamers, being excluded from TPS, and the personal impact of the the Muslim ban, which was enacted four years ago to the day. A Facebook Live recording of the speaking portion of the event is available at this link. B-roll is available at this link.
“Four years ago, thousands of New Yorkers stood with us at JFK airport to protest Trump’s cruel and racist Muslim Ban,” said Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, Interim Co-Executive Directors of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Even as we celebrate President Biden’s rescission of that infamous order, we know that a single action won’t wash away years of family separation, cruelty, and detention. To start, the Biden administration and Congress must immediately take up and pass the US Citizenship Act, which can fundamentally transform our immigration system and bolster the country’s economic growth. Washington must also act quickly to pass a COVID relief package that is inclusive of all the millions of essential immigrant workers who pay taxes and have kept their neighbors fed, safe, and healthy. This pandemic has made one thing crystal clear —we can only recover and prosper together. The NYIC is proud to join our voice in this national movement in demanding justice for all of our communities.”
“Our community understands the pain and sacrifice of escaping violence and danger in one country, only to be met with violence and inhumanity in another. One in which we hope to find safety and new beginnings for ourselves and our families. After almost two years in sanctuary, unable to leave the confines of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, I have lived through the sacrifice we all make for the promise of a better life in America, a country we see as our home, a country we love as our home – yet we are barred from a clear path to citizenship,” said Rosa Gutiérrez López, a leader of Faith in Action’s Congregation Action Network and LA RED campaign. “Five million undocumented workers make up America’s essential workforce. This group of immigrants has kept this country afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic. This group of immigrants deserves an immediate path to citizenship, without fear of deportation. This group of immigrants must be granted the opportunity to call this country home, with dignity.”
“If Trump taught us anything, it is that executive orders are only as good as the President that creates them: the chief executive after President Biden can just as quickly take away my DACA status as Trump did,” said Fatima Correas, CASA Member and DACA holder. “The only thing that will protect me – and the other 11 million who are at-risk right now – is for Congress to act immediately on a permanent legislative solution. The unity, strength, and freedom that will arise from immigration reform can only prevail if valiant leaders on both sides of the aisle emerge on the Hill and go to bat for us, just as we have for years for them.”
“Immigrants and refugees endured relentless attacks over the last four years. Those same immigrants have been at the front lines of the pandemic, feeding the country, taking care of our sick and providing essential services,” said Ana María Archila Co-Executive Director of The Center for Popular Democracy. “Now is the time to not only undo the harms of the past, but also welcome immigrants fully with a path to citizenship for all.”
Eliana Fernandez, DACA recipient and member of Make the Road New York, said “For the last four years we endured the onslaught by the Trump Administration—mothers like me went to bed afraid of being separated from our children. But now, as we look forward to a brighter future, we are making our voices heard louder than ever. We welcome the Biden administration’s first steps to protect DACA, end the Muslim Ban, and plan to provide citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants. And we will continue to organize to ensure that rebuild our immigration system and Congress delivers permanent protection for all undocumented people across the country.”
“There’s no honeymoon for this administration,” said Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of MPower Change. “Our opposition has not rested and we need to work fast and should not rest until we give relief and justice to millions of undocumented immigrants. While we celebrate the end of the Muslim and African Bans, it’s not lost on us that such a policy should never have existed in the first place. We will continue to be in solidarity with Muslim and African immigrants until they are reunited with their families and free from ICE prisons. We will be in solidarity with all undocumented people across the U.S. until they no longer have to live in fear of ICE raids, detentions, and deportations. We will not stop until all of us are safe. We owe our communities that much.”
Jein, an impacted immigrant from New Jersey, shared:
“No one should ever have to fear losing family or being deported from the land we call home. Too many families have been torn apart and separated. What we need is more than a promise – we need legislation that protects families and gives immigrants a chance to pursue happiness. We need legislation that empowers us and protects us from deportation. President Biden, I urge you. Make sure that our rights as immigrants are protected. Sending a bill to Congress is only the beginning. Show us real political courage and do everything in your power to sign a bill for citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.”