A project of the Center for Community Change

Immigrant Rights

Immigrant Rights Groups, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Demand that Border Patrol Agents Stop Harassing and Intimidating Families

For Immediate Release: Sunday, March 19, 2017
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org (202) 339-9331

Hundreds Plan to Rally at Border Patrol Office in DC on Tuesday, March 21st

(WASHINGTON)—Members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Sen. Bernie Sanders, and immigrant families demand that border patrol agents stop harassing and intimidating families and U.S. citizens at the southern and northern border crossings.

“There have been many media reports of agents taking away cell phones of immigrant families and U.S. citizens with no rightful reasons and harassing families,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “The office of Customs and Border Patrol and DHS Secretary Kelly must step up and be held accountable for these egregious actions.”

To protest these actions, hundreds of people from more than 25 states will rally in front of the CBP office in Washington, DC.

Here are details of the event:
 
Time: 11:30a ET to 12:30p ET
Location: 14th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW
Speakers:  

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT
  • Immigrant families adversely affected by Trump’s policies from California and Arkansas
  • FIRM leaders from California, New York and Arizona

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The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is the nations largest immigrant-rights coalition, with grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level. For more information, go to www.fairimmigration.org or follow us on Twitter @Re4mImmigration.

 

Joyous Families Celebrate Historic Breakthrough on Immigration

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 20, 2014
Contact:
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org 202.339.9331
Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org 202.339.9377

Joyous Families Celebrate Historic Breakthrough on Immigration
Years of Courage and Persistence Pay Off in Huge Step Forward on Immigration

(WASHINGTON)—Today, millions of immigrant families are celebrating the historic breakthrough on immigration that provides them with the opportunity to remain in the U.S. and continue to contribute to America. The new deferred action program for parents, crucial updates to the existing DACA program for DREAMers and a series of other administrative and enforcement reforms to update our outdated immigration system will provide major relief to immigrant families.

“President Obama did not win or lose and the GOP did not win or lose today,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “This is a major victory for the immigrant rights movement in America. This victory belongs to the millions of immigrants who stood up and were unafraid.”

“This victory was more than a decade in the making and it shows that America does give way to the voices of real people,” Matos added. “Women won the right to vote, the labor movement built the middle class, people standing up for civil rights ended Jim Crow, LGBT people are ending marriage discrimination as we speak. And today, the immigrant rights movement led by families took a huge step in the fight for immigration reform and toward citizenship.”

“The President’s decision will transform the lives of millions of people who came to this country in search of a better life. This year, families will sit down at the Thanksgiving table with less fear that a broken immigration system will tear them apart.”

Matos noted the administrative reforms announced by President Obama will not cover all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“The struggle is not over until everyone has freedom from fear of detention, deportation and family separation,” Matos said. “We will not stop fighting until everyone has a path to citizenship.”

She also noted that the enforcement reforms announced by the Administration could offer protection to many of the people not covered by deferred action – if they are actually implemented properly by DHS.

“We are committed to keep fighting to ensure that DHS reins in ICE and CBP, agencies that routinely ignore their own stated enforcement priorities,” Matos said.

She also noted that the action announced today is temporary and that we need comprehensive immigration reform as a permanent fix.

“To those who would try to take this victory away and tell immigrant families ‘you are not welcome,’ we say you are on the wrong side of history,” Matos said. “Like all those who have stood against the arc of justice, you will be judged harshly. We will not forget. The immigrant rights movement is committed to full scale mobilization, not only to protect this historic step, but to parlay it into full inclusion and citizenship for all families.”

“This victory belongs to immigrants who stood up and said ‘I am a part of America and I am not afraid,’” Matos said.

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Capitol Police Yell at Small Children, Threaten Arrest

This week, kids from around the country descended on Washington to demand action on immigration reform. This morning, kids and their parents visited the offices of House Republicans to try to meet with them, tell their stories of family separation, and ask for their support. Many of the kids were snubbed, ignored, turned away, and even escorted out by Capitol Police, but no group was disrespected more than the group of children that attempted to visit Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office.

Kids came to the office bearing homemade Christmas cards, singing, “We pray for Speaker Boehner, we pray for Speaker Boehner, we pray for Speaker Boehner, bring a vote for reform.” Two Capitol police officers break into the group, yelling, “This is getting old real fast. This is a place of business and we do not tolerate singing in the hallway, comprende?”

The officer’s harsh words were met with terrified stares from the small children, which included six-year-old Gabriel Arista of North Carolina, and seven-year-old Michelle Catano of California. Organizers comfort and reassure the children, and apologize to the officers, telling them, “We’re going to pray quietly; we’re not going to sing.”

The officer responds by telling her again that “this is getting old real fast,” and threatens to “start making arrests.”

After the encounter, Gabriel, the seven-year-old boy in the “Keeping My Family Together” t-shirt, said to organizer Mehrdad Azemun, “We did not see that man’s good side today.”

Watch the full encounter here:

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