Immigrant Families Made Presence Felt at 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans: “We Deserve Dignity, Not Hate”

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 17, 2015Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas,, W: 202.339.9377, C: 305.968.7542 Donna De La Cruz,, 202.339.9331

FIRM and Other Immigrant Rights Groups Rallied in New Orleans Outside Hearing on Immigration to Denounce Litigation that Delays President Obama’s Relief Programs and Hurts Immigrant Families

NEW ORLEANS—Over 500 Leaders from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation's largest network of immigrant rights organizations, and other allies rallied outside the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana today to lift up the plight of immigrant families affected by the injunction that has blocked President Obama’s administrative relief programs.

FIRM and ally groups present included: the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), American Fraternity (Florida), Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Latinos en Axion (Missouri), Latin American Coalition (North Carolina), Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Texas Organizing Project (TOP), and were led by the New Orleans Workers’ Defense Project for Racial Justice.

“The judges came out today and saw a packed courtroom. They saw the new emerging United States,” said Saket Soni, Executive Director of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice and the National Guestworker Alliance. “They heard arguments about how we can make a bright new future possible for all. This is why DACA and DAPA must continue to be defended not only in the courts, but also in the streets.”

“This fight is not only for those who qualify,” said Brenda Castro from the Congress of Day Laborers. “It is for all who are left behind even from the programs announced by the President in November. We have to continue until everyone is included. Sigamos luchando! Not one more deportation!”

“We are here for our loved ones who are in limbo once again,” said Fernando Lopez also with Congress of Day Laborers. “It was our movement that resulted in the President’s action. And it will be our movement that will win in the end! This is about justice and dignity—no matter the status of a person in a community. They dignity of each person is equal and must be recognized.”

“This fight started many years ago, and it’s time for all of us to be together and organized like this,” said Martha Lugo from TIRRC. “Even the President recognized this country is a country of immigrants. Together we will win. We will have victory in the end because it is our right. Unidos lo podemos lograr. Juntos lo haremos mejor.

“The courthouse today was full reflecting the changing demographics of our nation,” Marielena Hincapie from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “Courageous immigrants eligible for DACA and DAPA sat in the front row facing the judges who with their pen could restore these programs.”

“It is difficult to speculate how this panel of judges will rule,” said Hincapie. “But we know that implementation of DACA and DAPA is inevitable.”

“Today we made history,” said Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream. “Groups from all over the South drove to New Orleans to tell these judges that these are the people whose lives their decisions are affecting. The most powerful thing that happened today in that courtroom is that the judges were there in front of people who have come to this country and have felt the impact of the laws that criminalize us and our families.”

“This is why we are here,” said Jimenez whose father Fausto is DAPA-eligible was also present. “This is not the end. This is one step in the legal battle. But we know we will win. Our community already won. We will keep fighting until we have implementation of DACA and DAPA. Nothing has been decided today, but we’re here and have to keep showing up. We know we will prevail.”

“We stand here today to fight with you because of unjust laws and we will win!” said Derrik Johnson, the President of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP. “We must fight in the courthouse. We must stand in protest in the streets.”

“Today, we saw how immigrants all over the country are standing up to make sure our voices are heard,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “And today they were heard inside that courtroom. Now we must continue to make our voices heard in this legal battle. The law is on our side, as are the majority of Americans, who support the President's actions. We will not give up until we prevail.”


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