Forty Days of Action for Immigrant Rights


| 8/28/2013 1:53:00 PM


Tags: Immigrant Rights, Immigration Reform, Activism, Dreamers, Border Militarization, Immigrant Detention, Border Security, Waging Nonviolence, Laurie Smolenski.,
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As the immigration reform bill remains in limbo, immigration activists are confronting human rights abuses and border militarization.   

This article originally appeared at Waging Nonviolence.  

Ten immigrant justice activists, including one elderly nun, were arrested in New York City on Thursday in protest of the unprecedented detentions and deportations under the Obama administration. They also condemned the U.S. House of Representatives for its lack of action in passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would include a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the United States without U.S. residency papers.

Several faith leaders led a “Jericho walk” to the Varick Street Detention Center in Lower Manhattan, where people being detained are held for processing before they are transferred. The marchers arrived cloaked in white and singing freedom hymns. Others who were unable to risk arrest because of their immigration status amassed along the sidewalk, carrying signs, chanting and singing. The 10 activists spoke out against detentions, as well as the particular challenges for LGBT detainees, before the crowd coalesced in the street, effectively blocking the entrance to the detention center. Police gave warnings before the protesters, who included faith leaders and an academic, were handcuffed and taken away in a police vehicle.

Detention centers across the country are increasingly being targeted for actions that highlight the struggle of immigrant families separated by deportations. Earlier this week, four activists were arrested in Phoenix, Ariz., after chaining themselves to a fence outside the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters. These protests are part of 40 days of nationally coordinated civil disobedience and other actions to protest the House’s stalled immigration reform negotiations, which will not be debated until after Congress’ five-week August recess. Under the bill passed by a bipartisan Senate vote in June, undocumented immigrants will be required to come forward about their status, pay back taxes, learn English and wait an estimated 10 to 13 years to become a citizen.

The 40-day campaign began on August 1, when more than 40 civil rights, labor, religious and immigrant leaders and Dreamers — undocumented youth organizing for the passage of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to legal status — were arrested in Washington, D.C., outside the Capitol building. Protests continued in the districts of House Republicans who have not pledged support for a path to citizenship. Last week, more than 1,000 immigrant rights activists descended upon Bakersfield, Calif., at the district office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Several House Republicans have publicly backed a pathway to citizenship in the last few weeks, although McCarthy has not yet reversed his position.

fred engels
8/29/2013 5:46:50 PM

Laughable article created by a detached ivory tower liberal. It’s hard to tell after taking a look at the author’s LinkedIn profile whether this is just another day at the office for the author, or if she truly cares about struggling humans. Charity begins at home. The author doesn’t stand on the side of the people. She stands on the side of big business, corrupt politicians, lawbreakers, and the sclerotic left wing intelligentsia. Go ahead and call me a nativist scumbag who sits around all day complaining about “muh jerbs,” but illegal immigrants take jobs, drive down wages, commit numerous frauds (example: Jose Antonio Vargas), and contribute to the Balkanization of America. These aren’t immigrants with rights. These are lawbreakers who deserve armed escort back home.


fred engels
8/29/2013 5:01:55 PM

Laughable garbage created by a left wing extremist. Charity begins at home, silly. Go ahead and call me a nativist scumbag who sits around all day complaining about "muh jerbs," but illegal immigrants take jobs, drive down wages, commit numerous frauds (example: Jose Antonio Vargas), and contribute to the Balkanization of America. These aren't immigrants with rights. These are lawbreakers who deserve armed escort back home.