Vowing to Keep Up the Fight on Immigration

Angélica Salgado (left) and her son Pablo with a group of immigrants. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

Angélica Salgado (left) and her son Pablo. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

After Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, issued on Feb. 16 a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, New York immigration advocacy groups joined in protest, El Diario reports.

This story by Zaira Cortés tells of a meeting at the 32BJ SEIU offices in Manhattan, and another one in New Jersey.

New York workers, students, unions and community organizations came together on Feb. 18 to send a forceful message to Republicans and anti-immigrant groups, determined to continue to fight until immigration relief becomes a reality. This week, Texas federal judge Andrew S. Hanen temporarily halted the acceptance of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications.

“It is citizens who are themselves the children of immigrants who are condemning us to live in the shadows. They forget that their ancestors came here under the same circumstances,” said Angélica Salgado, a 40-year-old Mexican mother who volunteers at the La Fuente community organization. “This is a nation of immigrants. We are a part of it.”

Salgado studied languages in Mexico City, is fluent in English and speaks basic French. Because she lacks a Social Security card or a work permit, it has been impossible for her to apply her knowledge in New York. She currently works as a housekeeper.

When Salgado learned about the court order issued by Judge Hanen, she did not hesitate to express her commitment to the struggle of the immigrant community. Holding a sign and walking alongside her 7-year-old son Pablo, the Queens resident showed her determination to be a part of the national movement to prevent the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Lawful Residents (DAPA) from being blocked as well.

“By suspending DACA, they are attempting to intimidate us, and they are failing. We have fought for decades to get immigration relief, and we will not let them snatch our victory away,” said Salgado.

Labor unions 32BJ, 1199 and Local 79 joined the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and nonprofits La Fuente and Make the Road New York to encourage prospective DACA and DAPA recipients to not be fearful of the federal judge’s decision and to continue preparing to apply for immigration benefits. The collective also reaffirmed their support of President Obama.

“We will call the White House to express our support of the president. Let’s make sure that our presence and our strength are felt in these challenging days,” said Lucía Gómez, director of La Fuente. “Let’s continue to prepare and get informed about immigration relief. We are convinced that it will become a reality.”

(…)

In Morristown, New Jersey, there was another demonstration to respond to Judge Hanen’s ruling. Dozens of immigrants and community leaders took to the streets and marched to the office of Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. They demanded that he does not sacrifice the dreams and aspirations for a better life for millions of youths and families.

“It was the hands of immigrants that built the glory of this country and continue to do so. We are not a minority; we are Americans,” said 34-year-old Orlando Escobar, a construction worker who participated in the protest.

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Johnny Bautista (Photo by Zaira Cortés via El Diario)

Johnny Bautista (Photo by Zaira Cortés via El Diario)

Another story by Cristina Loboguerrero interviews young Hispanic New Yorkers who aspired to legalize their immigration status and are directly affected by the ruling:

“It frustrates me to see that the anti-immigrant climate is stronger than justice,” said 22-year-old Francisco Curiel, who was planning to apply this past Wednesday for DACA. “I have a grant to pay for my application but, in just one day, my dreams fell to pieces yet again.”

Curiel, a student at Queens College, did not qualify for the first round of DACA in 2012, and hoped to leave his undocumented status behind thanks to President Obama’s expansion of the program. “I am not giving up. This is an invitation to continue fighting,” said Curiel.

Johnny Bautista, 29, shared Curiel’s irritation. “Since I was 15 years old, I have worked really hard in the city’s kitchens. I have never committed a felony or have applied for public assistance. Why, then, am I denied the chance to have a better life?” asked the Bronx resident. “I am sick of being treated as a second-class citizen.” (…)

 

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