On Tuesday, close to 1,000 MRNY members marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and rallied at City Hall as part of our Third Annual Democracy Day. Joined by elected officials, clergy and other allies, MRNY announced the launch of our new campaign: to end the City Department of Corrections’ collaboration with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in order to cease unjust deportations. Read more in the Daily News.
Every year DOC transfers 3,000-4,000 New Yorkers to ICE’s custody at considerable expense to the City, even though the City is under no legal obligation to do so. Neither ICE nor DOC exercises any discretion when deciding who to send into the black hole of immigration detention.
At the rally, MRNY members gave testimony of how they and their loved ones have been affected by this injustice – how families have been torn apart, leaving children without their parents and households without their main breadwinners; how innocent people have been interrogated and detained without access to legal counsel, witnesses or evidence necessary to defend themselves against deportation orders; how fathers, mothers and children have been sent to immigration jails thousands of miles away to be held in deplorable conditions for indefinite periods of time.
Make the Road New York member Fiorentina Williams, an immigrant from Queens said, "We need to make sure that New York City gets out of the deportation system. My brother in law was found innocent of a crime, but he was taken from Rikers Island and placed in an immigration facility in Texas to be deported. He had to leave his family behind with no one to support them."
"In America, we have a constitutional right that guarantees that we are innocent until proven guilty and this policy violates that right," said New York City Council Member and Chair of the Immigration Committee, Daniel Dromm. "We must send a strong message to the Mayor that this policy must end immediately because it is unfair and unjust. We must remove ICE from Rikers and ensure that our immigrant families and communities are protected from these immoral and dangerous enforcement operations."
MRNY would like to thank City Council Members Daniel Dromm, Brad Lander, Leticia James and James Van Bramer, and clergy members Reverend Bob Coleman, Reverend Michael Ellick, Father James Kelly, Father Fabian Arias, Sister Lilly Butler and Reverend Susan Switzer, for standing with us on this important day, in support of this important campaign.
Read more about this event in the Associated Press, WNYC, NY Daily News, NY Times (photo) and El Diario.
Photos by Claudio Papapietro and MRNY