Immigration advocates and community members held a press conference in front of 26 Federal Plaza today to condemn Arizonas SB1070 law and to denounce programs in which local police collude with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport immigrants. The groups also announced a lawsuit demanding records on ICEs Secure Communities program. The press conference is part of Uncovering the Truth, a weeklong national campaign of coordinated actions challenging ICE-police collaborations.
Unfortunately, Arizona is just one example of the toxic climate immigrants now encounter, stated Angela Fernandez, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. Secure Communities and other ICE programs like the Criminal Alien Program and 287(g) have cost us hundreds of millions of dollars while resulting in broken families, racial profiling, and compromised safety.
Secure Communities has come under fire for its lack of transparency and accountability, leading the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School to file a lawsuit demanding records related to the program.
Advocacy groups further demanded that Obama overhaul the countrys harsh immigration laws and their overly aggressive enforcement, here in New York and across the country.
The NYIC condemns the Arizona law in the strongest of terms. The ugliness of SB 1070 should serve as a wake-up call to the President and Congress to stop dragging their feet. They must address the crisis in our communities today, stop the senseless deportations, and enact just and humane immigration reform now, said Frances Liu of the New York Immigration Coalition.
Bishop Orlando Findlayter of Churches United to Save and Heal, a coalition of over 100 churches in Brooklyn, insisted that detention and deportation are affecting a wide range of communities. For years, immigration has terrorized the people in our communities in Brooklyn and beyond, and it affects people of all colors and faith. The laws in Arizona are what happens when disastrous partnerships between ICE and local enforcement get out of control.
Other speakers included Dr. Gary Mills, Executive Assistant to the Bishop of Lutheran Churches in America; Hector Figueroa from the 32BJ union; Soledad Villacis, a member of Make the Road New York; Bahir Mustafa of the Muslim community in the Bronx; Reverend Hector La Porta, of the Methodist Church in Brooklyn; and members of the Cardozo Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic.
The advocacy groups present insisted that President Obama immediately issue a moratorium on detention and deportation across the country and repudiate SB 1070. Obama has said that the Arizona law threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.
The groups who sponsored the event included The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, Center for Constitutional Rights, Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York Immigration Coalition , New York State Immigration Reform Campaign, Make The Road New York, American Friends Service Committee, and advocates and community members.