Students prepare to begin a hunger strike outside Senator Charles Schumer’s office. Three different New York groups rallied last week to draw attention to immigration reform.
At the beginning of the week, students from the New York State Youth Leadership Council began a hunger strike outside Senator Charles Schumers Manhattan office.
Ten strikers continued throughout the week, sleeping on the sidewalk outside his office to pressure him into advancing the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
On Friday night, the group hosted a prayer ceremony with flashlights, electric candles and personal stories from strikers, labeling it a vigil for 70,000 students who they say arent able to pursue education dreams because of their immigration status.
And in the third straight week of staged civil disobedience, 56 people were arrested in downtown New York as they attempted to block traffic to raise awareness for immigration reform.
Those arrested included three members of the City Council: Daniel Dromm, Brad Lander and Julissa Ferreras.
At the rally preceding the arrests, speakers criticized President Barack Obamas move to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border and again asked him to repeal Arizonas law requiring proof of citizenship.
And a third group calling for immigration reform in the city fasted within sight of the Statue of Liberty. Make the Road New York, a group helping immigrants in the city, organized more than 40 people to fast for 72 hours in an effort to highlight problems in the immigration system.
During the fast, high school and college students came to a church to also press for the DREAM Act.
At a different church on the fasts second day, they brought religious leaders together with advocates to ask the states Department of Corrections to stop cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that enforces immigration law. Right now, ICE agents are at the citys Rikers Island jail facility, helping to sort out illegal immigrants and funnel them into deportation proceedings.