(New York, NY) On a telephonic press conference this afternoon, members of “New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform” (NYRIR), a campaign coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition denounced President Obama’s delay of executive action on immigration, and discussed plans to respond on behalf of immigrant families and communities in New York. On September 6th, White House officials informed lawmakers and advocates that President Obama will delay executive action on immigration – that may provide bold and broad administrative relief to millions of hardworking immigrants – until after November elections, a decision causing outrage and disappointment among immigrant communities. Saturday’s announcement breaks the pledge made by the President in his June remarks to take action on immigration on his own by the end of the summer “without further delay”.
“Immigrant communities are tired of empty speeches and broken promises from the White House,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “But despite this disappointing delay, we are ready to work harder than ever to protect our communities, starting with a national week of action on September 22nd to show the White House, Democrats and Republicans that we will hold their feet to the fire until action is taken. This November, President Obama will have one last chance to live up to the promises he made, by providing big and broad executive action to halt deportations. He must consider how he wants to define his presidential legacy – will he be the “Deporter-in-Chief,” or the President who takes the historic step to fix our broken immigration system? Our communities will make clear our views to the President, and to the Democrats and the Republicans, as we mobilize immigrant voters up to and through the November elections.”
Affected immigrants and leaders from faith, labor, and immigrant advocacy communities throughout New York State expressed their anger at the delay and commitment to continue fighting.
“When I left Ecuador 20 years ago to come to the US to provide for my family, I left behind an 11 month old son. My son is now 20 years old. I want to see him more than anything in the world but I need to be here working to support them,” said Marta Gualotuna, member of Make the Road NY. “The President should take action to protect people like me who have been here for so long and contributed so much, so we can see our families. This delay angers me and my community, and we will fight to hold the President to his promise.”
“We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s decision to delay executive action, which means that the lives of hard-working immigrant families continue to hang in the balance. In many communities where our members live and work, the Administration’s decision to delay executive action forces families to continue to live in the shadows, said Hector Figueroa, president of 32 BJ SEIU. "We know that we got to this point because earlier this year the Republicans refused to vote on comprehensive reform. Immigrant voters will be mobilizing in force this November, and we will continue to fight until real immigration reform becomes a reality.”
“Faith in New York works with over 60 congregations throughout New York City representing over 60,000 people of faith, many who are undocumented. As people of Faith we know that it is a moral failure to play political games with our families,” said Onleilove Alston, interim executive director of Faith in New York, member of the PICO National Network. “The President and the Senate democrats have decided that it’s okay to see several thousand more deportations for a few political gains. This was never about politics for us. It has always been about our families. We hope the nation’s leaders will one day view this issue through the same lens. Our families have been ignored, neglected, and demonized by elected officials for too long. Our sacred text commands that we welcome the stranger yet each day that passes, over 1000 families are separated.“
Gail Golden, co-chair of Rockland Immigration Coalition said, “Rockland County is home to large and growing immigrant communities. Our Spanish speaking community alone has grown 67% since 2000. Immigrants contribute enormously to our economy as workers, business owners and consumers. Many undocumented persons have been the target of cruel and immediate deportations for incidents such as broken taillights, visiting a relative in jail, or having an out of state license. One young mother was deported after being stopped at a traffic light in an old car. Her young children were in school and she was not even given a chance to contact them. Families are being torn apart; children are being left without parents. We need administrative relief as soon as possible. Every day that goes by without it damages families and communities.”
# # #
The New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform campaign is a statewide campaign coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition and endorsed by 170 labor, business, faith, grassroots and immigrant organizations from across the state. The coalition is calling for an overhaul of the immigration system to meet the needs of the economy and keep families together.
The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.
The MinKwon Center will be hosting several Naturalization and DACA Renewal Clinics this fall and they have recently added some new clinic dates. The new clinic dates are indicated with asterisks below. These clinics are great opportunities to assist low-income community members with immigration law forms. Each clinic will be held at the MinKwon Center’s office in Flushing, Queens (a few blocks from the 7 train stop).
No prior experience is necessary, and training will be provided on the day of each clinic. The Center keeps a log of all volunteer hours and they’re glad to certify your pro bono hours for the NY bar admission requirement. If you’re interested in volunteering, please read the following clinic descriptions and sign up using the links below:
Naturalization Clinics –
The Center will be helping eligible LPRs complete their applications to become naturalized U.S. citizens. They are searching for assistance from attorneys, students and interpreters. Korean and/or Chinese language ability is especially helpful. Please sign up here to join for a Naturalization Clinic on any of the following dates:
- Friday, September 26
- Friday, October 10*
- Saturday, October 18*
- Saturday, November 8*
- Friday, November 21*
- Friday, December 5*
DACA Renewal Clinics –
The Center will be helping undocumented youth complete their applications to renew their DACA status. Successful applicants will receive an additional two years of protection against deportation and renewed work permits. They are searching for assistance from attorneys, students and interpreters. No foreign language ability is required. Please sign up here to join for a DACA Renewal Clinic on any of the following dates:
- Friday, September 12
- Saturday, September 13
- Friday, September 19
- Friday, October 3*
- Friday, October 17*
- Friday, October 31*
- Friday, November 7*
- Friday, November 14*
- Friday, December 12*
- Friday, December 19*
Please see below the contact information of the MinKwon Center:
MinKwon Center for Community Action (formerly YKASEC)
136-19 41st Ave. 3rd Fl. Flushing, NY 11355
Tel.718.460.5600 ext. 204 | Fax.718.445.0032
Brush With Danger, Directed by Livi Zheng, will be playing at Cinema Village at 22 East 12th Street from September 19-24. Click here to purchase tickets.
Brush with Danger is directed by Livi Zheng, a young multi-talented Asian filmmaker who makes her directing debut with this film. Prior to this she already has a wide experience in producing and acting. An exemplary young, female professional, Livi would be a great role model and an ideal platform for spreading the validity and importance of Asian culture to the States.
On Friday, September 19, Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Centre Robert Lee will be the moderator and host of the movie’s premiere.
A painter, a fighter, both artists in their own way. Brother and sister, forced to flee their home, arrive at Seattle, The Emerald City, inside a shipping container. Trying to make their way in a new strange world the pair struggle to survive. Until, one day, an art dealer, takes an interest in the sister’s painting, and the pair find themselves living a dream come true. The sister loses herself in her art, painting, and the brother seizes the opportunity to express himself, as a fighter.
But it really is all just a dream. Conned by her patron into forging a long lost Van Gogh. Purchased by a ruthless criminal with a passion for fine art. The brother and sister soon find themselves embroiled in Seattle’s criminal underworld and a Brush With Danger.