On Friday, November 12, in an 11-mile march, immigrant New Yorkers, the New York Immigration Coalition, Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, and allies brought their demand for a pathway to citizenship from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Starting at 110th street in Harlem and ending at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, the marchers reminded Democrats in Washington of their campaign promises to deliver legalization for 11 million immigrant Americans.
“We marched today because we refuse to stay silent while Democrats refuse to seize the first real opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform in decades,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “From President Joe Biden to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, our national leaders promised they would deliver for immigrant Americans. They offered heartfelt praise for the sacrifices our communities made on the front lines of a global pandemic but have failed to provide immigrants with the real protection and opportunity of a roadmap to citizenship. We can’t afford their excuses because it will be our families who will bear the brunt of their limited imaginations. Washington Democrats have the power to build a better vision of our country and secure a true recovery for each and every one of us who call America home. It’s time they start listening to the majority of the American voters and take bold action to ensure all our futures.”
Yaritza Mendez, Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York, said, “Our communities have fought tooth and nail for decades for a pathway to citizenship—and that is what we deserve. Immigrants are integral to our country and should not constantly fear being separated from their loved ones. Temporary work permits fall short of meeting the needs of our loved ones and neighbors. We urgently call on the Democratic leadership to deliver on their promise and ensure the Build Back Better package includes a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants.” The rally and march come after the news that the current Build Back Better package only includes a parole plan, which would grant temporary and time-limited immigration and work benefits to immigrants brought here as children, TPS holders, and farmworkers, but without any path to a green card and eventual citizenship. The New York Immigration Coalition joined national partners in demanding the Democratic Party deliver on their promise to deliver legalization for millions.
Friday’s 11-mile march is a continuation of the actions that have been ongoing in New York and across the country. Over the past few weeks, we have launched a video ad; immigrant New Yorkers held an evening vigil in front of Senator Schumer’s Brooklyn home; a rally in front of his Manhattan office; a 4-day #NoSleepTilCitizenship sleep-out in front of the Senator’s Brooklyn home and rallied in Long Island to keep up the pressure for a pathway to citizenship to be included in the final budget reconciliation package.
A few weeks before the inauguration of President Biden, NYIC launched an aggressive campaign targeted at key members of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, demanding an unequivocal commitment to achieving a pathway to citizenship. NYIC’s work is part of a multi-organizational and national effort spearheaded by FIRM to transform America’s immigration system. A recent Data for Progress poll revealed a clear majority of Americans, 67%, support legalization for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers. An FWD.us report outlined that legalization would provide $149 billion in GDP and $39 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.