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NYIC Leaders Arrested in Civil Disobedience Action in DC

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
Washington, DC  (Tuesday, October 8, 2013)

NYIC Leaders Arrested in Civil Disobedience Action in DC

 Reflects Growing Impatience with Speaker Boehner’s Refusal to Act on Immigration Reform

The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) joined tens of thousands of people from across the country who gathered today in the nation’s capitol to demand that the House leadership pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship before the end of this year. In an act of non-violent, civil disobedience in front of the U.S. Capitol, 200 people, including four members of the NYIC, were arrested today.

Among those participating in the action were:

  •  Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York;
  • Estela Vazquez, executive vice president of SEIU 1199;
  • Bakary Tandia, policy advocate of African Services Committee; and
  • Jorim Rhee of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

Members of Congress who were arrested include Rep. John Lewis (Georgia), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Illinois), Rep. Raul Grijalva (Arizona), Rep. Joseph Crowley (New York), Rep. Keith Ellison (Minnesota), Rep. Al Green (Texas), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), and Rep. Charlie Rangel (New York).

"I have worked to pass immigration reform for the past 11 years, watched families separated by deportations, applications delayed and denied. I have rallied, marched, collected postcards, and met with elected officials,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. “Today I take it to the next level. I will risk arrest for the first time for what I believe to be the right thing to do for my country. The time is now to pass immigration reform."

"We are at D.C. to voice our frustration and our disappointment in our leadership, in our House leadership, in our Republican leadership, and specifically [Speaker John] Boehner,” said Jorim Rhee of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. "They are lagging; they are not voting on an immigration bill. They are watching millions and tens of millions of undocumented people, their families, and family members waiting to be together again suffer."

“I am getting arrested because we have tirelessly worked over years to build a strong movement for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Bakary Tandia, policy advocate of African Services Committee. “As a result of that, the U.S. Senate has clearly spoken in favor of it by adopting its bill, and the President is waiting for a bill to sign. As we are now close to the finish line, we cannot allow the House to dash the hopes and dreams of millions of families. Our message is we are resolved to do whatever it takes to win common-sense immigration reform.”

[Photo above, left to right] Bakary Tandia, policy advocate with African Services Commitee and Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York get arrested.  

 For more photos, click HERE.

To schedule interviews with those who were arrested in today’s action, please contact Thanu Yakupitayage at tyaku@thenyic.org.

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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.

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