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56 Arrested in Third and Largest Round of Civil Disobedience for Immigration Reform in New York - 109 arrests during three weeks of civil disobedience actions


Press Contact: Norman Eng,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  Cell Phone: Not Available,  E-mail: Not Available
New York City  (Tuesday, June 1, 2010)

56 Arrested in Third and Largest Round of Civil Disobedience for Immigration Reform in New York - 109 arrests during three weeks of civil disobedience actions

Fifty-six New Yorkers were arrested in front of 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan today, the third in a series of civil disobedience actions in New York aimed at highlighting the growing human tragedy and unsustainable moral crisis caused by a broken U.S. immigration system badly in need of reform.

The participants, which included local clergy, labor, elected, and community leaders, linked arms and stepped into the middle of Broadway, bringing traffic in front of the federal building to a standstill as they sang the traditional protest hymn, “We Shall Overcome.” Today’s arrests raised the total number of New Yorkers arrested for civil disobedience over the past three weeks to 109. Three elected officials were arrested today: City Council Members Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, and Brad Lander.

The tone of today’s event was decidedly more critical of the Obama administration than in the past, as participants denounced President Obama’s announcement last week that he will send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and call for $500 million for increased enforcement measures. Speakers urged the President and Congress to move away from these tried-and-failed enforcement tactics and instead take legislative action to make just and humane immigration reform a reality this year. Speakers called on the Obama administration to place a moratorium on deportations and intervene to stop Arizona’s SB1070 law.

With 109 arrests, New York is playing a lead role in a growing national movement of nonviolent civil disobedience for immigration reform. Recent civil disobedience actions also have taken place in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Tucson, Detroit, San Francisco, and Seattle. Participants said their actions carry on the great tradition of peaceful non-violent resistance in the face of grave injustice, as practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The series of civil disobedience actions began on May 17th, when 16 New Yorkers were arrested. The following week, 37 were arrested in a similar action. Several elected officials were arrested in those actions: City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane D. Williams, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, and State Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat.

The message of today’s event was carried on the protesters signs: “Immigration Reform NOW!” “Stop Tearing Families Apart!” “Obama: We Voted for Change, Not This!” Attendees noted the incredible diversity of the participants, and that the coming-together of people from all walks of life for civil disobedience is something that has not been seen since the protests around the killing by police of Amadou Diallo ten years ago.

The recent civil disobedience actions mark an escalation in tactics by reform advocates nationwide. They follow a March 21st rally in the nation’s capital that drew over 200,000, and May 1st rallies that turned out hundreds of thousands across the nation. Despite these massive showings, leaders in Washington still have failed to produce reform legislation, prolonging the moral and humanitarian crisis facing our nation over its broken immigration system.


Participants released the following joint statement concerning today’s civil disobedience action:

“Being conscientiously of opinion that our current immigration laws betray our core principles of democracy, inclusiveness and justice; that they allow for Arizona’s immoral and unconstitutional SB1070; and that their continued enforcement through detention and deportation separates families and destroys communities; we are compelled to escalate our call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the face of inaction from our nation’s elected representatives.

“Today we stand in solidarity with the millions who contribute to our communities and economy while being denied full access to them. Our act of civil disobedience is performed with the belief that our laws can—and should—be better, and that our nation’s leaders cannot stand on the sidelines as our society’s core values are betrayed by a broken and immoral immigration system.

“We invite the enforcement of the law upon ourselves in the hope that our arrest today will be the catalyst for principled leadership from the President and Congress and for meaningful Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will put an end to the arrests and other mistreatments faced by our friends, families, congregations, and communities.”

—Unity Statement Signed by Those Arrested

1. City Council Member Daniel Dromm
2. City Council Member Julissa Ferreras
3. City Council Member Brad Lander
4. Roberto Ramirez, President, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Former Member of NYS Assembly
5. Guillermo Linares, Former Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Former City Council Member
6. Edison Severino, Business Manager, LIUNA Local 78
7. Minerva Solla, Vice President, SEIU 1199
8. Victor Rivera, Vice President, SEIU 1199
9. Michael Myerson, Director of Communications, SEIU 1199
10. Florence Johnson, SEIU 1199
11. Johnnie Patterson, SEIU 32BJ
12. Andrew Friedman, SEIU 32BJ
13. Alvin Carter, SEIU 32BJ
14. Melissa Amernick, SEIU 32BJ
15. Anne Lessy, SEIU 32BJ
16. Gabriel Thompson, SEIU 32BJ
17. Allison Hirsh, SEIU 32BJ
18. Steven Choi, Executive Director, MinKwon Center for Community Action
19. Jennifer Kim, Vice President, MinKwon Center for Community Action
20. Liz Chong Eun Rhee, Worker Associate, MinKwon Center for Community Action
21. Jenna Ness, Development Associate, MinKwon Center for Community Action
22. James Hong, Civic Participation Outreach Coordinator, MinKwon Center for Community Action
23. Grace Meng, Steering Committee Member, Korean Americans for Political Advancement
24. Kris Pak, Queens Community House & Korean Americans for Political Advancement
25. Bakary Tandia, African Services Committee and Steering Committee Member, NYS Immigration Reform Campaign
26. Jonathan Tasini, Economic Future Group
27. Yasmine Farhang, Raha Iranian Women’s Collective
28. Larry Moskowitz, Coordinator, Left Labor Project
29. Daniel Huang, Chinese Progressive Association
30. Juan Villar, High School Principal, Gregorio Luperon High School
31. Rev. Susan Karlsen, Unitarian Universalist Minister, Unitarian Church of Staten Island
32. Joe Thomasberger, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ New Sanctuary Committee
33. Mariana R. Gaston, Member of Council of Supervisors and Administrators, AFL-CIO
34. Emmanuel Caicedo, Organizer, Working Families
35. Rachel Soltis, New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City
36. Yul-san Liem, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
37. Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, Community Leader, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition
38. Dennis Chin, Center for Community Change
39. Felton Davis, Catholic Worker
40. Eli Kent, Director of Organizing, LIUNA Local 78
41. Tania Salinas, LIUNA Local 78
42. Abraham Hernandez, LIUNA Local 78
43. Krzysztof Walek, LIUNA Local 78
44. Sebastion Sokolowski, LIUNA Local 78
45. Fabio Morales, LIUNA Local 78
46. Jorge Roldan, LIUNA Local 78
47. Manuel Ortiz, LIUNA Local 78
48. Bob Greenberg, Member, United Federation of Teachers
49. Hector Ruiz, United Federation of Teachers
50. Nicholas Cruz, United Federation of Teachers
51. David Kazanski, United Federation of Teachers
52. Jose Vargas, United Federation of Teachers
53. Margaret Burrelli, United Federation of Teachers
54. Jonathan Moore
55. Umberto Citrone
56. Juan Antigua

The New York actions were spearheaded by Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH) in partnership with the New York Immigration Coalition, SEIU 1199, SEIU 32BJ, New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, The Black Institute, New York Communities for Change, New York State Immigration Reform Campaign, Families for Freedom, New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform, Art for Change, Hudson Valley Community Coalition, LIUNA Local 79, LIUNA Local 78, MinKwon Center for Community Action, New York Faith and Justice, New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, United Federation of Teachers and many supporting organizations.


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