Dispatches, Haiti, United States

Rally For Immigration Reform Held in New York City; Immigration Organizations Want Comprehensive Law In 2010

January 14, 2010 By Andrew OReilly

Immigration Rally

New York — Protesters carrying signs declaring “Justice and Dignity for the Immigrants” and “Reform Not Raids” converged inside the Judson Memorial Church, in New York City’s Washington Square Park, on Wednesday to demand immigration law reform in 2010 as part of a rally set up by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).

Members from various immigration organizations from the New York City area, including Cabrini Immigrant Services, Families for Freedom and El Centro del Inmigrante, marched into the church chanting “Yes We Can.”

As members from the organizations representing immigrants from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East settled into their seats, the main talking point of the rally was the Obama administration’s promise of immigration law reform.

“The reason we are here is because we can’t wait,” said Janis Rosheuvel, the executive director of Families for Freedom, who added, “The reality is we are waiting for reforms that are coming too slowly.”

President Obama promised to change immigration laws in 2009, but the same policies are still in place. 2010 is the year that real reform needs to be put in place, said Chung-Wha Hong, the executive director of the NYIC.

“In the course of a year, 400,000 immigrants are detained, 350,000 are deported, and those numbers continue to rise,” according to Hong, who added, “While we are encouraged to see some legislative progress, it needs to pick up speed. We have a solid bill introduced in the House, the ball is in Senator (Charles) Schumer’s court to introduce a similar bill in the Senate; and we call on President Obama to lead on this issue.”

Senator Schumer (D-NY), the Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, is tasked with creating a bipartisan immigration reform bill, after he took over the role from the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

Last summer, Schumer outlined seven key points that the reform bill would need to address. Some of these points included curbing illegal immigration, family reunification as a key value of the immigration system and the registration of undocumented aliens as a path toward United States citizenship, according to Schumer’s website.

In December of last year, members of Congress introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP) to the House of Representatives. The act, introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), addresses some of the concerns raised by Senator Schumer, such as family reunification, employment verification and improving conditions in detention centers, according to the Immigration Policy Center.

While many seemed pleased with the idea of a more gentle policy toward immigration, which focused more keeping families together and granting due process to undocumented immigrants, the slow pace of the legislative process seemed the main point of contention.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, we remind the president that immigrant communities expect him to deliver on his promise to enact immigration reform. Immigrants won’t be taken for granted,” said Ann Maria Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, an immigrant community group in New York.

The bill enacted must be passed within the year, must address the fundamental principles of family unification, due process and paths to citizenship and must be one that unties people rather than dividing people, Hong added.

Many of the speakers at the rally emphasized the case of Jean Montrevil, a Haitian immigrant, who is currently held in Pennsylvania’s York County jail on a 21-year old drug charge. Montrevil’s case added more significance to the immigration debate as the rally occurred only a day after a massive earthquake shook Haiti and left thousands dead.

“Even though it is a tragedy in Haiti, I believe it is a wake-up call,” said Janay Montrevil, the wife of Jean Montrevil, who added that President Obama needs to create a clear path to citizenship for illegal immigrants so that what happened to her husband does not happen to others.

“I should not have to explain to my children why daddy is not home,” she said.

Montrevil faces deportation stemming from a drug offense in 1989, for which he served 11 years. He is now in jail waiting to see if he is eligible for deferred action, which would allow him to stay in the United States, according to his wife.

“Jean Montrevil’s case illustrates the unfairness and lack of due process in our immigration system,” said Angela Fernandez, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “It’s a system where people can be punished retroactively using laws that weren’t even on the books when they were initially detained.”

Photos by Norman Eng, courtesy of New York Immigration Coalition.

12 Comments

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by JuanSaaa: MT: Rally 4 Immigration Reform Held in #NYC; #Immigration Organizations want #cirasap In 2010 http://bit.ly/7GAAGs #ri4a…

Julie B says:

This will never happen in 2010. Unemployment is too high and the Democrats are losing power.
Enforce the laws that we have and secure the borders first.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RI4A, Border Action, OneAmerica, anja asenjo, JuanSa and others. JuanSa said: MT: Rally 4 Immigration Reform Held in #NYC; #Immigration Organizations want #cirasap In 2010 http://bit.ly/7GAAGs #ri4a […]

MARK says:

reform will happen in 2010 or it will never happen now or never you know people how migrated in 80’s and 90’s don’t what reform over own people are not with us but old and real americans are with us that’s my study says ( in god we trust )

Eric says:

The majority of people who are here without proper documentation are probably already working in the U.S. To support their families, so whose jobs would they be taking away? Thousands of people that are being underpaid and exploited in farms are just doing what they would be if they were in their own country where capitalism has taken all their reseources, so they have no choice but to look for a better life not only for themselves, but for their families. It is not the immigrants’ fault when Corporations that do not want to pay taxes take AMERICAN JOBS overseas and exploit our own people. So i dont understand when Americans think immigrants are doing something illegal by migrating to another part of their OWN continent. I believe in natural migration. Even the so called anglosaxon Americans’ ancestors took a boat to migrate to this country. You dont see latinos taking boats by the load. Latinos have culture and something a lot of peoe forget; and that’s unity and love for our fellow neighbor, why cant our America unify with their neighbor countries and give us what we deserve. This is our land too!

[…] Immigration Rally, Jan. 13th 2010 New York from Breakthrough on Vimeo. “As we approach the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, we remind the president that immigrant communities expect him to deliver on his promise to enact immigration reform. Immigrants won’t be taken for granted,” said Ann Maria Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, an immigrant community group in New York. (via Latin America News Dispatch) […]

Bob Rite says:

There is no moral imperative to allow people to come here illegally for their own economic benefit. If you want to help people of other countries improve their lot, there are ways to do that that don’t require breaking US laws. If there is any moral imperative regarding illegal immigration, it is not advantage those who jumped the line over those who followed the rules to come here. How do you explain to someone who waited years to immigrate here legally that we look the other way while millions gain jobs by slipping over the border? That’s the outrage here.

[…] Rally For Immigration Reform Held in New York City; Immigration … Share and […]

[…] as a cornerstone for immigration reform. On January 14, the New York City Immigration Coalition mobilized for a rally at Montrevil’s church, which coincided with others held throughout the nation. At the rally, […]

John says:

America has been taking care of people of the world. Then why is it that there is no compassion within America to get Immigration Reform underway and fast? And to those who feel that immigrants don’t have a place in this country – think about this. Where did your ancesstors come from? think about it.

mmmm says:

This bill will help a lot regarding rising salary and increase earnings for US worker.
Some scenarios:
If anyone can get the construction work done in his house by illegal workers with pennies while he will pay thousands to legal american workers.
If that illegal is made legal ,he will also demand more for his work .So no degrade in the salary and earnings.

If a person have problem in his car and can get repaired with few hundered bucks by illegal auto mechanics why he will go for paying thousands to legal americans.

Work is their but it is underpaid to illegals and legals have no access to that work.If those illegals are made legals at least other legals will also have access to those works as well.As employers will be left with no choices.

Illegals are dangerous for nation’s securities as they can do anythings including stealing and any crime you can think of just
to survive with money.

If they are made legals at least we can trace them and they will
also think twice doing anything that is unethical.

Despite population burst China is making development at a alarming
rate becoz it has enough working populations.
Life is not bed of roses .No one will come to your door and will beg you to accept the job.Good education and a healthy work ethics
can help.
A country is powerful when there is a competition ,no corruption
,etiquettes , patience and honesty.This is a great country people have all the quality only lacking vibrant customers .

Recession comes because US doesn’t have enough young population to consume goods and works.

Evelia Roel says:

I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives useful information “~`

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