New Jersey Immigrant and Civil Rights Advocates Say “No Militarization of Our Streets!”, and “No African Ban or Muslim Ban Ever!”
Immigrant advocates and residents protested the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies in Newark outside of ICE Newark field office.
NEWARK, NJ –Thursday, February 20th, 2020- Ahead of the Trump administration’s latest expansion of the travel ban going into effect and the deployment of dangerous Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) tactical units to cities that limit their resources towards federal immigration enforcement including Newark, immigrant, and civil rights advocates protested the extremely racist, xenophobic and dangerous policies coming from this White House administration.
Nearly 30 advocates gathered out of the Peter Rodino Federal Building, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Newark Field office is housed, to call attention to the continuing racism and militarization of U.S. immigration policy and its harmful impacts on New Jersey’s immigrant communities.
New Jersey is the third most immigrant diverse state in the nation. The state and Newark, its largest city, have stood with immigrant communities by upholding its fair and welcoming values through policies such as the Immigrant Trust Directive and Newark’s Fair and Welcoming executive order. These policies ensure all residents know that regardless of an individual’s immigration status, local law enforcement will not treat them differently.
Sarah Fajardo, ACLU-NJ Policy Director said,
“The latest expansion to the Muslim ban from 2017 – coupled with the administration’s deployment of CBP tactical units to cities, like Newark, that are unwilling to do the bidding of federal immigration authorities – is a blatant example of the administration’s reliance on racist and xenophobic policies to separate families and incite fear in our communities.
“The administration’s decision to limit immigration from majority Muslim and African countries and to embolden CBP’s militarization of our streets are retaliatory actions thinly veiled under the guise of public safety. In the face of these unwarranted attacks, we will continue to defend policies that actually keep New Jerseyans safe – like Newark’s fair and welcoming executive order and New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive – to ensure that all people, regardless of immigration status, can call New Jersey home.”
Brian Lozano, Wind of the Spirit, Lead Organizer and Advocacy Coordinator said,
“We reject these orders fueled by hate, bigotry, and xenophobia in our communities. We need more than just lip service from Congress. We need Congress to defund ICE and CBP. We have seen the harm that militarization of communities has done in the past and in Newark, specifically. We cannot allow our communities to become war zones, and we cannot stand by idly upholding these orders when they are immoral.”
Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation said,
“With 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this country, the last thing any city needs is troops or tactical units. Our communities do not need to be militarized but supported instead with more living wages, more affordable housing, and more access to complete healthcare. Sanctuary cities are not the crisis– the real crisis is the moral erosion in leaders like President Trump and those who enable him.”
The latest travel ban severely restricts immigration from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Tanzania, and Sudan, and overwhelmingly impacts African nationals who represent over 80 percent of those affected by the ban. As seen with the first iterations of the ban, more and more family separations are likely because people are no longer able to sponsor their family members.
Nearly 5.7% of New Jersey’s immigrant population is of African descent with over 100,000 immigrants from African residing in the state.
Rabbi Joel N. Abraham, Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains/Fanwood, NJ and Faith in New Jersey Board Member said,
“As flawed as we find ourselves, the founding documents of this nation imagine unalienable equal rights for all. We are the mixed multitude that found freedom in the promised land. We cannot ignore that our country, and the world, benefits from immigrants and immigration.
“Faith in New Jersey, an organization of members whose faith commands them to speak out for equality and justice, cannot remain silent when our government ignores this ideal by closing the door to those in need and waging war on our streets. We say no to the discriminatory bans on Muslims and Africans, which are patently Islamophobic and racist. We say no to the Federal government taking up arms against our cities, who have declared sanctuary, by sending in Federal troops. We call on the administration and Congress to untangle the mess that is our current immigration system and find a way not only re-open that golden door but welcome those who are already present and contributing to who we are. Our faith commands us to love our neighbors, to treat the stranger as the citizen, to see the humanity in the divine creation. We can do no less.”
Kevin Brown said, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and N.J. District Director said,
“32BJ SEIU is one of the largest unions with majority-immigrant membership in the nation, and we refuse to be bullied. Trump’s new assault terrorizes immigrants for political gain, wastes taxpayers’ money, and only raises the probability of further tragedy. We meet this cynical and vengeful act with a renewed determination to protect our immigrant brothers and sisters. Newark is a sanctuary city that protects law-abiding immigrant families seeking to live out the American Dream. Our community is fighting back, and later this year, will show their power by casting ballots to win better leadership of our nation. Today, we call on Congress and our courts to stand up and demand equal treatment of all immigrants for the sake of dignity, safety, and our nation’s humanity.”
Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU said,
“The caregivers of 1199SEIU condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the racist cruelty of Trump’s latest Muslim ban and the mobilization of CPB units to intimidate immigrants in sanctuary communities. As a union of healthcare workers, we see these policies as hugely detrimental to the health of our nation—where one million immigrants, many from the latest countries targeted, are employed as direct care workers who care for the elderly and vulnerable.”
“We continue to be outraged by this Administration’s actions to ban immigrants seeking a better life in the United States. Trump is fulfilling a white nationalist agenda on the backs of Muslim and African communities and we will not stand for it. This ban, which should be ended, is a way to put even more of this president’s prejudices into practice by excluding more communities of colour. We will continue to stand and resist w/ our Muslim brothers and sisters and w/ all immigrant communities. We say today, tomorrow, & forever #NoMuslimBanEver!” – Karen Galvan, member of Make the Road NJ
Immigrant rights advocates throughout the state remain committed to standing with all immigrants and stand united in the face of attacks on immigrants through racist policies. The longterm cumulative effects of these policies remain the limitations of family reunification and thereby family separations, and also the adverse impact on states and localities where immigrants are an essential part of the culture, economy, and community.