Standing up for immigrants in our community
Immigrants are the backbone and lifeblood of our community here on the west side of Manhattan.Without them, this city could not function. As an immigration attorney in New York and New Jersey, I meet with people every day from all walks of life, and I can tell you the overwhelming majority of immigrants are hard working. They open businesses, pay taxes, and are law abiding, decent people who want the best for their families. I often think of my own immigrant grandparents who owned a deli on 85th street and Broadway for thirty years. Their hopes and dreams were identical to the immigrants whom I meet today.
Today’s immigrants are the newest wave of the American story and they help make this city the special place it is today.
On Thursday, October 26th, Anu Joshi from the New York Immigration Coalition and Frank Barker from the New Sanctuary Coalition joined me and the Ansonia Independent Democrats, Park River Independent Democrats and Hell's Kitchen Democrats for a forum on the current state of immigration policy. Anu presented the legislative history of the DREAM Act and DACA, and explained the cruelty happening today with the abrupt ending of this vital program. Frank shared his own story of his struggle with the immigration system in New York City. I want to thank them again for their time and much valued perspectives.
These organizations need our help on the front lines of this struggle. There are no words to describe the level of fear in the immigrant community (OUR community) now that Donald Trump is president. We might laugh about the level of incompetence of this administration, but the one area they have succeeded with devastating effects is in immigration enforcement. Deportations and arrests have skyrocketed, ICE raids have increased dramatically, and rules have changed making the process more difficult for people to legalize their status. DACA, the program for Dreamers was ended, leaving some of the most vulnerable people in our community without a voice to defend themselves from attacks. It is our responsibility – and my duty – to stand up for them.
I hope you will join me in this fight.
To get involved with New Sanctuary Coalition and sign up for a volunteer accompaniment training, go to http://www.newsanctuarynyc.org/accompaniment-program-2/.
To find out more about New York Immigration Coalition and the current legislative advocacy efforts they are working on, please go to http://www.thenyic.org/.
- Seth Levy, Esq.
Vice-President, Ansonia Independent Democrats