New York Immigration Coalition and Advocates Rally for Immigrants’ Rights

June 30th, 2017

Release film 48 Hours of Resistance about the grassroots resistance at JFK in January​

New York—Last night, just hours before Trump’s Muslim and Refugee ban went into effect, The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and advocates rallied in protest at Union Square.

On Monday the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the Fall about Trump’s Muslim ban. The court upheld a portion of the ban restricting access for travelers from six majority Muslim countries without a “bona fide relationship” to someone in the United States. Guidance released by the State Department on Wednesday defined the relationship to include parents, siblings, children, spouses, daughters- and sons-in-law. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents do not count.

"Donald Trump does not get decide who is family or what is love. Grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins are important members of our families, and they should not be cut out of this country. The Trump Administration is deliberately misinterpreting the Supreme Court decision, which intended for all Americans to be reunited with close family members, yet another slap in the face of this country's system of checks and balances. It's up to the people now to fight back against this latest attack and stand up for the values that truly make America great: opportunity and justice for all," said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

"This travel ban is not “in the interest of national security,” it is a Muslim ban. Our nation has a history of disgracefully restricting immigration and targeting different immigrant groups “in the interest of national security” from quotas being set on Jewish refugee immigration to Japanese-Americans being put in internment camps on our own soil. Now, our Muslim brothers and sisters are the targets, and we must do all we can to stop this discrimination," said Public Advocate Letitia James.

In response to the enactment of Trump’s first Muslim and refugee ban, The New York Immigration Coalition led the #NoBanJFK movement, assisting travelers from over 20 countries and organizing hundreds of lawyers and volunteers. The protests at JFK sparked actions across the nation, including a rally held in Battery Park the next day, which drew over 30,000 people.

The New York Immigration premiered a short film about the experience at JFK at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Wednesday. It can be viewed here.

“The arbitrary, politicized rules being written at the direction of this White House will not make us safer – they will just split up families, cause human suffering, and lower our standing in the world,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This is un-American. Whether in court or at the ballot box, we will overturn these unjust policies and history will judge those who wrote them.”

Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, "The Muslim Ban violates everything our communities stand for. We will not allow the Trump administration to get away with its attacks on our communities. Latinos and immigrants stand with our Muslim and refugee brothers and sisters today, and always. We will continue to resist at every turn and ensure that the ban is overturned."

Héctor Figueroa, President 32BJ SEIU: “Allowing Trump's Muslim ban to go into effect is not only wrong; it's an insult to our values as a country of immigrants. As we have already witnessed at airports across the country, this ban will turn into a nightmare. Families will be divided; workers won’t be able to return to work; businesses will lose loyal employees and valuable customers. Students won’t be going back to school; whole communities will be disrupted and traumatized. This ban won't make us safer but instead tarnish our nation's reputation as a beacon of freedom. This un-American ban should be permanently suspended and banished into distant memory.”

George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16: "We are a union of immigrants in a city of immigrants. We don't fear refugees. The New York Teamsters stand fully opposed to the Muslim Ban and in support of our immigrant communities. America once welcomed immigrants, particularly those most in need of help, whether fleeing conflict or seeking economic opportunity. We can and should be that country again."

Rama Issa, ED of AAANY: "We at the Arab American Association of New York, the largest legal service provider in South Brooklyn serving Arab immigrants and refugees, are outraged at the Supreme Court's decision to temporarily reinstate some of Donald Trump's travel ban. The exclusion of non-"bonafide" relations as defined by the administration, perpetuates the pain of separation that immigrant families often feel especially to a community that relies on close ties with extended family members. Our community believes that this Ban continues to unjustifiably target Muslims and national security threats cannot continue to be used as an excuse for religious discrimination!"

Those seeking legal advice for someone who may be detained at one of these airports affected by the Muslim Ban should call our hotline at 844-326-4940.

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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.