Yesterday, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) led a 4,000-person rally at Foley Square where 13 people were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Manhattan entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. Thousands of New Yorkers held “I pledge to protect immigrant New York” signs and chanted “immigrants are welcome here”, sending a direct message to the Administration that immigrants are here to stay.
Speakers included: DACA-Recipients, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Public Advocate Tish James, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, RWDSU, 32BJ and others.
The rally was a response to the Trump administration’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects over 800,000 young people, who were brought to the United States as children, from deportation.
Earlier that day, NYIC hosted a press conference with business leaders and elected officials, slamming the repeal.
"Donald Trump's decision to end DACA means that September 5th, 2017 will be remembered as a dark day in our nation’s history,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “America will not be safer or richer by depriving nearly one million young people of their liberty, tearing away 700,000 workers from our labor force or robbing the U.S. economy of $460 billion in GDP. This is a senseless and self-defeating act which flies in the face of the principles that truly make America great: opportunity and justice for all." DACA is an important economic development tool for the nation, providing educational and job opportunities previously unavailable to nearly 1 million young people; 65% of DACA recipients are currently in school, and of those, 70% are currently working.
New York State protects more than 50,000 DACA recipients, one of the largest populations in the nation. Repealing DACA will significantly harm the local to economy as DACA recipients pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes and contribute nearly $2.6 billion to New York’s annual GDP. 91% of DACA recipients are employed nationwide.
“New York City's business community will urge Congress to act quickly to provide Dreamers, their families and their employers with assurance that America will not turn its back on them, making legalization of their status the first step in comprehensive immigration reform that is essential to the economic future of this country,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
"This is about the heart and soul of America — who we are, what we believe, and how we treat young people. Every Dreamer should know that we are prepared to fight. New York City won't give up, because we will always stand up for right over wrong," New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said.
Attorney General Schneiderman said, "President Trump's decision to end the DACA program would be cruel, gratuitous, and devastating to tens of thousands of New Yorkers—and I will sue to protect them. Dreamers are Americans in every way. They played by the rules. They pay their taxes. And they've earned the right to stay in the only home they have ever known. More than 40,000 New Yorkers are protected under DACA. They pay more than $140 million in state and local taxes. They are vital members of our community. The poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty—written by the descendant of early Jewish immigrants—promises this nation will "lift its lamp" for the huddled masses. New York will never break that promise. And neither will my office."
View photos of the rally here.
Today’s announcement comes after nine states led by Texas threatened to sue the Trump Administration unless it moved to end the program by Tuesday. A coalition of legal experts, business leaders, elected officials and advocacy groups called on the Trump administration to uphold the program.
DACA allowed individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children or teens before mid-2007 to apply for protection from deportation and work permits if they met certain requirements. Beneficiaries had to be under the age of 16 upon entering the country; no older than 31 as of June 15, 2012; lived continuously in the U.S. since mid-2007; be enrolled in high school or college, already have a diploma or degree, have a GED certificate or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. military; and have no felony criminal convictions, significant misdemeanor convictions, no more than three other misdemeanor convictions or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
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.