Local Immigrant Advocates Applaud Governor Cuomo Press Conference on ICE Raids–Call for More Support to Local Groups on the Frontlines
CONTACT INFORMATION: Rebecca Fuentes, organizer with the WCCNY, firstname.lastname@example.org (315) 657-6799
Fabiola Ortiz Valdez, organizer with the New York Immigration Coalition, email@example.com (718) 514-6265
April 25, 2018, Syracuse, NY – On April 18, 2018, organizers from the Workers’ Center of CNY received a frantic call from a dairy farmer, John Collins, stating that just minutes before he had witnessed an unlawful arrest of his employee, Marcial De Leon Aguilar. Mr. Collins recounted how at least seven officers dressed in civilian clothes came to his farm without a warrant and physically assaulted and arrested Mr. De Leon Aguilar in front of his small children, as well as assaulting Mr. Collins and destroying his property.
Today, Governor Cuomo held a press conference condemning the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid that took place in Rome, NY. We are thrilled that Governor Cuomo is ready to commit resources to fight the aggressions of ICE in upstate NY. Advocates and community members in Syracuse share the Governor’s outrage. We support the Governor in taking necessary steps to ensure that our immigrant communities are safe, such as his proposed executive order that bars ICE from entering NY State facilities without a warrant.
Peter Swords, a social worker and member of the Syracuse Peace Council states: “These actions send a message of affirmation to all that NY State continues its historic welcome of immigrants and refugees. It particularly reassures families with children that they have some protection against arbitrary traumatic removal of their parents, and that families will feel safer about entering courts, schools, and hospitals, so they will keep their rights to self-determination in the important areas of housing, education and employment.”
We believe the Governor can even more effectively protect immigrant rights and public safety by reaching out to the local organizations who are documenting and responding first to these incidents for their policy and action suggestions. We urge all NYS Legislators and the Governor to support the campaign Green Light NY Driving Together to expand access to driver’s licenses, including to undocumented immigrants. In addition, these groups are highly under-resourced for their work. We strongly encourage targeting funding to these frontline grassroots organizations to ensure that immigrant needs are being met as effectively as possible.
Sheila Sicilia, a member of the Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network said: “The IRDN and the Workers’ Center, along with other community groups, have been fighting for human rights against the abuses of ICE and CBP. We thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing and speaking out about this growing problem, and welcome him and the resources that he can provide.”
Kayla Kelechian, an organizer with the Workers’ Center of NY said in a statement: “The fear that plagues this community is reinforced by the use of illegal raids and physically aggressive tactics by ICE and the federal government. Both ICE and the Federal government under the Trump administration violated the rights of New Yorkers. In this case, citizenship did not matter–lawful citizens and immigrants are both affected. We must recognize the organizations and the resources they provide, regardless of their capacity, to advocate for the directly-affected, and the families who are left devastated. They continue to be our greatest asset in response to these difficult times.”