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Activists plan NYC immigration rally larger than Washington march

Immigration reform groups in New York told the New York Daily News recently that they plan to fight even harder for change in upcoming weeks, even after the extraordinary Oct. 8 Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on the National Mall. At that rally more than 200 people, including eight members of Congress, were arrested for refusing to move from outside the closed Capitol building.

"The National Mall rally was unprecedented in its size but we will double and triple those numbers until Democrats and Republicans get together," said the executive director of the Arab-American Association on New York, who was among those arrested in Washington.

The rally in the capital was itself the finale in a series of some 160 such events nationwide. "This was my first time in jail, but it may not be the last," she added. "We will continue doing this because we are tired of the lies, the deportations, the young people without opportunity to further their studies."

That sentiment was echoed by another of those arrested in Washington, particularly with regard to the record number of ICE detainments and deportations that have taken place under the Obama administration. Deportations are on track to pass two million under the president’s watch, she said.

“[Obama] issued an executive order to grant Dreamers a temporary legal status,” said a 65-year-old woman who is a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition, “and he could do the same to stop deportations.”

The activists are pressing for two basic changes:

  • The President needs to stop these deportations, which cruelly and senselessly separate families.
  • Congress needs to reform U.S. immigration law so that it provides a sensible path to citizenship, protects families from separation through deportation, and ends the pointless and hostile immigration enforcement mechanisms of the past decade.

“I’ve come to believe that we need extreme measures for something to happen,” the head of the Arab-American Association told reporters. “Peaceful civil disobedience is what will make things move and there will be more such actions in the coming weeks here in New York and other cities.”

Source: New York Daily News, “Immigration reform activists vow to ramp up pressure on Congress to pass reform legislation,” Albor Ruiz, Oct. 13, 2013

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