Mayor Martin and Rep. Simmons join TPS holders, DREAMers, labor, community organizations, faith leaders and allies to demand Congressional action
STAMFORD, Conn. — Immigrants and their allies rallied today outside the Stamford Judicial Courthouse in support of the massive “Defend Our Immigrant Communities” mobilization that took place the same day in Washington, D.C. Responding to the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on immigrant communities, speakers demanded that Congress make good on its promises to pass a clean Dream Act and protect Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries before the end of the year. Speakers also supported the immigrants across Connecticut targeted for deportation by the current administration, many of whom had been granted stays of deportation under previous administrations.
Stamford Mayor David Martin stressed that this sweeping anti-immigrant agenda runs counter to the spirit embodied by the city of Stamford itself: “Stamford is one of the nation’s most successful and most diverse cities, and I believe it is our honor and our privilege to advance our country’s most unique aspirations and solemn privileges, first advanced by Thomas Jefferson… ‘That ALL are created equal’”
“My heart goes out to families across the country who are living in fear every day that they will separated from their children who have grown up in the U.S. since they were little. I feel so lucky to live in a city like Stamford, that has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants from all different backgrounds, and we will continue to stand up for and fight for our immigrant community here in Stamford and across Connecticut,” said State Representative Caroline Simmons
Immigrant communities have been confronting a series of attacks and setbacks, particularly the termination of DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and Nicaraguans. Tens of thousands of other TPS holders face uncertainty as the renewal deadlines loom. Congress can pass the Dream Act for immigrant youth and a solution for the 300,000 TPS holders who have long made America their home.
“Temporary Protected Status is given to people that left their countries because of natural disasters,” said Lucas Codognalia, Executive Director of CT Students for a Dream. “And now, we’re cutting these programs and sending people back to countries where we could be sending them basically back to their death. And we’re letting that happen. I want folks to really think about what we’re doing.”
“It was with great relief that I accepted Temporary Protected Status after the devastating hurricane in Honduras in 1998,” said Fausto Canelas, a member of 32BJ SEIU, resident of Bridgeport, and recipient of TPS for 19 years. “I have built a life here and helped provide for my family back home. We’re asking the President and Congress to recognize the tremendous disruptions in our lives, in our communities and in the economies of the United States and our home countries if TPS is ended.”
“We all fear for the grim fate that awaits thousands of TPS and DACA recipients if Congress fails to act. But we also must raise our voices in protest against the deportation of immigrants like Nelson Pinos and our member Francisco Acosta, who is the sole caretaker for his ill mother, a U.S. citizen. ” said Alberto Bernardez, Assistant Supervisor of 32BJ SEIU Connecticut. “Even so, despite having been granted work authorization and stays of removals for years, at his November check-in, Francisco was ordered to appear on December 18 with a one-way ticket home. We cannot stay quiet when these injustices occur. We must raise our voices and say enough is enough.”
Immigrant activists have been building momentum throughout the year with a series of marches and Congressional actions aimed at raising the voices of more than a million immigrants working and studying here with temporary working permits. Tens of thousands will rally on Capitol Hill to continue putting pressure on Congress to include provisions that protect immigrant families.
“The religious communities recognize that not only do immigrants make our communities stronger and healthier, welcoming and integrating them into our communities is the moral thing to do. Indeed, immigrants are always welcome here!” said Rev. Mark Lingle of St. Francis Episcopal Church.
With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country and one of the largest unions representing immigrant workers in the country.