Thousands March in Newark to Demand Family Reunification and Ending All New Jersey State and Local Resource Use for Federal Immigration Enforcement

 

Elected officials, advocates joined marchers to call for an end to family separation and detention

 

NEWARK, NJ-- From City Hall to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Newark Field Office, thousands of people marched in Newark to call for an end to family separation at the border and in New Jersey. The march was lead by immigrant youth and children separated from their family members. Marchers demanded New Jersey state leadership stand up to Trump’s systematic criminalization and cruel dehumanization of migrants and immigrants by immediately ending all local and state resources from being used on ICE and CBP’s cruel treatment of immigrant families. Most of the 2,500 children separated at the border have yet to be reunited with their families. In New Jersey, thousands of families have been separated by ICE with arrests 42% higher than previous years.  

Immigrant youth who have faced detention spoke about the traumatic experience of family separation and called on New Jersey policymakers to protect immigrants in the state. Speakers also called on state leaders to guarantee effective, pro bono legal counsel to all people in immigration proceedings and ensure that all immigrants can live, drive and study safely in New Jersey.

“I was only 5 when I was held in immigrant detention, away from my mom. I lived in fear for a long time after that. Wind of the Spirit has taught me that fear and hate cannot win if we work together. That is why I march, because we need everyone, especially our state and local representatives, to act. We need NJ to protect all of us from terroristic ICE practices. We must abolish ICE and decriminalize asylum, to make our country safe for all,” said Alondra, Youth Advocate, Wind of the Spirit (Last name withheld).

"As a Dreamer who crossed the border as a small child seeking refuge in the United States with my family, the Trump administration's cruelty shakes me to my core. Immigrant youth are under attack by a government that rules with an agenda of white supremacy and hate, and ICE officers who seek to detain and deport us all - whether its at the border or here in New Jersey. Today we stand in unity and resistance because our families belong together. It's time to abolish ICE and stand up for our families," said Erika Martinez, Make the Road New Jersey.

“As a mother, there is nothing more cruel and inhumane than seeing children ripped apart from their families,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “The President has made it his mission to tear families apart, but we won’t stand for this. Phil and I will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect immigrant rights and defend the values that our country was founded upon.”

“Family separation is not just happening at the border. New Jersey has more counties that carry out immigration enforcement on behalf of ICE than some border states like Arizona. Our tax dollars used to separate thousands of New Jersey families. Moms and dads are stalked and detained by ICE on their way to work or while dropping their kids off to school. A simple traffic violation puts someone is danger of being separated by ICE,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “New Jersey state leadership must act now expand access to driver’s licenses and to stop all state and local resources from going towards these harmful immigration enforcement tactics and make New Jersey a Fair and Welcoming state for all immigrants.”

“I’m proud to stand with New Jerseyans across our state to condemn the Trump Administration’s heartless zero tolerance policy. I applaud the decision of a federal court ordering the Administration to reunite the separated children, and I hope the Administration promptly complies. But we must be vigilant and make sure the more than 2,000 children who were torn away from their families at our southern border reunite with their parents. We will not let this President bully us into believing that we should fear immigrant children and families who seek safety and asylum in the United States. Here in New Jersey we believe that the United States must always be a beacon of hope to those fleeing violence and injustice in the darkest corners of the world, and we are proud to stand together to say once and for all that families belong together,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

“It’s hard to find words to describe the policy of separating children from their mothers and fathers as they seek safety from violence and persecution. Words like cruel, inhumane and heartless have been used, but they fall short. Public outcry led the President to stop ICE from ripping terrified kids away from the only sense of safety that they have, but we cannot afford to  quiet down for his bait and switch. Instead of caging kids and families separately, he wants to hold them indefinitely — and he’s been silent about reuniting the hundreds of children who were separated from their parents over the past several weeks. We have to be the voices of these people who have come here, to a nation of immigrants, for asylum and for opportunity. I’m proud to continue to fight on their behalves, and equally proud to see so many others do the same. We cannot allow Republicans in Congress and the White House to commit these atrocities,” said Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman.

"In a span of a few months, we've seen the cruelty with which immigrant and migrant families are treated at the border and in New Jersey. The treatment of people fleeing their countries and seeking asylum in the U.S. is not only unjust but very often inhumane. It is time to shine a light on the destructive power the current administration has over human lives. We march in solidarity with all immigrants," said Erin Chung, President of Women for Progress.

"The criminalization of immigration is a stain on the fabric of this nation. To treat people like this, tearing them apart from their families without a trace of compassion, shows the true character, ignorance, and heartlessness of officials in Washington, from the White House down to the Congressional Republicans that support it with their compliance or silence. And this is not only about what's happening at our borders; it's about the mass deportations carried out by ICE, at a rate higher than the national average, that are separating families right here in New Jersey. We demand that our state legislators act now to protect all NJ families,” said Elizabeth Meyer, Founder, Women's March on NJ.

“It is not enough for the Trump Administration to use xenophobic and racist policies to attack our immigrant and migrant brothers and sisters. Their zero tolerance policy rips away the humanity of these families and shows the heartless of this administration. It is time for our federal and state legislators to stand on the side of families and stand up to denounce the caging of these kids and families,” said Analilia Executive Director of New Jersey Working Families.



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In partnership with:

Communications Workers of America - NJ Chapter

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ

Make the Road NJ

BlueWaveNJ

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Working Families

NJ 11th for Change

Wind of the Spirit

Women for Progress

1199 SEIU

ACLU-NJ

American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Health Professionals and Allied Employees

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Ironbound Community Corporation

National Association of Social Workers - NJ Chapter

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Labor

NJ08 for Progress

SPAN

Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ

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In partnership with:

Communications Workers of America - NJ Chapter

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ

Make the Road NJ

BlueWaveNJ

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

New Jersey Working Families

NJ 11th for Change

Wind of the Spirit

Women for Progress

1199 SEIU

ACLU-NJ

American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program

Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Health Professionals and Allied Employees

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Ironbound Community Corporation

National Association of Social Workers - NJ Chapter

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Labor

NJ08 for Progress

SPAN

Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ