Protesters sleep outside Democratic leader’s home in New York demanding pathway to citizenship
Taking a creative approach to garner support for their demand for a pathway to citizenship, immigrants with sleeping bags and blankets slept outside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Brooklyn, New York, home.
The novel demonstration Tuesday night was to put pressure on Democratic leaders to ignore the Senate parliamentarian’s advisory opinion and include pathway for immigrants to gain citizenship in the budget reconciliation package this year.
“Today we are going to sleep on the street. We only have sleeping bags on the sidewalks to let him know we are here. We are asking for help and support,” Manuel Farfan, a young leader from Make the Road New York, was cited as saying by amny.com.
“We want him to know we are here and want actions now,” he said adding that the number of people sleeping outside does not compare to millions who live in fear of deportation.
“We are here today to put pressure on Senator Schumer in order to create a path for citizenship to give us his support and vote. We’ve been having a lot of struggles during the pandemic,” Farfan said.
“I’m here to represent my family, all of the immigrants, and all of the essential workers that have struggled during the pandemic. We’ve been fighting for decades, a lot of protest pushing this effort,” he said.
Hosted by Make the Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, Carroll Gardens Association, Faith in New York, and other advocates, they spent the entire night fighting for permanent protection without the fear of deportation.
Sleeping bags and mats were carefully placed along Prospect Park adjacent to Schumer’s home, where demonstrators ate together, discussed how immigrants are the backbone of the United States economy, amny.com reported.
They also talked about the catastrophic impact the pandemic had on them while some struggled to maintain work and others worked throughout quarantine within essential industries.
Protesters have previously held numerous rallies and demonstrations, and sleep out was their latest effort to gain Schumer’s attention to their cause.
“For decades, immigrants have relentlessly organized and fought to remain together with their loved ones without fear of deportation, and come out of the shadows to continue to live in the country they consider their home,” NYIC said in a press release.
Murad Awawdeh, NYIC Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition, said, “We are bringing the full brunt of our movement to Senate Majority Chuck Schumer’s doorstep.”
“Our occupation has one clear demand,” he said, “Senate Majority Leader Schumer must listen to a majority of American voters and secure legalization for millions of hard-working families who have kept both New York State and the country running throughout this pandemic.
“We are at a critical moment in the battle for immigrant justice. It’s time that our elected leadership understands the stakes.”
Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar, said, “For decades immigrant communities, including our Nepali-speaking community, have fought for a pathway to citizenship Every new election, candidates promise to deliver on citizenship but never prioritize immigrants when in office.”
“We can not end this administration’s first year without achieving meaning immigration relief. Doing so will be a broken promise to our communities” said Manuel Castro, executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE).
“This is why immigrant families are out here fighting to ensure our congressional leaders, President (Joe) Biden, and Vice President (Kamala) Harris meet their promises and finally recognize the sacrifices our families have endured.”