News release from rally organizers. Hartford Courant article here.
Hartford, CT — Today, hundreds protested outside Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to call for the abolition of ICE, a deadly institution that is caging Connecticut immigrants and tearing apart families every day. ICE unfairly jails immigrants while they await a decision on their immigration status, which is a civil, not criminal, matter. Over 30 individuals were arrested by Hartford PD in front of the Federal Building. The immigrant community, joined by many organizations, took over the Plaza with signs, banners, and chants for several hours.
The protest marked a day when the federal government is erecting a new camp to cage 47,000 migrants indefinitely under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy. This week, the federal government is also expected to ramp up the mass criminalization of migrants on the border through an expansion of Operation Streamline.
Organizations at the protest today represented a wide cross section of communities, including: the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), Immigrant families directly impacted by deportations, Local Clergy, Connecticut Students for a Dream, Connecticut Bail Fund, Hartford Deportation Defense, Make the Road CT, Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), Planned Parenthood Votes!, ACLU of CT, Action Together CT, Women’s March CT, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT), Windham Immigrant Rights Coalition (WIRC), Shoreline Indivisible, Fairfield County Indivisible.
Alicia Strong, CAIR-CT Executive Director, “In the past few weeks the injustices carried out through ICE have garnered national attention. However, from the institution’s very inception, ICE has criminalized immigrants. It is our moral duty to oppose any organization that systematically targets vulnerable populations.”
Patricia Rosas, New Britain Resident and member of Hartford Deportation Defense, “Esta lucha no es de hoy, hace muchos años que venimos luchando para conseguir cosas. Y hay que luchar para que nos den algo permanente, que no tengamos que estar ya con esta angustia, con este miedo. Si hemos luchado por venir a este pais para mejorar, para ofrecerles un mejor futuro a nuestros hijos, no somos ningunos criminales como nos tienen catalogados. Este es el momento de que la gente salga y alce su voz! Llegó el momento a que se nos vaya el miedo.”
Sonia Hernandez, Make the Road CT (MRCT) Leader in the Madres en Accion, “Quiero incitarlos a que hablemos, y tomemos acción. Que no nos quedemos callados, que defendamos nuestros derechos y dignidad, que ICE y esta administración no nos intimiden a que uno mismo se auto deporte, tenemos que darle la lucha, no solo por nosotros, también por nuestra familia y comunidad. Por que un pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!”
Vania Galicia, undocumented ECSU Student and member of Windham Immigrant Rights Coalition (WIRC), “I will not trade my safety for the safety of my family and my community. I demand a permanent solution for pathway to citizenship that won’t criminalize our community.”
Reverend Kent Siladi, CT Conference Minister United Church of Christ, “I follow Jesus, an immigrant and a refugee whose mission was to “bring good news to the poor … release to the captives … sight to the blind … let the oppressed go free.” As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. Our current immigration policies are unjust and violate the basic commitments of faith traditions that center on the dignity and worth of all people.”
Najely Clavijo, undocumented leader of CT Students for a Dream, Danbury “I want to make my voice heard by the people that are against us. I wake up every day and say good bye to the people I love because I don’t know if that’s the day they will be arrested by ICE and deported. This is a fear that me and many others feel everyday. This will be our reality until ICE is abolished so I demand our leaders take action to protect our communities now.”
David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said: “Connecticut can and must stand up to keep families free and together. It is long past time to dismantle the deportation and mass incarceration machines that destroy lives and betray equality, justice, and liberty. We have a message for the Trump administration and for all politicians who would rather drag Connecticut back to the failed mass incarceration policies of the 1980s than move forward toward justice: you live in our America, not the other way around.”