CUNY Students Unite Around Immigration Reform

DREAMers Rally at John Jay College for Convocation

by Lucy Farfan-Narcisse

A diverse group of student leaders and students gathered on September 20, 2013 at John Jay College for the first DREAMers for Real Immigration Reform Leadership Convening.

The main goal and dream that united these students at this convening was Immigration Reform and the upcoming and much anticipated March for Dignity and Respect scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.

“Our goal is plain and simple to get Immigration Reform passed and to get a direct path of citizenship to eleven million people who are currently living without status in this country,” said Manuel Castro, the campaign organizer for The New York Immigration Coalition.

At the New York Immigration Coalition there are over two hundred faith, labor or community-based member organizations.

“This is a social movement and I know that even if we don’t pass Immigration Reform now we will continue to fight until we do,” Castro said.

The main goals and objectives of NYIC and Fair Immigration Reform Movement are to gain a direct path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants by legislation, powerful reunification reform through legislation for all families and greater due process, worker rights and civil rights protection for immigrants and/or conquer bad enforcement provisions.

Castro is leading the faith-based effort, which includes many churches and parishes in immigrant communities across New York.  It is his hope that his outreach will bring several different congregations to the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect.

Initial strategies for the campaign were to build momentum, create a moving narrative and organize groups around New York City and New York State and to form national and grassroots mobilizations.

“Families in New York City are being deported regularly and families in New York City are being impacted and we need to remind the media, elected officials and citizens that deportation is actually occurring,” said Castro.

On October 5, 2013 ninety cities that do work pertaining to Immigration Reform will be organizing a rally, a march, a demonstration or civil disobedience.

“We want something to happen in October and we are going to get it done through escalation-right now is the most critical time in Immigration Reform and this is going to be a super diverse mobilization.”

“It is going to be a really energizing and great event, I’m going to the march without fear even though I am undocumented,” said Jairo Ailerma a student leader at John Jay studying Criminology, member of New York AfroLatinos and, founder of Immigration Services.

In the United States, Dreamers are undocumented students facing many obstacles because of their status especially the fear of deportation. Immigration Reform is an important issue to students and will ultimately determine their futures.

Several DREAMers clubs and organizations have been formed on CUNY campuses across the five boroughs to provide these students with positive representation and protection through educating the student body on immigration issues such as Immigration Reform.

“We have been growing little by little,” said Monica Sibri who is studying Political Science and International Studies and is the president of the newly chartered DREAMers Club at the College of Staten Island.

“Our idea for the movement on October 5, is to send a message that we do not believe undocumented students are Dreamers-we believe that Dreamers are everybody that is looking to achieve a better life and better future for them and their families.”


Categories: News, Politics

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