STAMFORD, Conn. — Immigrants and their allies rallied Wednesday outside the Stamford Courthouse, calling on the Trump administration to create a more just and considerate national immigration policy.
The local rally was held in support of the massive “Defend Our Immigrant Communities” mobilization that took place the same day in Washington, D.C.
The Stamford rally included Mayor David Martin, Rep. Caroline Simmons and Sen. Carlo Leone along with TPS holders, DREAMers, labor and community organizations, and faith leaders.
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.
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,” Martin said.
Leone called for an inclusive federal policy. "When it comes to immigration, the Trump administration does not see a human being with a job, a family, a life story. America’s immigration policy is broken through inaction and needs fixing, but it doesn’t need to be made more cruel and arbitrary, as President Trump wants to do without bipartisan support.
"Our great country is founded upon and made up of immigrants. The national immigration policy needs to reflect America’s history of welcoming people from around the globe to be a part of a hardworking nation and its various close-knit communities. That’s what a Clean DREAM Act and maintaining the Temporary Protected Status of displaced immigrants will do.”
Simmons also called for support to keep families together.
"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," she said. "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."
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. The rally attendees called on Congress to 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.”
Alberto Bernardez, Assistant Supervisor of 32BJ SEIU Connecticut, called for support for immigrants facing deportation.
“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 Bernardez. “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 Dec. 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.”
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