For Immediate Release Thursday, June 20, 2019
Press Contact: Assefash Makonnen
E-mail: Assefash@africans.us On World Refugee Day, Hundreds Protest the Deaths of Immigrants and Refugees in ICE/CBP Detention
June 20th, 2019
New York, NY -- On the occasion of World Refugee Day, a global day in honor of refugees, hundreds of New Yorkers mobilized for the third annual World Refugee Day March and Rally. This year, marchers called on members of Congress to reject the criminalization of refugees and asylum seekers and support the expansion of humanitarian immigration policies, like H.R.6, the Dream and Promise Act.
The protest, organized by the City of Refuge Coalition, condemned the deaths of six migrant children that have died in the custody of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) since September 2018, as well as the detention and caging of refugees and asylum seekers. Marchers wheeled a cage containing children’s stuffed animals wearing emergency blankets symbolizing detained children and those who have died in custody. Speakers denounced conditions at detention facilities that some advocates and historians have compared to concentration camps.
The Coalition also announced the introduction of new state legislation, S6521 (Bailey), which would cap the fees that asylum seekers and other detained immigrants pay immigration bail bond companies. Organizers called on New York State legislators to reform New York’s immigration bail bond system and enable asylum seekers by passing the bill into law.
“It’s not enough for our New York officials to condemn the caging of refugees and asylum seekers. We need them to do everything in their power to get refugees out,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together. “Fighting predatory immigration bonds and funding nonprofit immigration bail funds are concrete steps New York can take to welcome refugees and keep families together.”
"The Trump deportation machine is doing everything it can to slam the doors on people fleeing horrific violence and persecution," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "On World Refugee Day, we come together to recognize the resilience, of refugees while demanding that this administration recognize its moral and legal obligation to adhere to its international obligation to protect the most vulnerable people amongst us--the asylum seekers who have left everything behind just to achieve a measure of safety."
"Funny that a nation built by refugees who fled persecution and poverty would centuries later dehumanize asylum seekers. Being a refugee is neither a choice nor a crime; We will not remain silent and complicit in what is but the extension of institutionalized racism and nationalism."- CGR-New York
“In the face of a global refugee crisis, and the humanitarian disaster of asylum seekers on our southern border, we are called to act, to demand government policies which are just, humane, compassionate and responsive. We reject policies that are punitive, inhumane, racist, cruel, uncaring. Refugees and asylum seekers are our neighbors, our friends, our family members: part of our shared human family!” Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director; Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
“On this World Refugee Day, it’s crucial that we fight not just the physical walls being put up against immigration; we must also challenge the growing electronic barriers for refugees,” said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn, Esq. “The Trump Administration is increasingly targeting refugee-seekers with social media monitoring, facial recognition, and other forms of discriminatory surveillance. Here in New York, our own policing practices only aggravate the situation; we can’t have both a ‘sanctuary city’ and a surveillance state.”
“The Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) advocates for and empowers Arab, immigrant, low-income, and refugee communities in New York City. Our members have fled war-torn countries, natural disasters, and fear of prosecution to seek safety. Under the current federal administration, we are all in danger. We march on World Refugee Day to send a message that our community is resilient, and we will continue to fight for refugee, TPS, and immigrant rights.” - Arab American Association of New York (AAANY)
About African Communities Together
African Communities Together (ACT) is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and back in Africa.
About the City of Refuge Coalition
The City of Refuge Coalition is an alliance of 30 immigrant, religious, labor, and humanitarian organizations committed to defending refugee resettlement, asylum, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and other humanitarian immigration policies.