By Maria Roman
A rally took place on Wednesday, January 6, on the corner of Grand Avenue and Ferry Street in a predominately Latino section of New Haven, in response to the recent detainment of undocumented (“illegal”) immigrants through raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in other states. The raids came after the release of a statement by the Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh C. Johnson on January 4, who said, “our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.”
At Wednesday’s rally, the message was clear for the immigrants to protect their families by exercising their rights. Yale Law School Dean Michael Wishnie, Director of Jerome N. Legal Services, said faculty and students would defend those arrested, as was previously the case in 2007 when ICE unexpectedly detained 32 undocumented immigrants in New Haven. “We will rise up again,” said Wishnie.
A statement prepared by Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), sent this message to DHS: “We will not be intimidated, we are a strong, organized and educated community and we demand an end to the raids.”
New Haven’s Mayor Toni Harp, Police Chief Deputy Dean Esserman and Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries assured the community that although they could not stop ICE if they came to New Haven, they would not aid with deportation.
The gathering was put together through the collaboration of community organizations JUNTA for Progressive Action, Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA) and CIRA with the purpose of informing community members about their rights and what to do if ICE approaches them.
For more information:
About JUNTA: http://juntainc.org/en/
About ULA: https://ulanewhaven.org/