Rights for Undocumented Immigrants
From El Diario
April 21, 2004
By Rosa Margarita Murphy
Various civil rights organizations demonstrated
in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Building
in Manhattan to protest the recent arrests
of undocumented immigrants in local airports and request reforms in immigration
Members of the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn organized the
protest, which included many youths who criticized and condemned
of the Department
of Homeland Security for having detained immigrants because of their physical
”We support the people who have been detained. We believe
that it is not just for people who are trying to work and reunite
themselves with their families
to be treated like criminals,” said Michelle de la Uz, executive director
of the Fifth Avenue Committee.
The activists who gathered to protest, expressed
their displeasure at the events of the past week, when civil employees of
the Department of Homeland Security
arrested more than 130 undocumented immigrants on domestic flights in airports
in New York and Newark.
“We are asking that all the people in the United States
be treated equally and that they respect their rights,” protested
De la Uz.
Sporting posters reading, “Don’t separate
our families,” “Stop
the Detentions,” and “We are not all criminals,” the
protestors walked in a circle, while they shouted, “The city is united,
it will never be defeated” among other phrases.
De la Uz thinks that
the current immigration laws force immigrants to take drastic decisions
and risk their lives in order to reunite with their loved
"If the laws were more humane, the people would be able to
reunite with their families and work without problems,” she
said. Sam J. Miller, 26 years old and of Jewish heritage, said
that he joined the protest because it bothered him to know that
human beings are punished
simply because they have Latin or African accents. “I was born
here. Two generations ago, my families came from Russia and Poland,” said
Miller. The only thing the [Immigration and Naturalization Service]
and some organizations
do is to feed the fear. It hurts to me because many people in this
nation must live with that fear,"
One youth held a poster that
said, “We are all immigrants,” and demanded
that the government stop practicing racial profiling. “I am here
as a Jew, a Caucasian who has certain privileges, I do not have to
face the discrimination
that is a problem for out communities. I am against the institutionalized
hate that is affecting all of us,” added Miller.
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Translated from Spanish by Charlotte