Immigrant Youth and Allies Hold Over 20 Community Gatherings to Build Line of Defense for Immigrants & Refugees


Gatherings Lay Foundation for Local Sanctuary and Deportation Defense Plans to Protect All Immigrants and Save DACA; Prepare for Mass Mobilizations on January 14th

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2016
Adam Luna | 202.486.3020 | [email protected]

Washington, D.C. & cities nationwide — This week, immigrant youth and leaders from United We Dream’s local affiliates, MoveOn.org and other grassroots groups are hosting community gatherings across the country to organize neighbors to create sanctuary spaces and deportation defense teams ahead of a Trump administration. Seventeen events have happened so far this week with five more scheduled for the coming days.

Gatherings of hundreds have been held in: Salt Lake City, UT; Golden, CO; Torrington, CT; Hartford, CT; Biloxi, MS; Cathedral City, CA; Pismo Beach, CA; Vancouver, WA; San Juan, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Yonkers, NY; Florida City, FL; Houston, TX; Danbury, CT; San Diego County, CA; Bellevue, WA; and Albuquerque, NM. Upcoming gatherings are scheduled in: Houston, TX; Medford, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Waukegan, IL; and Miami, FL. A full list of events and more information can be found below or at WeAreHereToStay.org.

Leaders also laid the groundwork for a nationwide mobilization on January 14th, where people of all backgrounds will stand up for immigrants and refugees and declare their intention to resist the Trump agenda.

For more than a year, Donald Trump has vowed to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) which has protected nearly 800,000 young people from deportation, provided them with the ability to work and improved the wellbeing of their entire families and communities. He has promised to create a Muslim registry, mass deportations and has hired anti-immigrant extremists to develop his immigration strategy.

In Florida, Mariana Martinez, Organizer for United We Dream in Homestead, FL, said: “Last Saturday, undocumented folks and allies came together in Florida City for a posada — a traditional gathering for the holiday season — to celebrate our culture and understand the politics we will face in the new year. Families were enthusiastic about learning their rights when encountering law enforcement, learning about the upcoming political climate and sharing their worries with one another as they built community in a healing space. Our community left with a clear understanding of the road ahead, a sense of urgency to fight together to stop deportations and ready to take action on January 14th.”

In New Mexico, Felipe Rodriguez, Lead Coordinator for New Mexico Dream Team in Albuquerque, NM, said, “We know that this is a moment of uncertainty, but we reminded the community that we are not alone! Immigrant young people like us made DACA happen when everyone thought it was impossible. The reason we succeeded is because we dared to dream together and we had each other’s back. We need you to join us out on the streets with our #HereToStay campaign to protect all of our immigrant community from deportation and protect DACA for the nearly 800,000 people who have it!”

In Connecticut, Anghy Idrovo, Lead Coordinator for Connecticut Students for a Dream in Danbury, CT, said: “ Undocumented youth led community gatherings in Torrington, Hartford and Danbury this week and at each, UConn students, immigrant workers, educators and allies of all backgrounds arrived ready to protect the immigrant community from Trump’s regime. Our state is one of diversity where we make each other feel safe. That’s why in the coming months, we’re hopeful that together we can approach our police departments and city councils to make our city a safe haven for immigrants and communities of color.“

In Texas, Oscar Hernandez, Organizer at United We Dream – Houston in Houston, TX, said: “With a Trump presidency and new Texas legislative session on the horizon, it is now time for our city to put protective policies in place. Houston is our home and we’re here to stay. Houstonians came together to lay the groundwork to resist the Trump regime’s plan to deport us, inflict racist “stop and frisk” policies and a Muslim registry on us.

“I grew up in Houston and am one of the 60,000 young people in Houston eligible for the DACA program which has protected me from deportation and given my family mental and financial security. I’m going to fight to save DACA and fight to ensure that my mom and all undocumented people are safe too.”

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 local groups in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants. You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org