Syracuse, NY – Today, immigrant youth and people of conscience hosted a Thanksgiving meal in front of Representative John Katko’s Syracuse office to urge him to co-sponsor a clean Dream Act and to speak up for the dignified working conditions of immigrant farm workers in New York. Congressman Katko has yet to take a public stand for immigrant youth who were able to work, drive, go to school and provide for their families with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was killed by Trump’s administration on September 5th.
This action was organized by immigrant youth and people of conscience from the Workers Center of Central New York, the Yonkers Sanctuary Movement, Bread and Roses Collective House, University United Methodist Church – Syracuse NY, CNY Solidarity, Syracuse Peace Council, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), The Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR), Black Lives Matter Syracuse and United We Dream.
Diana Sanchez, DACA recipient, organizer with Yonkers Sanctuary Movement and Hudson Valley Community Coalition, said:
“As Thanksgiving approaches and you sit with your family and friends remember you are very lucky and privileged to share this moment with your loved ones while other families are continuously getting separated from their loved ones by the same people who were once welcomed into this country. I ask Congressman Katko as well as other members of Congress to support a Clean Dream Act so one day my seat will not be empty for at the Thanksgiving table.”
Rebecca Fuentes, lead organizer with Workers Center of Central New York, said:
“I am sitting at this table in front of Congressman Katko’s office to tell him listen to the young people at this table who are fighting for DACA, to have safety and protection from racist immigration enforcement. He needs to be a leader and sponsor a Clean Dream Act. I am also asking him to make sure that the guest worker program, H2A, does not expand to dairies, where current workers will be replaced and who will have their labor rights and protections rescinded so the agricultural industry can have more profits. All at the expense of workers and their families.”
Gabriela Zuniga, 12-years-old, daughter of DACA recipient, said:
“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a time when I get to go with grandma and grandpa’s house, but this year it will be completely different. My grandpa will not be with us, he was stopped by the police because he was driving without a license and was taken away. The empty chair next to me represented my grandpa because he will not be at our Thanksgiving table this year and that makes me and all of my family very sad. That’s why we need Rep.Katko to pass the Dream Act so that not only my grandpa, but many many families like mine don’t have to go through this.”