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For Immediate Release

Victor Guillén Febres

Over a Dozen Immigrant Youth & Allies Arrested in the Cannon Rotunda While Demanding a Ceasefire in Gaza & Permanent Protections for Immigrants

200 immigrant, Palestinian, Jewish youth and allies united in powerful action to demand Congress invest in a future where all humans are free to live and thrive
Contact: press@unitedwedream.org

(Click here for additional content. All attributed to United We Dream.)

Washington, D.C. – Today, 13 immigrant youth and allies were arrested by Capitol Police during a civil disobedience action at the Cannon Building Rotunda demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and permanent protections for immigrants now. The action brought together over 45 organizations across justice movements representing a multiracial, interfaith coalition of immigrant, Palestinian, Jewish, and Black and brown youth across the country and the growing solidarity between young people fighting for collective liberation. 

Earlier this week, the Senate voted to pass its deadly foreign aid package that would send $14.1 billion in weapons to Israel following months of bad-faith efforts by Senators who attempted, but failed, to include harmful anti-immigrant provisions after facing successful pressure from immigrant youth and our communities. Now, the House is taking up the bill and pushing to package military funding to Israel with the revival of Trump-era anti-immigrant policies according to the latest reports.

Interviews with action participants and organizers are available upon request.

Sebastian Cervantes, Member of United We Dream, said:

“It’s important now more than ever to come together as immigrants, people of color, Palestinian people, Jewish people and allies to fight for our collective liberation and right to life and safety. The criminalization, displacement, and violence we have all been witnessing against Palestinians draws disturbing parallels to the violence happening to Brown, Black and immigrant people here in the U.S. That is why our multiracial, interfaith coalition of young people took action today to demand Congress stop funding genocide and militarism in Palestine and deliver the permanent protections all our communities, including immigrants, deserve.”

Sandra Tamari, Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project, said:

“The ongoing negotiations on the supplemental spending package have highlighted just how dispensable our immigrant, Palestinian, Black and brown communities are to President Biden and Members of Congress. Whether in Gaza, at our Southern border, or in our communities here in the U.S., our government has infinite money for violence, genocide, and war. Palestinian and immigrant youth are uniting to demand that Congress get its priorities straight and listen to their base by calling for an immediate ceasefire and protecting life here at home and abroad.”

Intimaa AbuHelou, a Palestinian Fulbright scholar from Gaza who lost 35 members of her immediate family in an Israeli airstrike, said:

“My message to Congress is this: You are complicit in the murders of my family. Their blood is on your hands and you cannot undo that. But you have the power and responsibility to protect the lives of those who are still alive. We demand that you call for a permanent ceasefire now, vote no on more weapons to Israel to commit genocide, and end your complicity in these atrocities.”

Andrew, Youth member of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), said:

“As an Indo-Caribbean undocumented young person living in the U.S., I know what it’s like to be criminalized for the way I look and where I’m from. It’s something I experience constantly within my own school hallways, public transit, and beyond. I took action today alongside other DRUM members, immigrant youth from United We Dream, and our progressive allies, because I refuse to let immigrant communities be used as a bargaining chip for spineless political deals that further criminalize and hurt any of us, whether here or abroad. Immigrant youth like myself, Palestinians, and Black and brown communities at large, are being stripped of our freedoms to move, live, and thrive; and we will not stand for it. We must stop cruel, violent funding from being passed that continues to harm our neighbors and loved ones.”

Aria Hossain, Youth member of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), said:

“Militarism in our borders and around the world does not solve the root causes of migration but instead is a root cause of migration. With that understanding, as immigrants we refuse to be used as bargaining chips for spineless political deals that further criminalize our communities across the world.”

Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, said:

“Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace movement, rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. We applaud the creative actions of United We Dream and their allies to demand justice for all immigrants and for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. We demand that our tax dollars be used for true human security — like housing, health care, education, child care — not for war and destruction, and we want our country to be a nation that fully promotes human rights and dignity for all.”

Elias Lopez, Youth member of Make the Road New York, said:

“From Palestine to the U.S./Mexico border, everyone should have the freedom to stay and the freedom to thrive in their homes. Unfortunately, right now there is a proposed supplemental package in Congress that is set to spend billions of dollars funding the Palestinian genocide and funding the Department of Homeland Security. We will not allow xenophobia, racism, and capitalism to win. Palestinians and immigrants have the right to a better future. Today, and everyday we fight for every single human life. We are demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and permanent protections for immigrants.”

Sana Siddiq, Regional Director DC-MD-VA, Muslims for Just Futures, said:

“We demand that Congress divest from harm and violence and invest in communities of care – it is unconscionable to send additional military funding to Israel as it carries out a genocide against the Palestinian people, and we must end funding to violent borders enforcement. There is a reason for our movement slogan, From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go. We are proud to be putting our words and values into action today.”

Analilia Mejia, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, said:

“Youth understand the value that immigrants bring to this country and the need to invest in their protection, rather than their expulsion. Today, these young people stood tall against legislation that bankrolls inhumanity and elected officials better pay attention.”

Claire Charlo, Indigenous Feminisms Organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network, said: 

“Members of Congress and President Biden are continuing to negotiate the supplemental spending package that furthers a Palestinian genocide. Indigenous Environmental Network stands in solidarity and fights for the liberation for our immigrant, Black, Brown and Palestinian relatives. We recognize that our struggles against colonialism and imperialism parallels each other’s. We must end the occupation and genocide in Palestine immediately. The US government cannot continue to fund genocide”

Marie Mark, Interim Executive Director of the Immigrant Defense Project, said:

“At the Immigrant Defense Project, we see first hand how policing, incarceration, and deportation – at the border and across the country – perpetuate abuses of power and criminalization of communities of color. We will not remain silent while Congress attempts to supercharge funding for ICE and CBP while backing an ongoing genocide in Gaza. Our work is grounded in the principle that no person is disposable, which compels us to fight these cruel systems and speak out against the U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza. We condemn the votes of the Senate Democrats who used our immigrant communities as political pawns, and we condemn the Republicans who continue to maximize cruel immigration policies at the border and in the interior. We call on the House to reject spending on deportation or genocide, and instead invest in communities and protections from criminalization and deportation.  We demand dignity for all and a ceasefire now.

Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project, said:

“We have been appalled to witness the ongoing negotiations in Congress that treat Palestinian communities as dispensable and immigrant and Black and Brown communities as political pawns. Today and every day, we stand with our partners and community members to demand that our government divest from war and violence and invest in helping communities thrive and be free.”

Eva Borgwardt, IfNotNow National Spokesperson, said:

“As Jews, we’re taught that to destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. When President Biden and Congress send billions of dollars in weapons funding and embrace anti-immigrant policies, they’re destroying thousands and thousands of worlds. We’re proud to take action alongside a multiracial, multifaith coalition to demand an immediate, lasting ceasefire in Gaza and permanent protections for all immigrants here in the United States.”

Melanie Cruz-Morales, Co-Founder of College Access for Non-Citizens, said:

“As Undocumented immigrants, we intimately understand that our liberation Is tied to the liberation of our Palestinian relatives. Settler colonialism and the imposition of borders lie at the heart of the crises unfolding in Gaza and within our own migrant communities. United, we unequivocally demand an immediate Ceasefire, an end to occupation, and an end to the xenophobic agenda perpetuated by hate, which are directly harming our immigrant communities. By continuing to fund Israel’s genocide against Palestinians, Congress and the Biden administration are treating migrants as mere bargaining tools—a stance we adamantly reject. Our communities will not be gaslit or silent. From Oaxaca to Palestine, all borders will fall, and Indigenous peoples will remain.”

Sara Bollag, Steering Committee Member of JVP-DC Metro, said:

“Today’s coalitional action led by United We Dream is a beautiful display of the unified organizing that we must lead with to overpower the forces that cause suffering to so many of our communities. The people and corporations that benefit from Israeli genocide and terror against Palestinians are the same people and corporations that benefit from the criminalization of our borders and the inhumane treatment of immigrants. We cannot stand by and allow our elected officials to make calculated choices that go against the wishes and interests of the majority of their constituents. Our government should be funding healthcare, education, and other crucial social care instead of throwing billions into the war machine. Permanent Ceasefire and immigrant protections now!” 


United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation; made up of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic network of 1.2 million members, over 100 local groups, and a reach of over 5 million per month. UWD’s vision is to push for just policies that allow everyone to thrive regardless of immigration status. United We Dream is fighting for a multi-racial democracy that works for everyone by building a movement of young people who organize and advocate for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color. You can find more at www.unitedwedream.org.

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