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Center For Popular Democracy Joins Massive Washington DC Mobilization For Immigrant Rights

“Today, our strength is on full display,” says national community organizing network


WASHINGTON, DC – The Center for Popular Democracy and organizing groups in its network from a slew of states joined other national networks, immigrant rights organizations, labor unions, elected officials, and faith leaders for a massive rally for immigrant rights in the nation’s capital. More than a dozen CPD leaders and members were arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and hundreds were in attendance. The rally, which included the largest act of civil disobedience of the immigrant rights movement under the Trump administration, brought together approximately 10,000 people to demand lawmakers pass a clean Dream Act for immigrant youth and a solution for the 300,000 TPS holders who have long made America their home. Almost 200 people participated in the act of civil disobedience.
CPD partner CASA, a prominent community organizing group with members in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, anchored the action, and was joined by CPD partners the Texas Organizing Project, United for a New Economy (Colorado), Working Partnerships USA (California),, the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, and the Make the Road family (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut).
More than 800 members from CPD’s network in total were in attendance. Prior to the rally, members hit Capitol Hill for lobby visits with their elected representatives. Two of CPD’s Executive Directors, Ana Maria Archila and Jennifer Epps-Addison, were arrested at the rally.
“Our communities have been scapegoated and attacked by the Trump administration – but this has only made us stronger and more united,” said Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “Today, our strength is on full display. We are powerful, we are unafraid, and we act as one. We will fight for a clean Dream Act and a permanent legislative solution for TPS holders today and will continue fighting until all of our communities have the freedom to fully thrive.”  
Immigrant activists have been building momentum throughout the year with a series of marches and Congressional actions aimed at raising the voices of more than a million immigrants working and studying here with temporary working permits. With scores of Dreamers losing protections every day - more than 11,000 DACA recipients have already lost protection and more are losing their legal status every day - Congress must act before the end of the year and include a clean Dream Act in the December spending bill to protect immigrant communities. Every day that goes by is a day in which the lives of immigrant youth are placed at risk.
"Today was one of the biggest mobilizations by immigrants and for immigrants in years. Thousands stood up for their rights to be in this country and our allies showed up as well,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA. “The truth is Americans all over the country support Dreamers and those with TPS. You can see that in the faces of those who risked arrest to support immigrants who are losing their status every day. Teachers, parish priests, neighbors, sons, everyone wanted to show their support. People recognize that this is a human rights issue during a very dark time in this nation’s history.”
Since Trump revoked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in early September, immigrant youth and allies across the country have pressed Congress for a permanent solution that would let immigrant youth thrive and prevent families from being torn apart. Tens of thousands of Temporary Protected Status holders also face uncertainty after the Trump administration terminated the program for Haitians and Nicaraguans in November.
“Today, I am proud to join thousands of other community members from across this country who are standing up for immigrant families and the heart and soul of America,” said Michelle Tremillo, Executive Director of the Texas Organizing Project, who was arrested at the rally. “We are putting our bodies on the line because our families’ future is on the line. We stand together with immigrant youth and families from around the country and face arrest today to demand that Congress address the moral and human crisis that the Trump administration has caused by terminating DACA.”
“I feel the urgency to risk arrest for my siblings who benefit from TPS, for the undocumented workers who have been forced to migrate to find work and survive at jobs that don’t value their dignity, for the trans folxs in detention who continue to be attacked by a system that is killing them, and for my community who is resilient and unapologetic in reclaiming their humanity,” said Pamela Resendiz Trujano, Deputy Director for United for a New Economy.
“Losing my DACA would set me and my family back in so many ways,” said Lilibeth Tinoco, a youth leader from Make the Road Pennsylvania. “I would go back to living in fear, watching my every move. My family would lose consistent income from my job, and my employer would lose someone they depend on. This is wrong – and no one should have to live like this. Sen. Toomey, Rep. Smucker and Sen. McConnell all need to know that a clean Dream Act means a stronger Pennsylvania and a fairer and more inclusive country.”
 “I am proud of our representatives in Connecticut who have shown leadership in the fight for a Dream Act and TPS protections,” said Crystal Aguirre, a youth leader with Make the Road Connecticut. “My friends and classmates deserve to be in this country, and their families should not be criminalized for that to happen. We must escalate the pressure and continue fighting. No budget should pass that does not include a clean Dream Act. All those who support immigrant communities should stand with the growing chorus in Congress to say no Dream, no deal.” 
“Hundreds of New Jersey residents woke up before dawn today to come to Washington and show Congress we need a clean Dream Act and TPS protections,” said Nedia Morsy, youth organizer with Make the Road New Jersey. Now is the moment for them to act. DACA recipients play critical roles in our state’s economy and communities, and they should have a path to citizenship. However, we will not let our neighbors be used as a bargaining chip for more draconian enforcement measures that have already caused such fear and pain for immigrant families. That is why we need a clean Dream Act. If our Republican representatives want to show their words of support for immigrants mean anything – now is the time to act.”
“This action represents unity among a community that has been marginalized,” said Ariadna Morales, a Dreamer from San Jose and member of Working Partnerships USA. “There’s this huge misconception about dreamers and who we are and this action for me represents the essence of our culture. Somos luchadores from the moment we arrived to this country and we have never stopped fighting for a better future, a future where there are no boundaries, no borders.”
“We stand for social, political, and economic equality for all, so we must truly stand up when and where it counts,” said Kareem Scott, a member of the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement. “Having 76 Dreamers on campus and seeing the huge support from the student body, I wanted to show that we could do be a part of direct action to help our classmates and Dreamers across the country.” 


Media Contact:

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442