Immigrants Protest Napolitano as She Asks the Public to Join Fight Against Terrorism

Advocates are getting frustrated with Obamas immigration policies. (Photo: New York Immigration Coalition)

Advocates are getting frustrated with Obama’s immigration policies. (Photo: New York Immigration Coalition — Click to see more photos.)

NEW YORK — More than 30 immigrants and immigrant advocates demonstrated on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on Wednesday to protest U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as she visited the Council on Foreign Relations. Napolitano was in New York to announce a new strategy to involve individuals in the fight against terrorism.

The demonstration, which ended with a press conference, is one of the most visible signs to date of immigrant advocates’ growing frustration over the Obama administration’s immigration policies.

“By the end of this year, we hope he (President Obama) will have much more to show. He has to switch from talking to actions. Right now, statements are positives and actions are negative. There is a big gap,” said the director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Chung-Wha Hong.

Specifically, advocates took issue with Napolitano’s expansion of the 287(g) program, which deputizes local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws, and the expansion of e-Verify, a data-base system to check the eligibility of people to work lawfully in the US.

Hong told FI2W,

“We hope she takes our criticism seriously and will talk to us about how to reverse course and stop that discredited and ineffectual enforcement tactic of the Bush years, and start taking steps towards comprehensive reform legislation — not more of the same, but change that is needed for America’s workers, businesses, and families.”

Hong said Napolitano’s office has not responded to a request for a meeting with immigrant advocates.

“So far, ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has not made any substantial changes,” said Daniel Cuates, community organizer for Make the Road New York, one of the groups that participated in the protest. “We are here to tell Napolitano that we need reforms that don’t tear families apart and don’t criminalize people who are not criminals.”

Demonstration organizers also noted a growing sense of betrayal among immigrants who supported President Obama in last year’s election.

“Last November, we voted for real change, but all we are seeing is more of the same when it comes to immigration enforcement policies. Our communities are suffering tremendously,” Sandy Placido, a community organizer with the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights, said in a press release.

Dont put our communities in ICE, Saúls sign says - Photo: Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes

“Don’t put our communities in ICE,” Saúl’s sign says – Photo: Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes

“We want to remind the President that we voted for him. We come here to work. Our work helps the economy and we deserve a path to legalization,” said Saúl Sánchez, a resident of Queens who is a member of Make the Road New York.

The press conference was mainly attended by community media and foreign press including EFE, a Spanish-language news service that serves Hispanic media in the U.S., Latin America and Spain.


  1. That Saul Sanchez quote needs clarification. It implies that he’s not a legal citizen (“Our work helps the economy and we deserve a path to legalization”). How then could he have voted for the president? Perhaps it was just a poor choice of words.

  2. Pingback: Immigrants Protest Napolitano as She Asks the Public to Join Fight Against Terrorism | pr news

  3. brittanicus

    Comment deleted.

    Dear reader Brittanicus,

    We can’t publish your comments when we find them copy-pasted in different sites all over the web. Please join the conversation on the specific topics Feet in 2 Worlds covers, but don’t just give us “mass-produced” comments.

    Thanks for reading.

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  4. Maibe

    El Santo:

    Thank you for your note. Mr. Sanchez is an American citizen. He said he attended the press conference to support friends currently living in the US without documents. I should have added that piece of information to the story. I’m sorry for the confusion.

  5. Eli

    I Hope that the efforts of these protesters will yield Real results that will Change the current immigration laws thus bringing the Change so many immigrants are waiting to see in their lives, AMEN!!!

  6. Rani

    I wish I could have been there, but I have been very busy trying to help a very good friend who after 40 years in this country as a legal resident was detained by DHS after returning from traveling to India to study YOGA. He has since been transported miles away from his family and friends and is being deported. He has 7 children 9 brothers and sisters, 3 grandchildren, all US citizens, property, business, a US Air Force Veteran, volunteer for Hospice. He was transported in handcuffs and shackles and is only allowed visitation by TV screen. All of this for a crime committed 20 years ago for which he served and was released. Does this seem right to anybody?

  7. Personally, i think that change will be , because , time is to reverse that situation for a safe and better country , to improve the economical conditions of USA, first, they must indentify them and give them a path to a citizenship. thst would be better for america and that would save a thousand lives in a critical situation. God Bless America

  8. Deborah Estrada

    My husband was an illegal immigrate. I filed for his papers after we married we had already been together 3 years by that time .This great goverment of ours me being an American citizen born and raised here in US white of course.I had to file paper after paper sending money and more money just in the end the US embassy sends my husband his approval and tells us to go to Juarez Mexico to finish his processing .Telling me to come bring pictures etc to prove our marriage is for love but when going I had to sit across the street for 7 hours in the sun with all the other American people while they interviewed my husband and treated him like a criminal then telling him to go home for the law Past President Clinton had in effect.My son in law was deported as well from here he and my daughter have a son he was 5 at the time.They are both still in Mexico my daughter died in Dec 0f 2007 in an auto accident my son in law went to the American embassy asking permission to come home be with his son bury his wife but was told no.What kind of justice is this.Would any elected official treat there family like this.My grandson is now 9 I am still currently fighting to bring my husband home and my son in law almost 4 years later.Would U Mr Obama or any elected official treat your family like this just because your spouse crossed the border for a better living? ITs cruel and unjust treatment for your own people.How many people in the US can say ur true Americans look into your back ground before you run your mouth.American people are just like everyone in the world we are no better just because we are Americans.

    //Edited for improper language//

    … they do pay taxes they never recieveany money back they cant there illegals,they pay into SS never get it back.They can not draw welfare when they dont have a good SS card. Geeze people how much about your own goverment do you know.Unless you have lived the nightmare my family and I have endured over the past 4 years be quiet you are living the good life.Be a better AMerican be a better christian help the people to have better lives.You reap what you sow and all you bitter people out there that treat people the way you do will someday come home to you. Think about it before you speak. Deborah

  9. Pablo

    “We are here to tell Napolitano that we need reforms that don’t tear families apart and don’t criminalize people who are not criminals.”

    Anyone that enters the country illegally is committing a criminal act, and is, by definition, a criminal, therefore, all illegal aliens are, ab initio, criminals right from the time that they arrive (or in some cases when they knowingly make the decision to overstay their visa.)

    I have no sympathy for the families that are being “torn apart” because these folks are bringing this misery upon themselves. Even the most uneducated among them know that a big fence patrolled by armed troops means that they are not welcome under the law of this land, yet they choose to flout the law, to hire the coyote, to cut open a hole in the fence and scurry forth into the U.S. When the consequences hit the fan, all I can say is, “brother, you brought this on yourself.”

    To drive this home even more, I would argue that, if someone chooses to break into my house, and they get caught, they go to jail, notwithstanding the fact that their family may be broken apart by their jail sentence. It would be preposterous for anyone to argue that I broke up the family of the burglar by protecting my property and calling the police, or that the police were somehow responsible for destroying the family of the person they charge with breaking and entering. It is equally preposterous to blame the U.S. Government for “breaking up families.”

  10. Illegal immigration and health care. Both are huge problems. The Illegal citizens are placing a huge drain on our health care system. Border control and sending the illegal citizens back home are key to solving the healthcare problem we have in the USA. Why the president and congress do admit this problem is clear. They think that they can stay if office if they illegal citizens vote for them. Term limits on all these self-servicing congressmen like Pelosi and others who want amnesty for the illegal citizens at the expense of those who paid into our system for years! This is an insult to honest hardwoking American Citizens. These congressmen should be booted out of office for not enforing our laws.

  11. Eli

    Dear Deborah and those who care for the immigrants!

    Your Personal story touched my Heart. Sadly enough, many People across this Nation and around the World experience similar Hardships to those you have described because of our inhumane and ineffective Immigration system and laws.

    Some heartless people feel comfortable with the current immigration laws and are against any form of real immigration reform. These people forgot that once their families were immigrants themselves that could have “sneaked” into this country before harsh immigration restrictions were in place. They forget the fact that the United States, by definition, is a Nation of Immigrants. They also forgot that beside the Native Americans no one has true right to be in this land, including themselves. This without even discussing the fact that much of this country is EMPTY and this means that there is PLENTY of space available for the construction of new Cities and such.

    But its so easy for them to blame all their problems and the challenges this Great nation of ours is facing on those poor “illegal aliens”. What could be a better scapegoat than people that has no right to vote, work, drive, etc… They try to make their fellow American citizens think that somehow the undocumented immigrant population get lots of free benefits from the US government. If anything, these immigrants only give while getting little to nothing in return!!! Needless to say that even if these immigrants wanted any of these benefits, they would not be able to receive them due to their unlawful immigration status. They claim these immigrants take American jobs, but I don’t see them applying to work in the cotton fields exposed to the sun. All these anti-immigration folks do is sit home next to their computer writing hateful comments while collecting their free government benefits or perhaps working in the job of their choice earning a decent living, in which case there should be no problem for them when it comes to their job security, unless the economy is down as it is the case these days (but lets all Hope that the Change is coming in this regard(-:

    And I am sure that Change will also come to fine people like Deborah who seek nothing more than to be Reunited with her Family.

    Don’t get me wrong; I have lots of complaints about the current immigration system that allow people to become legal as well – the fact that someone can just enter the country and get married, then get his green card and immediately thereafter divorce his so called “wife” While an elderly Naturalized US Citizen can’t get her son who spent half his life in the US to legalize under the current evil law that Deborah mentioned, which became effective in 2001.

    It goes without saying that this law is ineffective because it will keep those “illegals” that are here forever without any proper status because unlike our immigration system that does NOT seem to value true family ties, these immigrant families value them and will refuse to separate from their real American family just to make a few bigots happy.

    This also means that they would rather get married for Real, when the time comes, and Not be forced to marry in a Fake manner with the help of a Greedy immigration lawyer, something that the current immigration system foster and basically create a blunt discrimination against all of those who are either not married or married but not to a US Citizen.

    Finally, although I am not a Catholic myself, I would like to point out an amazing quote by a Catholic Bishop. He made his statement in a very clever manner; But at the same time his words are very much the truth some people simply prefer to ignore:

    “The so-called “illegals” are so not because they wish to defy the law; but, because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country – which needs their labor: they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them.”

    Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando

  12. Maria Robles

    How can you say that these people brought this misery upon themselves!!! What do you have to say about adults now that were brought here by their parents when they were your children, infants and had no choice in where they went that now have parents that are U.S Citizens and have petitioned for them and have been waiting for 20+years not being able to get married, or live their lives without fear of being deported, but The current broken Immigration laws have them in line for most of their lives, how is that FAIR??? How is that their fault?? How is that the parents fault!!! that’s part of many backlogs that we are dealing with!!! and to the comments about ”we voted for the president, ”WE” probably refers to the minorities, immigrants that have become U S Citizens, we should embrace these people that are very hard working, and NO it will NOT cost the American Goverment money if reform is passed, with all the fees, that would be genarated it would give our U.S. Economy an economic benefit without having to have any of the taxpayers money used. People should really do their research before making accusations like the misery is brought upon themselves!! WE NEED COMPERHENSIVE HUMANE JUST IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!!!! STOP DEVIDING FAMILIES!!

  13. Fe

    Pablo, your name is Pablo and you think like that… That makes it even more sad. Have you ever considered changing it to Paul?

  14. aboveaverageamerican

    Deborah Estrada,

    That is terrible if it is a per your story you have a choice. Contact your State Senator/Congressman and ask for help paerhaps a privaste bill will help you I am surprised you never followed this route or the media!!

  15. aboveaverageamerican

    El Santo basically Saul Sanchez is making a point as a representative of the hispanic community that is all!!

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