CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

                  201.779.6886, anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

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Jersey City, NJ- Amidst national discussion on comprehensive immigration reform, immigrant rights groups and dozens of supporters welcomed Jersey City City Council’s unanimous approval for the adoption of City Ordinance 13-047, establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission, at City Hall on April 24.

The evening began with representatives from progressive faith-based, advocacy, and student organizations and Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, Jr. speaking out in support of the said ordinance and fair immigration reform at a rally in front of City Hall. A march around Grove St. followed, with supporters chanting, “Justice for workers and migrants” and “Time is now” before entering the City Hall Chambers for the council meeting.

About 20 people, mostly Jersey City residents, provided testimonies and recommendations for the establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission at the public hearing.  “An immigrant affairs commission is an important affirmation that the city council must take a proactive role in addressing the concerns of the Jersey City immigrant population,” said Vera Parra of the American Friends Service Committee.

Community advocates cite disparities in education and healthcare access, workplace abuse, neighborhood violence that have gone unreported among the immigrant community for years due to the lack of a safe platform to do so. “These [disparities] are issues with local solutions. To that end, we look forward to working with the Commission, once approved and appointed by the Mayor,” continued Parra.

While the “Gang of 8” proposal exhibits renewed resolve in border control and economic opportunism on the side of corporate America, immigrant communities are banding together to push for immigration reform that addresses the immediate concerns of immigrants.

Close to 40% of the population in Jersey City is foreign-born, and it is doing its part in holding local officials accountable in upholding immigrant rights.

Jersey City and other communities in New Jersey are taking a stand in the fight for fair and just immigration reform. We have been working hard to organize and rally the community, specifically in support of this commission and for tuition equity for undocumented students, making sure that the immigrant community’s voices are heard,” said Ren Carandang, Educational Officer of Anakbayan NJ, a progressive Filipino youth organization.

Anakbayan and its allied organizations are calling on the Jersey City community to join the vibrant peoples’ movement for immigrant rights and genuine immigration reform. For more information on how to get involved, send your name, contact information and a brief message to anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com.

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Thank you to all participating organizations: Anakbayan New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, Gothic Knight Grassroots of New Jersey City University, St. Patrick and Assumption-All Saints Parish, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU, Peoples’ Organization for Progress, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, and the community at large.

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