Bay Ridge for Social Justice holds vigil in support of undocumented immigrants

Bay Ridge for Social Justice took to the nabe on Friday, December 22 to hold a candlelight vigil, showing solidarity with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, as well as demanding permanent protection for undocumented immigrants, such as by way of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

According to Bay Ridge for Social Justice, the vigil, which was held on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue, was sparked by an incident on Friday, December 15 in which seven Dreamers were arrested at the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Chuck Schumer after demanding that Schumer and other legislators halt any government spending bill that does not contain a “clean DREAM Act.” After being jailed, the Dreamers went on a hunger strike and refused to identify themselves.

The activists noted that those seven DACA recipients, as well as all other DACA recipients, are at risk for deportation if a clean DREAM Act is not put into law.

“A clean DREAM Act means that it’s not attached to any additional border security or restrictions on immigration. They don’t want that attached to the DREAM Act because it would hurt other immigrants, it would hurt their family members, said Yasmine Kamel a Bay Ridge for Social Justice member who held-up a “#NoDream No Deal” sign during the vigil.

“We’re here in solidarity with them. We’re in solidarity with all undocumented immigrants. We believe the DREAM Act should be passed. We believe there should immigration reform that protects all immigrants and gives access to citizenship and allows them to work with equal rights, fair wages and so on, and not live in fear of having their families torn apart by vicious ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers coming into their homes, workplaces and communities and tearing them apart,” Kamel noted.

According to its Facebook page, Bay Ridge for Social Justice is a grassroots association of concerned South Brooklyn residents and local activists looking to fight racism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments “and other forms of oppression in Bay Ridge and surrounding neighborhoods.”

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