With the looming federal government shutdown over immigration policies, the Trump administration ending low-level temporary work visas for Haitians, and President Donald Trump reported use of vulgar language when referring to Haiti and African nations.
Officials and activists in and around New Jersey’s largest city are taking a stand against the Trump administrations list of ever growing anti-immigration policies.
“For the record all of us are immigrants, if he wants us to teach him history, we definitely will.”
19 year old Grace Apea is with the Rutgers Newark Student Governing Association, she also happens to be an immigrant here from Ghana on a student visa. Apea says President Donald Trump racially charged rhetoric and anti-immigration policies are simply anti-American.
“Even though I have papers and some of my friends do not, I’m still, I am illegal, if they go home, we are going home together, so your problem is my problem. I always pray that God will do something because I will not sit down to see my brothers and my sisters being taken back and their dreams can never come true.”
Apea was among the nearly 200 people gathered on the steps of City in Hall in downtown
Newark, proudly waving their native flags and declaring unity in the face of polices that have left many with a sense of anger and fear, about what the future will hold.
“This place you call home was built on the back of African slaves who were dehumanized, assassinated, and brutalized for generations, but we became warriors, now the question is how do we make America great, it begins with me and you.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was joined by Mayors from surrounding communities including East Orange, Irvington and Hillside. Baraka denounced the Trump administration’s policies and Trump’s actions as out right racist.
“It is the wrong thing to do, and as a matter of fact, the whole world knows its wrong, and we are going to speak up as loud and as possibly as we can to let you know that here in Newark, in Irvington, in East Orange, in Orange, in Hillside, in the entire Essex county, that we stand with our African brothers and sisters, we stand with our Haitian brothers and sisters, we stand with our Latino brothers and sisters.”
Baraka went on to say he supports former Newark Mayor now U. S. Senator Cory Booker in his efforts to push back against the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies.
“I stand with senator Booker and what he said and what we he did, we defend him, not only because he’s from Newark or he’s from New Jersey, but because he was right, he was correct, and he should challenge everybody that speaks that way about our community, about our neighbors.”
The issue of immigration is now more than complicated than ever. The Trump White House has reversed many Obama era policies to protect immigrants including the deferred action for childhood arrivals program and even threatening to pull federal funding from so called sanctuary cities, like Newark. Baraka says despite that, the city is unwavering in it’s dedication to being a sanctuary city.
“Our police officers will not help ICE arrest people simply because they’re undocumented. They can take part in all the city events, programming, and whatever we have to offer, we are going to continue treating them as residents of our community without fail. So, they should feel like when they’re in Newark that they’re just like another resident.”
As the federal government continues to wrestle with the issue of immigration millions across the country are taking to the streets in support of immigrants and their families, not knowing just how long the immigration policy can will continue to be kicked down the road in Washington.