Sunday, July 1, 2018

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Immigration advocates rally in Kingston

Rally at Kington City Hall

KINGSTON – Over 1,000 people marched through Midtown Kingston on Saturday afternoon, following a hour-long rally on the steps of City Hall. The event was organized by Citizen Action, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, and others, in support of immigration policy reform.

"I want you to know, that City Hall is here for you, and we will continue to make sure that Kingston is a welcoming and inclusive community," Mayor Steven Noble told the cheering bilingual crowd. "We will stand with you, when we fight the Trump administration and New York State Senate," he vowed.


Mayor Noble: "City Hall is here for you"

"We are going to push to make sure that Kingston has its own ID, open to anyone that wants one," the mayor added. The documents will make it easier for undocumented individuals to obtain drivers licenses, and interact with other institutions including public schools, which now require identification.

Last year, the Kinston Common Council declared itself a "Sanctuary City," establishing an official hands-off policy towards undocumented aliens – minimizing their chances of getting deported.

The immigration issue has sparked controversy and political division throughout the U.S. and Western Europe. Advocates decry the practice of detaining people who enter the U.S. illegally, especially if families are separated in the process.

President Trump, in a series of speeches last week, countered that the border must remain secure, and that 80 percent of detained immigrant children were sent over alone with human traffickers, also called coyotes. The partisan debate in Congress, and also throughout online social media, remains deadlocked.

Placards held by the protesters took aim at the president, who was elected in 2016 largely on the promise of building a wall along the southern border. Names like Racist, Bigot, Fascist, and Nazi, repeatedly appeared on the numerous signs held aloft by demonstrators.
"Talking about open borders is not radical. Borders are already open, for those who are white and have money they have always been," said Sylvana Ramos, an Uruguay immigrant and director of Rise Up Kingston. "White people can buy land in Costa Rica, and open a yoga retreat, like the world is their playground; but brown people can't flee famine, or earthquakes, or floods. The right to migrate is a human right," she said.

"The U.S. has always had a problem balancing its greed with its compassion, and this imbalance has resulted in the genocide of a whole nation, the near-eradication of the indigenous people of this country," noted Pastor G. Modele Clarke. "And they have the gall to teach us to sing, This Land is My Land."


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