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New Jersey Activists Fight for Release of Undocumented Immigrants

Activists called on leaders to release undocumented immigrants who were being held in Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties.

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A group of protesters holding signs that read “Abolish ICE” and “Free Detainees” gathered at Penn Station in Newark Saturday afternoon. They called out Gov. Phil Murphy (D), President Joe Biden and other leaders to release undocumented immigrants who were not charged with crimes but were being held in Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties. Activists also called out Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez to encourage legislation to end deportation and detention of undocumented immigrants. They are concerned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are at high risk of exposure for COVID-19. An ICE spokesman told NJ Advance Media in January that there were 65 detainees in Hudson County jail, which decreased from 93 detainees in November. NJ.com 

In other local immigration news…

Bergen ICE Detainee Speaks About Hunger Strike

Bonilla was released from immigration detention at Bergen County jail on Feb. 8 after a 36-day hunger strike. The 30-year-old father from Honduras, who had been in the U.S. since he was 16, began his detention journey at Essex County jail in January 2020 and was transferred to Buffalo Federal Detention Center this year. Bonilla was seeking asylum, but even though the judge admitted he had a ton of support for his case, he was still denied. Bonilla did not get a response to his appeal in October. He then refused to eat until he received a 30-day parole at the beginning of February. The Indypendent 

Brooklyn Reps. Support Immigration Reform for Dreamers

Brooklyn Congressmembers Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez, along with California Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, co-authored H.R.6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2021. This act would help Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients get permanent residence and American citizenship, as well as higher education. It also includes protections and a path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure beneficiaries. The legislation, which would benefit 2.5 million immigrants, is co-sponsored by 134 members of Congress and will continue to shape immigration reform as Biden’s overhaul bill lacks widespread support. BKReader 

Immigration Protesters Stop Traffic on Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridges

Hundreds of protestors fighting for tax increases on the rich and support for undocumented immigrants stopped traffic on the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges Friday morning. They stopped halfway on both bridges for a moment of silence for essential workers killed by COVID-19. Demonstrators represented groups of undocumented workers including cabbies, street vendors and domestic workers, including convicted felons and undocumented tenants. They are demanding Albany develop a fund for 1.2 million state residents who were rejected from COVID-19 unemployment benefits and stimulus funding approved by Congress last year due to immigration status or past convictions. New York Post

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