Thousands Rally Demanding Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Groups Call for Sustained Actions to Achieve Dignity and Justice for Immigrants


April 10, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan NJ

       ; 201.779.6886

Thousands Rally Demanding Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Groups Call for Sustained Actions to Achieve Dignity and Justice for Immigrants

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jersey City, NJ- Anakbayan New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Action 21 marched with other community organizations, union members, church groups and families who gathered by the thousands at Liberty State Park on April 6.

People from across New Jersey mobilized to demand the immediate passage of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill. They carried signs saying, “We are not invisible. We are immigrants” and “NJ Demands Fair Reform,” while shouting, “The time is now for immigration reform!” U.S. legislators are expected to release a CIR proposal upon their return from Spring Recess this week.

According to Anakbayan, the inefficient, inhumane, profit-oriented character of the U.S. immigration system has been exposed throughout the years. In addition to the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with no path to legalization, millions more are held up in the limbo of decades-long backlogs in visa processing for family and work-based petitions. Moreover, U.S. taxpayers spend an average of $2 billion a year on detaining immigrants in private prisons contracted by the government in its crusade to eliminate the undocumented.

“Ideally, the CIR proposal should address pressing issues such as separation of families, human trafficking and modern day slavery. It should also recognize the global system that perpetuates poor living conditions in developing nations, which lead to the influx of migrant workers to the US,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of Anakbayan NJ.

“We aim to promote migrant people’s narratives, and continue to organize the immigrant community in order to sustain the people’s movement for genuine immigration reform. We demand a realistic path to legalization for all migrants, just and fair working conditions, equal access to education regardless of immigration status, and an end to criminalization and illegalization of immigrants,” concluded Sabino.

Anakbayan NJ and its allied organizations urge the community to participate in the conversation about CIR and take an active role in holding elected officials accountable to upholding the rights of immigrants at the local, state and national level.

CIR is long overdue. Panahon Na (The Time is Now)! A Community Forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform” is taking place on Sunday, April 21, 3-5pm at Pope Hall, St. Peter’s University, 115 Glenwood Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306.

Everyone is invited to listen to stories of immigrants from different backgrounds who are coming out of the shadows to fight for immigrant rights. The forum will also discuss how immigration reform will affect the community and how individuals can get involved in making history happen.

For more information on how to take part in the campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Jersey City, contact Anakbayan NJ at ###


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Jersey City, NJ- Supporters of the Tuition Equity for DREAMers bill packed the city hall on February 27 in Jersey City as the council put a resolution in support of Tuition Equity to a vote. A dozen DREAMers and supporters gave powerful testimonials at the public hearing which ended with a unanimous city council vote in favor of the resolution. 

About 75 DREAMers, activists, church leaders and community supporters showed up to rally in front of the Jersey City City Hall on Wednesday evening to demand the council’s approval of resolution “J”, co-authored by Councilman-at-large, Rolando Lavarro, Jr. and Councilwoman Nidia Lopez. They marched around Grove St. chanting, “undocumented, unafraid!” and “Up, up with education! Down, down with deportations!” before lining up to enter the City Hall chambers.

Resolution J declares that Jersey City’s local government supports the Tuition Equity for DREAMers bills and urges the state legislature to pass A1659/S2355 and A3509/S2479.  A1659/S2355 would allow almost all New Jersey High School Graduates access to In-State Tuition rates, regardless of immigration status. A3509/S2479 calls for In-State Tuition rates plus access to state financial aid at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities for anyone with a high school diploma or GED from an educational institution in New Jersey regardless of immigration status.

“The community must realize that undocumented or not, every human being has rights to education, a pathway to legitimately contribute to, and benefit from, American society. Tuition Equity in NJ is just a stepping stone in addressing the larger immigration issue in the country. Anakbayan, New Jersey United Students, New Jersey Dream Act Coalition and our allied organizations are taking this step in continuing the fight against the illegalization and criminalization of immigrants. We are demanding an end to modern-day segregation,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.

“We welcome this decision by the Jersey City Council. 38.2% of the city’s population is foreign-born. It is clear that Jersey City owes its rich diversity and revitalizing economy to immigrants. The city council recognized that through the hard work of all the DREAMers and supporters who came out to the meeting. It is a proud moment for Jersey City,”Sabino concluded.

Jersey City is the first municipality in all of New Jersey to support Tuition Equity for DREAMers. It now serves as an example to other cities across the state in taking a stand for a person’s right to affordable and quality education, regardless of immigration status.

Anakbayan is calling on Filipino-American youth and the rest of the community to get involved in the NJ Tuition Equity for DREAMers (NJ-TED) campaign now. If you or your organization would like to join the NJ-TED Coalition, please email Anakbayan New Jersey at or Giancarlo Tello, Campaign Manager, at

Thank you to all participating organizations:  Anakbayan NJ, NJ Dream Act Coalition, NJ United Students, American Friends Service Committee, Action 21, Mujeres Unidas En Accion, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, RAISE, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, New Jersey City University Gothic Knights Grassroots, and community at large



WHO: Anakbayan NJ, NJ Dream Act Coalition, NJ United Students, American Friends Service Committee, Action 21, Mujeres Unidas En Accion, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, New Jersey City University Gothic Knights Grassroots, and community at large
WHAT: On February 27th, a city resolution will be introduced to the Jersey City Council pressing Governor Christie and the NJ State Legislature to pass A1659/S2355 and A3509/S2479, which would allow DREAM Act- eligible youth to qualify for in-state tuition and access state financial aid at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities, respectively.

Community organizations are urging concerned citizens to pack the City Hall on Wednesday to show support for the City Resolution. A brief rally will be held in front of City Hall at 6pm, before proceeding to the public hearing at 6:30pm. Participants are invited to wear caps and gowns to symbolize the dream of higher education.

Please bring signs and placards that say:
Pass the Resolution for Tuition Equity
Tuition Equity for NJ Dreamers
Higher Education For All
No Human Being is Illegal
You Vote for Equality, We Vote For You
If you or your organization would like to give a 1-2 minute testimony as to why the Jersey City Council should support the City Resolution, please email with your name, organization/affiliation, and contact information by midnight of Monday, February 25.

WHERE: City Hall, 280 Grove St., Jersey City, NJ 07302WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, 6pm-9pmWHY: The undocumented immigrant population in New Jersey makes up 6.2% of the total state population, making it the fourth-highest rate in the nation. In New Jersey, undocumented immigrants make up 8.6% of the state’s workforce and paid $446.1 million in state and local taxes in 2010. Despite their contribution to the local economy, undocumented immigrants are required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate to attend college, and are ineligible for financial aid and scholarships.The New Jersey Tuition Equity for DREAMers (NJ-TED) Campaign aims to gather enough community support and build people power to demand the implementation of A1659/S2355 and A3509/S2479 from the NJ State Legislature.The city resolution will be the first of its kind to be introduced in New Jersey that supports the NJ-TED Campaign. If approved by the City Council, Jersey City will serve as an example to other municipalities across New Jersey in taking a stand for a person’s right to affordable and quality education, regardless of immigration status.For more information about the NJ-TED Campaign, click here. For more information about the community action at City Hall, please visit the Facebook event page by clicking here. You may also contact Bea Sabino at or 201 779 6886.##

Quick Community Assessment of Post-Hurricane Sandy in Jersey City

On November 1, 2012, from 12:30-3:00pm, members of Anakbayan New Jersey walked around Jersey City to speak with the community regarding Hurricane Sandy.  We surveyed 37 people, mostly Filipinos, throughout West Side and Mallory Avenues (From Fulton St to Roosevelt Ave).

We identified the following as the community’s major concerns:

  • Lack of electricity
    Phones losing charge
    Limited supply of batteries
    Cash only transactions (ATMs are closed)
    No heating systems
    Loss of income (people can’t get to work; perishable products in small stores)
    Lack of transportation (trains are not running; no access to NY; road closings; limited gas stations; increased gas prices)
  •  Lack of communication
    Limited phone service
    Phones losing charge
    No internet access
    No landline
    Hard to get information other than through the radio   
  • Safety and security
    No street lights at night
    No traffic lights
    Rumors of break-ins and burglary

Beginning yesterday, October 31, Jersey City instituted a strict 7pm-7am lockdown. Pedestrians and vehicles are prohibited from the streets overnight in an effort to control incidences of burglary and store break-ins. Most of those surveyed were not aware of this, while less than ten people heard about it through word-of-mouth or from the radio. Overall, people thought the lockdown is a firm but fair safety measure, especially to avoid motorvehicle accidents and to ensure the community’s security.

There were mixed reviews regarding the response time of government agencies. Most people surveyed observed that the state’s disaster preparedness plan does not seem apparent because fallen trees are yet to be cleared up. In Ege Ave. there are 2 electric posts that are still laying around, 4 days since Monday, posing danger to residents. Country Village and Society Hill weren’t evacuated, and power has not been restored.

According to the PSE&G, their expected time to bring power back is on Monday, November 5. This is already affecting small businesses, schools and people’s livelihood. Majority of the businesses (banks, gas stations, offices, autoshops, etc) remain closed except for deli’s and groceries. These stores are also running low on basic commodities to sell and are only open  until 1pm, 6pm the latest. On the otherhand, folks we’ve talked to are already complaining because of the lost income due to businesses not opening.

Majority of the people surveyed were not receiving updated information, and relied solely on word-of-mouth. The local government is failing to effectively disseminate information on resources available, current state of the city, and other public service announcements.


The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is affecting the lives of many Jersey City residents. 5 days and counting of no power is harmful to the predominantly working class communities of Jersey City. Many are unable to go to work due to the lack of reliable transportation or workplace being temporarily closed (due to lack of electricity). Therefore, many people are worried on how they are going to pay their bills, and local stores are faced with limited supplies.

Despite the community’s lack of access to power and information, the only government response present is the massive police presence and a citywide lockdown enforced by the JC police. The state’s obligation to keep its citizens informed with access to vital social services is not being fulfilled.


Filipino Youth and Community Take A Stand Against Labor Trafficking

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

photos by Cristina Grey Villaflor

Jersey City, NJ-  Activists, students and community members took a stand against labor trafficking after attending the community forum on the case of the Florida 15 workers last April 25 at Saint Peter’s College’s Pope Lecture Hall. The said forum was organized by Anakbayan New Jersey, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and the Saint Peter’s College Social Justice Program. 

At the community forum, two of the Florida 15 workers shared their experiences as survivors of labor trafficking. They talked about their recruitment from the Philippines, and the working conditions they endured under San Villa agency in Miami, Florida. They also discussed how this experience has affected their personal lives.
“We didn’t expect to end up like this. It’s been four long years. We miss our families and the children we’ve left behind. But there’s no turning back now. Tuloy ang laban! (the struggle continues!). This is not just for the Forida 15 but for all trafficking victims” said Cecil Delgado, the spokesperson of the Florida 15 workers.
The community forum also discussed the factors that lead to Labor Trafficking such as the Philippine Labor Export Policy. According to Yves Nibungco, current chairperson of Anakbayan NJ, landlessness and lack of job creation in the Philippines, coupled with the government “development” program of exporting Filipinos as commodities, creates the favorable condition for illegal recruitment and labor exploitation to thrive.
“In order for us to fully stop labor trafficking, we must fight against the Philippine government’s Labor Export Policy. Only by genuinely creating jobs at home through national industrialization and agrarian reform can we eliminate labor trafficking” said Yves Nibungco. “We call on the Filipino youth and students to stand up for our kababayans. Take a stand against labor trafficking and the Philippine labor export policy,” added Mr. Nibungco.
Jonna Baldres, Deputy Secretary General of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns talked about their current “Stop Trafficking Our People” campaign or STOP. NAFCON North East region will be organizing a community task force to pull resources and effort together. She called on the Filipino community to unite and join the struggle against labor trafficking.
The forum ended with a group photo and a community chant saying: “Stop, stop trafficking our people!.”