CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2013

Reference: Bea Sabino, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

                  201.779.6886, anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSION, A VICTORY FOR JERSEY CITY

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Jersey City, NJ- Amidst national discussion on comprehensive immigration reform, immigrant rights groups and dozens of supporters welcomed Jersey City City Council’s unanimous approval for the adoption of City Ordinance 13-047, establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission, at City Hall on April 24.

The evening began with representatives from progressive faith-based, advocacy, and student organizations and Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro, Jr. speaking out in support of the said ordinance and fair immigration reform at a rally in front of City Hall. A march around Grove St. followed, with supporters chanting, “Justice for workers and migrants” and “Time is now” before entering the City Hall Chambers for the council meeting.

About 20 people, mostly Jersey City residents, provided testimonies and recommendations for the establishment of an Immigrant Affairs Commission at the public hearing.  “An immigrant affairs commission is an important affirmation that the city council must take a proactive role in addressing the concerns of the Jersey City immigrant population,” said Vera Parra of the American Friends Service Committee.

Community advocates cite disparities in education and healthcare access, workplace abuse, neighborhood violence that have gone unreported among the immigrant community for years due to the lack of a safe platform to do so. “These [disparities] are issues with local solutions. To that end, we look forward to working with the Commission, once approved and appointed by the Mayor,” continued Parra.

While the “Gang of 8” proposal exhibits renewed resolve in border control and economic opportunism on the side of corporate America, immigrant communities are banding together to push for immigration reform that addresses the immediate concerns of immigrants.

Close to 40% of the population in Jersey City is foreign-born, and it is doing its part in holding local officials accountable in upholding immigrant rights.

Jersey City and other communities in New Jersey are taking a stand in the fight for fair and just immigration reform. We have been working hard to organize and rally the community, specifically in support of this commission and for tuition equity for undocumented students, making sure that the immigrant community’s voices are heard,” said Ren Carandang, Educational Officer of Anakbayan NJ, a progressive Filipino youth organization.

Anakbayan and its allied organizations are calling on the Jersey City community to join the vibrant peoples’ movement for immigrant rights and genuine immigration reform. For more information on how to get involved, send your name, contact information and a brief message to anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com.

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Thank you to all participating organizations: Anakbayan New Jersey, American Friends Service Committee, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, Gothic Knight Grassroots of New Jersey City University, St. Patrick and Assumption-All Saints Parish, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU, Peoples’ Organization for Progress, South Asian Americans Leading Together, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, and the community at large.

DREAMers SCORE VICTORY FOR TUITION EQUITY AT JERSEY CITY COUNCIL MEETING

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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 anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com or Giancarlo Tello, Campaign Manager, at GiancarloT@njdac.org.

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

JERSEY CITY COMMUNITY TO PACK CITY HALL IN SUPPORT OF TUITION EQUITY FOR NJ DREAMers

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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 bmb.sabino@gmail.com 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 anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com or 201 779 6886.##