April 24, 2017

Press contacts: Alejandro Jaramillo, Alex.Jaramillo@jan-nj.org, (732) 371-9512 (Spanish or English) Whitney Strub, wstrub@gmail.com, (215) 764-7928 (English) Natasha Abner, nabner@gmail.com, (662) 931-5328 (English)

Newark, NJ - Immigrant rights organizations, unions, students, clergy, and activist groups from northern New Jersey join a national strike billed as a “day without immigrants” to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class people of color. Hundreds of thousands of workers have already pledged to strike in what organizers expect to be the largest national strike since the Megamarches of 2006.

“May 1st is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson from Movimiento Cosecha. “We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; the right to travel freely to visit our loved ones abroad, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect. After years of broken promises, raids, driving in fear of being pulled over, not being able to bury our loved ones, Trump is just the final straw. As we saw during the spontaneous strikes on February 16th, our people are ready.”

Cosecha organizer Alejandro Jaramillo notes that “most undocumented immigrants file federal taxes every year,” paying an estimated $12 billion in state and local taxes, and over $13 billion federally for programs they cannot use. “They work hard in farms growing fruits and vegetables, in restaurants cooking and serving meals, as baby sitters and health care workers taking care of children, the sick, disabled, and elderly, in construction building homes, in landscaping, in factories and in their own businesses producing goods and services that Americans demand, and through tax contributions financing benefits that many Americans receive,” he adds.

In Newark, marchers will assemble at 2pm in Lincoln Park for a rally, followed by a march on the federal building and a 5:30pm Justice Walk to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where a conversation about social justice will be held with New Jersey’s gubernatorial candidates.

The city of Newark has always been a city of immigrants, a place where Catholics and Jews, Slovaks, Poles, Italians, and other European groups built community beginning in the 19th century; a city where the internal domestic Great Migration of AfricanAmericans seeking freedom led to the pioneering election of Kenneth Gibson in 1970, first Black mayor of a major east-coast city; a city that has benefited from the rich diversity of Portuguese communities in the Ironbound, Muslim mosques, and growing African communities; and a place that cannot be imagined in the 21st century without its Puerto Rican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Brazilian, and other Latino/a groups that contribute so much to Newark’s culture, economy, and life.

Yet in the wake of Donald Trump’s punitive ICE raids and hateful threats against immigrants, businesses in the Ironbound and across New Jersey (as well as nationally) are suffering, as members of our community live in fear. Mayor Ras Baraka has declared Newark a sanctuary city, but we demand more: New Jersey must lead the way in declaring itself a sanctuary state, with permanent protection for all immigrants and equal rights for all who live here. This means a $15/hour minimum wage; the right to unionize; driver’s licenses for all; and a No Ban, No Wall policy in the face of Trump’s costly racism. In short, we demand real justice in New Jersey: economic justice, environmental justice, social justice, and racial justice.


Sponsors: Cosecha, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, NJ State Industrial Union Council (NJ IUC) , HPAE Local 5094, Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council, NJ Clergy Coalition, People's Organization for Progress, First Friends, Pax Christi, Esperanza Aztec, Democratic Socialists of America, Rutgers Undocu, NJIT Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, (SHPE), 15 Now NJ, Socialist Alternative, Haiti Solidarity Network, NJ Forum for Human Rights, NJ Socialist Party, Saint Joseph Social Services, Justice Alliance Network, Lazos AU, Saint Peter's University Students for Peace and Justice, NJ Red Party, Food Not Bombs Jersey City, Food & Water Watch, Movement for Socialism, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, New Caucus, NJ Peace Action, Salvation and Social Justice , Rutgers Muslim Student Association