Things That Matter

More Than 100 Protesters Were Arrested In New York City For Blocking One Of The Busiest Streets In The City

About 100 people were arrested in New York City after protesters demanding an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forced the closure of a major highway.

Protesters shut down parts of the busy West Side Highway on Saturday, in an attempt to demand the closure of the federal agency.

More than 100 protesters were arrested in New York for blocking traffic along the city’s West Side Highway.

Those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct for obstructing traffic, NYPD detective Sophia T. Mason said. 

Calls for the closure of ICE have intensified since the Trump administration last year implemented its “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which resulted in thousands of families being separated at the US-Mexico border.

Criticism reignited last week after 680 undocumented workers were arrested in Mississippi in a record-setting immigration sweep on the first day of school. The raids happened Wednesday at six food-processing plants. More than 300 of the detainees had been released by Thursday, an ICE spokesman said.

The protesters took to the streets including to the busy West Side Highway.

Protesters packed the area near West 26th Street, linking arms and holding signs that said “Abolish ICE” and “Close the camps,”.

“We DEMAND an end to all detention and separation of families at the border and everywhere,” event organizers wrote. “We DEMAND dignity, respect, and permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants.”

This is what it looked like from inside the march.

More than 1,000 people turned out for the event as they marched from Midtown Manhattan to the West Side.

Many New Yorkers took to Twitter to share how proud they were of their city and community for taking a stand.

In a city that leans heavily Democratic and that supports several pro-immigrant policies and politicians, many were thrilled to see that the community was still speaking out and demanding justice And compassion for immigrants.

While others on social media wished good luck to demonstrators.

For many, it was a reminder of the positive forces at work in the country demanding an end to hate, white supremacy, and racism.

READ: Just Days After Latinos Were Targets Of A Mass Shooting, ICE Conducts The Largest Raid In A Decade

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With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Things That Matter

With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Damen Wood / Getty Images

Becoming a U.S. resident or citizen has never been an easy process. The country’s immigration system is a convoluted mess that sharply leans in favor of high-wealth individuals and under the Trump administration that is becoming more apparent than ever.

But 2020 has been an especially challenging year for immigrants seeking to complete their citizenship process.

Although it’s common for interest in naturalization to spike in the months leading up to presidential elections, the Coronavirus pandemic forced the citizenship process to a grinding halt in March. The outbreak shut offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) all across the country. And although many of these offices reopened in July, there is a widening backlog of applications.

Meanwhile, on October 2, looming fee increases could leave applications and citizenship out of reach for tens of thousands of immigrants, as the process becomes significantly more costly.

Many migrant advocacy groups are hosting events meant to help immigrants complete their applications before prices are set to rise.

In South Florida, the Office of New Americans (ONA) — a public-private partnership between Miami-Dade County and non-profit legal service providers — launched its second Miami Citizenship Week on Sept. 11. This 10-day event is designed to help immigrants with free legal support so participants can beat the October 2 deadline.

In addition, the event will host a mix of celebrations meant to highlight the social and economic contributions of South Florida’s large immigrant communities.

“I think in Miami we talk about how we are diverse and how we are adjacent to Latin America, but we never take a moment to celebrate immigrants and the amazing work that they do whether it’s the nurses in our hospitals, the drivers that drive our buses, small business owners,” said Krystina François, ONA’s executive director. “We need to reclaim the narrative around immigrants and around our communities because it’s what makes us great.”

However, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, the events will all be hosted online.

Much like any other event, Covid-19 has greatly impacted this year’s “Citizenship Week.” Therefore, the event will be hosted virtually. That includes the Mega Citizenship Clinic, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16-20. At the event, pro-bono lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Americans for Immigrant Justice and other groups will connect with attendees one-on-one on Zoom and walk them through the process of filling out the 20-page citizenship application form. 

The clinic is open to immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens, meaning permanent residents who have had a green card for at least five years.

Cities like Dallas are also getting in on similar events, meant to welcome new residents and citizens into the city.

Dallas’ Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs is hosting a series of virtual events from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 in honor of Welcoming Week. The virtual events aim to promote Dallas’ diverse communities and to unite all residents, including immigrants and refugees.

According to the City of Dallas, this year’s theme is Creating Home Together, and it emphasizes the importance of coming together as a community to build a more inclusive city for everyone.

Participants will be able to learn about the voting process and what will be on the next ballot during the “Vontando Por Mi Familia: Enterate para que vas a votar” event. The event, hosted in partnership with Mi Familia, will be presented in Spanish.

A Council Member, Jaime Resendez, will host a virtual program on Tuesday at 11 a.m. that celebrates Latinx art and culture. The event will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Mayor Eric Johnson will read the Welcoming Week Proclamation, and the event will feature art exhibitions and performances showcasing the talents of performers and artists across Dallas.

Attendees will also have a chance to learn more about the availability of DACA and a citizenship workshop will take place where articipants will learn how to complete their N-400 application for citizenship. Volunteer immigration attorneys and accredited representatives from the Department of Justice will be there for assistance.

The events come as fees for several immigration proceedings are set to rise by dramatic amounts come October 1.

Starting on October 2, the financial barrier will grow even taller for many immigrants as fees are set to increase. The fee to apply for U.S. citizenship will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online, or $ 1,170 in paper filing, a more than 80% increase in cost. 

“In the middle of an economic downturn, an increase of $520 is a really big amount,” François told the Miami-Herald.

Aside from the fee increase, many non-citizen immigrants never truly felt the need to become citizens. That was until the Coronavirus pandemic hit and had many questioning their status in the country.

“There are people who up until this COVID crisis, their status as a permanent resident didn’t impact their day-to-day life … but then the pandemic has given them another reason of why it’s important to take that extra step and become a citizen, because of the additional rights and protections that are afforded to you, but also to just have a sense of security and stability in a crisis.”

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Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

Things That Matter

Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

Jacob Blake / Facebook

Updated: August 26, 2020.

Police have attacked and shot another unarmed Black man. This time the victim is 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is still alive but fighting for his life in serious condition.

Video of the attack – which has since gone viral on social media – shows Blake attempting to get back into his vehicle when he is grabbed by police and shot at least seven times right in the back. The video tells a damning story and protesters have already taken to the streets demanding the police officers responsible be held accountable for their actions.

To many, the attack is further proof that the American policing system is broken and has no value for the lives of Black Americans.

Outrage is growing as video shows police shoot an unarmed Black man in the back at least seven times.

In Wisconsin, police have shot another unarmed Black man – which is leading to widespread protests. The two officers are on leave as state authorities investigate the shooting.

Video circulating on social media shows the victim – Jacob Blake – being shot multiple times in the back as he entered the driver’s side door of his SUV. Currently, Blake is in serious condition fighting for his life.

Attorney Ben Crump, who now represents the Blake family, posted a video of the Sunday evening shooting in Kenosha. The footage spread across social media, sparking protests and leading county officials to institute a curfew that remained in place until Monday morning.

The attack unfolded on a residential street packed with apartment buildings, a block from a city golf course. In the video clip, Blake walks around the front of a gray SUV with two officers a step or two behind him, one with his weapon trained on the man’s back. As Blake enters the driver side door of his car, the nearest officer grabs the tail of his tank top and seven shots are heard. The man entering the car appears to go limp. A sustained car horn blares. A woman nearby jumps up and down, apparently in anguish.

Jeffery Robinson, a deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, said Blake’s death – along with Floyd’s outside a Minneapolis grocery store, Taylor’s in her own home and Eric Garner’s in front of a New York bodega – demonstrates “the very institution of American policing is rotten at its core.”

Of Blake’s shooting, Robinson said, “With each of the seven shots fired, the police department made their intent clear – they believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away from them.”

Blake was allegedly trying to break up a domestic dispute between two women when police approached him.

In a tweet, Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, says the man was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”

Officers were called to respond to a domestic disturbance, police said, but it’s unclear who called 911 or what happened before the video recording begins. In a police call, a dispatcher says Blake “isn’t supposed to be there” and that he took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”

Blake’s own children were in the vehicle and watched their father get shot by police.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Blake’s three young sons were in the car.

“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump said on Twitter. “They will be traumatised forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”

Protests are beginning to pop up across the country, as others continue to mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – among so many others.

Credit: Guy Smallman / Getty Images

The attack on Jacob Blake comes as demonstrators continue to protest against police violence in American cities, including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man – Trayford Pellerin, 31 – outside a convenience store.

In Kenosha, a city of 100,000 located between Chicago and Milwaukee, protesters overnight broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building, according to CNN affiliate WISN. Vehicles at a nearby auto dealership were torched, a fire was started at a county courthouse and officers in tactical gear formed a line to protect a public safety building, the station reported.

Before the sun rose Monday, numerous dump and garbage trucks remained smoldering on the street after being set ablaze. The courthouse and administrative building were closed Monday, and all court hearings for the day are postponed, the county said on Facebook.

Still, unrest continues.

During the third night of protests over the shooting of Blake, two demonstrators were killed after clashes with law enforcement raged outside of an Illinois County Courthouse.

After protesters moved their demonstrations outside of a gas station in Kenosha, Wisconsin shots were fired outside leading to two fatalities, and one person being left with injuries that were not life-threatening. Court documents from Lake County, Ill., reveal that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday morning in relation to the shooting. He has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shooting . According to The New York Times, “Antioch is about 30 minutes southwest of Kenosha, just over the Illinois line. More details were expected during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.”

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