The same day courts consider the legality of President Trump’s latest Travel Ban, an Upstate New York case saw a woman facing deportation. Workers advocates see it as an example of what’s wrong with the trend in immigration policy.
Delores Bustamonte went in front of an immigration judge today to fight possible deportation, which would separate her form her daughter. She was turned over to immigration authorities after a traffic stop by state troopers. That resulted in an executive memo prohibiting state police from asking citizen status. Workers Center of CNY organizer Nikeeta Slade says this is nothing new.
“So, we know definitely across the country and even here locally, there’s been an uptick in detentions and deportations. But, I mean for a lot of people this is just business as usual. I think a lot of people in the public now are finally getting to see what a lot of immigrants here in Upstate New York and across the country have known for a really long time.”
Peter Swords was at Wednesday morning’s rally …and points out this is not a matter of criminal law.
“Immigration law is based on civil law. You’re not illegal if you’re here without documents. You haven’t committed a crime. When Trump’s people are trying to expand deportations, we need to stand our human rights, our civil rights.”
Upstate is home to undocumented workers in many agricultural settings – dairy, apple orchards – where farmers can’t find locals to do the work. Minnie Bruce Pratt sees broader value in protecting them.
“And our being here with Delores today is one moment in standing up for all working people, all working families, all people of color, immigrants. It’s standing up for us."
UPDATE ON MARCH 16:
On Wednesday, Bustamante was granted a hearing on the matter in May. Rebecca Fuentes from the Worker's Center of CNY says the group is happy in the moment and urges people to continue to show support, remain vigilant and protect one another. In addition to the controversial travel ban, the White House has called for increased cooperation from state and local police to enforce immigration laws.