Give credit where credit is due. I’m the first one to criticize the New York Immigrant Coalition (NYIC) and Make the Road New York, regarding their liberal, sometimes backward stance on immigration. They’re in bed with the Mayor and the Democrats, but Saturday morning, with the help of BuzzFeed and, of course Facebook Live, these groups started a whole day of actions against President Trump’s sweeping ban on refugees as well as legal U.S. residents from seven majority Muslim nations being able to enter the country. By evening the ACLU had won a federal court ruling that granted a temporary injunction that stops deportations nationwide under Trump's order.
After an exhausting week for the country, here in New York the immigrant rights movement’s split, was sharpened between those who still want undocumented folks to ‘register,’ pardon me, to signup to get their municipal NYC ID and those who have always contended that doing so, can backfire on them; especially now during the Trump years. On Thursday, Families for Freedom and other radical pro-immigrant groups were vindicated when the head of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrants Affairs finally admitted that "In New York City, we voluntarily cooperate with federal immigration authorities…"
Feeling the heat from this all week, NYIC, Make the Road and company ran this morning to JFK Airport to support the first detainees under Trump’s executive order. The rest, as they say, is history. At noon, only a few dozen people were protesting outside the airport when BuzzFeed began to stream live via Facebook. In just a couple of hours, their feed had five million views and New Yorkers were flocking to JFK. It was massive. Being so close to the Free Republic of Brooklyn, the airport was taken over by hundreds of Brooklyn-based bad-asses, who made their way there and essentially brought the airport to a complete stop. Similar protests happened at other airports across the country. Even Michael Moore managed to get himself over to JFK. To be expected, as soon as Moore got there, he went live and ‘started leading a march.’
Night fell in New York, while thousands were still at JFK, more warriors were called into action to support the emergency stay hearing brought to federal court by the ACLU. By 7:30 pm in downtown Brooklyn, the federal courtroom was so packed, that people outside, started surrounding the courthouse chanting “No ban, no fear, Immigrants are welcome here.” Within one hour there were about 2,000 people gathered in Cadman Plaza, waiting for the court’s ruling. Then the news came: VICTORY!
The ACLU lawyers gave an improvised press conference outside the courthouse stating: “The judge saw through what the government was doing and so ruled that the government cannot remove anybody caught up in Trump’s order, nationwide. Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country. Our courts today worked as they should, as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”
What’s the take-away you may ask? Aside from the fact that ‘shit does go viral a lot easier on the weekend’? There is a strong resistance against Trump: today WE WON. We kicked their little culos for sure. Yes, it takes the immigration orgs, as well as the people’s law firms, some indy news sources and the magic of social media, to pull this kind of successful actions together in JUST ONE DAY. This weekend we landed a devastating blow to the new regime and we did it together. Today we were a beautiful movement [I’m tearing]. It’s basic physics really, a mass that moves fast generates tremendous power. Today we took back our streets, we took over our airports, we took back our plazas and courthouses. We hit the streets at a moment’s notice, we raged and became #ungovernable. Today they were afraid of us. Trump didn’t even tweet once. It took us one whole week to react, but we did it! Tell the world: WE ARE WOKE AS FUCK. Bienvenidos a la resistencia cabroncitos, this is what democracy looks like.
Mariano Muñoz-Elías is a Peruvian-born, long-time activist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on twitter @bkmariano.
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