CIANA Founder and Executive Director Urges Congress to Abolish ICE at Rally

New York State Senator Jose Peralta and CIANA Founder and Executive Director Emira Habiby-Brown at rally in Jackson Heights, NY

New York State Senator Jose Peralta and CIANA Founder and Executive Director Emira Habiby Browne at rally in Jackson Heights, NY, Photo by Maria Eliades

Jackson Heights, Queens, NY -Joining New York State Senator Jose Peralta at a rally to urge Congress to abolish ICE, CIANA founder and executive director, Emira Habiby Browne, gave a speech at Corona Plaza affirming immigrant rights and the unique support that CIANA has always given them.

Here is a full transcript of the speech Habiby Browne delivered:

CIANA fully supports State Senator Peralta and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz's efforts to establish New York as a Sanctuary State and to urge Congress to replace ICE. ICE was created in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragic events and the backlash against immigrants, particularly Arab and Muslim Americans. I personally spoke out at that time against the discriminatory policies and their effect on so many hard-working immigrant families who suffered from the raids, detentions, deportations, and the separation of family members.

We are extremely troubled by the current travel bans, restrictions on family-based immigration, and the new zero-tolerance policies separating children from their parents. We are a nation of immigrants, and as the host society, it is our duty to make sure that immigrant families are not living in an environment of fear and uncertainty because of these policies. There must be protections against separating children from their parents, against indiscriminate raids, and the increasing detentions and the deportations of hard-working immigrants -- many who are running from violence and danger in their home countries to seek a safer future for their families.

We must advocate on their behalf and provide them with opportunities to contribute their skills and talents, and become full and productive members of our communities. For over a decade, CIANA has been helping immigrant families and their children adjust to a new country and culture, gain citizenship, and contribute to their communities. We have provided a community setting where people from all backgrounds can feel safe and supported as they face daily discrimination and an uncertain future. Our new immigrants need our help now more than ever. It is up to us as the host society to fight back against policies based on religion and ethnicity, against indiscriminate detentions and deportations, and against children being separated from their parents. We must continue to be the safe refuge that we have always been for those fleeing violence, domestic brutality, and poverty.