After the mayor’s office confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers attempted to make arrests in Far Rockaway this week as a part of the nationwide raids in big cities, Councilman Donovan Richards hosted a rally to show solidarity with immigrants in the neighborhood.
Richard gathered with Pastor Robles Jr., Andrea Colon from Rockaway Youth Task Force and Lori Zeno and Susana Vacca from Queens Law Associates at God’s Pentecostal Church of Thursday to stand up against the agency’s crackdown.
“Today we stand in unison to send a clear message to ICE that the Rockaway community doesn’t run from bullies. But we stand up to them. And we fight back. But perhaps ICE didn’t get the memo about District 31 in the Rockaways because that memo reads that we value the contributions of immigrants in our community, city and country,” Richards said.
A spokesperson from Richards’ office said that they have confirmed with the mayor’s office that ICE were seen although they did receive the exact location of the raid. It was the only ICE operation reported in Queens thus far.
In addition to calling attention to the raid itself, Richards wanted to let the neighborhood’s immigrant community know that his office has “Know Your Rights” materials ready and hosts a weekly session with CUNY Citizenship Now in order to provide legal services for free.
Richards said he wanted to assure the residents Rockaway, which has a growing Latino community, that he stands with them against ICE.
“And me myself as the proud son of an immigrant — my dad just became a proud U.S. citizen this year. I’m a living example of what the American dream represents for immigrants and why they come here in the first place to ensure that they can have a better life for themselves but more importantly for their children,” Richards said.
ICE did not immediately respond for comment.