No sleep ’till citizenship!
Immigrants and advocates took a creative approach to garnering Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s attention on Oct. 6 when they slept outside of his home on Prospect Place to put pressure on the Democratic leader to deliver on citizenship in the federal budget reconciliation package.
“Today we are going to sleep on the street,” said Manuel Farfan, a young leader from Make the Road New York, who added that the number of people sleeping outside the Brooklyn politician’s home does not compare to millions who live in fear of deportation.
“We are asking for help and support,” Farfan said. “We want him to know we are here and want actions now.”
The sleep-in was hosted by a bevy of local organizations, including Make the Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition, Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, Carroll Gardens Association, and Faith in New York.
Those who participated believe that Schumer holds the power to lead Democrats, and has made a promise to create a citizenship pathway for undocumented immigrants.
“We are here today to put pressure on Senator Schumer in order to create a path for citizenship to give us his support and vote,” Farfan said, adding that many of the state’s immigrants have struggled even harder during the course of the coronavirus pandemic. “I’m here to represent my family, all of the immigrants, and all of the essential workers that have struggled during the pandemic. We’ve been fighting for decades, a lot of protest pushing this effort.”
Sleeping bags and mats were carefully placed along Prospect Park adjacent to Schumer’s home, where demonstrators ate together and discussed how immigrants are the backbone of the United States economy in both Spanish and English. Participants also disclosed the catastrophic impact the pandemic has had on them while some struggled to maintain jobs and others worked throughout quarantine within essential industries.
This was not the first time protesters showed up outside of Schumer’s home to call for change.
The same groups also held an evening vigil outside the pol’s Park Slope home, as well as in front of his office, each time making the same demands: that a pathway to citizenship be solidified in the next budget.
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A version of this story first appeared on amNewYork.