WESTFIELD, NJ — About 50 people gathered in front of Congressman Leonard Lance’s Westfield office for 45 minutes Thursday to protest President Trump’s immigration policies. Among them were members of immigrants’ rights organization Make the Road, Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau and New York City Councilman Carlos Menchaca.
Demonstrators chanted “No hate, no fear. Immigrants are welcome here” and “Down, down, deportation. Up, Up with liberation.”
Dansereau told the crowd that Roselle will become a sanctuary city in March.
“Don’t tell me that somebody is a criminal because they’re not holding a piece a paper,” she said.
Elizabeth Chabla, a Union resident and member of Make the Road, said she was disappointed that Lance was not at the office to meet with protesters.
“Mainly, what we are here for is to demand answers,” she said. “We are afraid.”
According to Chabla, 17.3 percent of Lance’s constituents in District 7 are immigrants.
“[Deportation] raids are already happening so close to this district. People are afraid to send their kids to school now because they’re afraid they’ll come home and Mom and Dad won’t be there,” Chabla said. “We want to find out if he will stand up for our rights — our human rights … They are dividing families. It’s cruelty.”
Rev. Dr. LL DuBreuil of Faith United Church of Christ in Union came to represent her congregants, most of whom are immigrants. She said she worried that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement could come into her church.
“The congressman needs to know that we’re holding him accountable,” DuBreuil said.
Menchaca, who is Mexican-American and chair of New York City Council’s committee on immigration, said he came to New Jersey to represent his community.
“I’m representing their voices because everyone needs to hear,” he said.
Afterward, Lance spokesman John Byers told TAPinto, “The Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Newark has said publicly that no raids are happening in New Jersey. Federal immigration and law enforcement officials say they continue to focus their attention on those individuals convicted of crimes and here illegally that pose a meaningful threat to national security or public safety, and Congressman Lance supports those efforts.”