Rutgers University

Hundreds Rally in Newark for Undocumented Rutgers Student Facing Deportation

Carimer Andujar addresses the crowd on May 9 outside the federal ICE building in Newark. Credits: Jack Murtha
A graduate student activist leads the crowd in song to support Carimer Andujar. Credits: Jack Murtha
Sherry Wolf, senior organizer for Rutgers' faculty union, fires up the crowd of Carimer Andujar supporters on May 9 in Newark.

NEWARK, NJ — They met her with a hero’s welcome.

Carimer Andujar, the Rutgers University student facing deportation, emerged from the federal building on Broad Street in Newark around 10:30 a.m. to applause from hundreds of supporters. The 21-year-old undocumented immigrant came from an interview with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, who were deciding whether she’d stay in the country.

The agency has taken an interest in the outspoken on-campus activist. Her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal form—which would allow her to continue to attend college without the possibility of deportation—had yet to be approved. But members of the Rutgers community and a fiery group of activists rallied on the sidewalk today, May 9, demanding ICE agents keep their “hands off Carimer.”

Sign Up for E-News

What ICE told Andujar and whether her DACA form has been renewed wasn’t immediately clear. Even so, she appeared positive and determined to continue advocating for immigrants in her address to the crowd.

“I do intend to stay here,” Andujar said after thanking her backers. “I do intend to finish my education, and I do intend to chase after my dreams.”

Andujar arrived in Newark for a 9 a.m. meeting requested by ICE. No one knew whether she’d be detained on the spot, as activists said other people have in recent days.

When she went upstairs, ICE agents asked her several questions and took her fingerprints, she said. Some of them must’ve also peered through the windows.

“They were well aware of the support I had waiting for me outside,” Andujar said, “from community members, from university leaders, from elected officials, from clergy.”

Indeed, a sizable crowd began to assemble outside the building after 8 a.m. in anticipation of the chemical-engineering student’s interview. Rutgers professors, students and activists joined with priests, aspiring politicians and local leaders to rally for Andujar and against President Donald Trump and his immigration policies.

Many of the faces were familiar to those in New Brunswick’s anti-Trump movement, a push whose members have acted quickly and often to stand up for illegal immigrants.

Demonstrators lock hands and pray during a May 9 rally for Carimer Andujar and other undocumented immigrants.

“Let us stand with the new Americans who will build the 21st century of America,” Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, said, echoing a common sentiment in the movement. “Let us stand with Carimer.”

The #HandsOffCarimer campaign—which spread on social media and has since attracted cameras from New York—came about due to Andujar’s connection to Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the union that represents roughly 7,000 faculty members.

After Andujar received a letter from ICE about two months ago, she approached Sherry Wolf, a senior organizer for the union. The young woman wasn’t sure if she should take her struggle public. Wolf said the decision was hers, although “the best defense is a good offense.”

From there, the Rutgers faculty union posted Andujar’s story on its Facebook page. Then it organized an action meeting for her supporters. Next came a rally in New Brunswick and then today’s demonstration, for which the group chartered a bus out of Rutgers.

Protesters stand outside the federal immigration building on May 9 in Newark.

But Wolf and her colleagues didn’t show up just for Andujar.

“DACA students were made to understand that having DACA status was some sort of protection, but we are finding out these last weeks that there is no armor of protection,” Wolf said, her voice loud and strained. “We will not allow this to become normal in this country.”

Among the dozen or so speakers were several of Andujar’s fellow Rutgers students.

The protesters filled the time between speakers with chants and song. They held signs that carried slogans like “I stand with Carimer,” “We are proud of you Carimer!” and “Defund ICE.”

Supporters await Carimer Andujar after her interview with ICE agents.

While the pro-Andujar movement is a grassroots one, several elected officials and politicians have signed on to her cause.

Representatives of Phil Murphy, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone spoke in solidarity with Andujar and undocumented immigrants. Newark City Councilman Luis Quintana and Essex County Freeholder Rolando Bobadilla also condemned Trump and ICE.

Seth Kaper-Dale, a Highland Park pastor who’s running for governor and often frequents New Brunswick demonstrations, fired up the crowd with an angry tirade against the country’s budding anti-immigrant policies.

“As the minister of a church, I’m not supposed to want to talk about hate, but I hate this place,” he yelled, pointing to the ICE building. “This place right here is racial and ethnic cleansing American-style.”

The scene this morning as Carimer Andujar interviewed with ICE agents.

But in the end, it was Andujar—interview-ready in dress clothes and her hair tied back in a bun—who most energized the crowd.

Having arrived in the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when she was 4 years old, she said she has always considered herself an American. If she were booted from the country, she said, she would lose her family and the only home she’s ever known.

She doesn’t plan to go silent, despite being on ICE’s radar. Many have speculated that her position as the founding president of UndocuRutgers, an immigrant-advocacy group, exposed her to deportation in the first place.

“My dedication to undocumented students and ensuring that they have the opportunities that they deserve remains,” she said. “I will fight back because I am here to stay.”

And, if only for today, it appears she has won.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - December 14, 2017




The Jaffe Briefing will publish its final issue of the year on Friday, returning Tuesday, January 2. Happy 2018 to all!


OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

 TRENTON - A state budget with "honest" numbers? That may soon be coming to New Jersey, as Phil Murphy has vowed to develop budgets based on real numbers, as opposed to financial ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_42c09c3500c937495d3d_kidscritters

Fri, December 15, 11:00 AM

New Jersey Audubon - Plainsboro Preserve, Plainsboro

Kids and Critters Preschool Program

Arts & Entertainment Green Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Fri, December 15

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Fri, December 15, 5:00 PM

The Palace At Somerset Park, Somerset

NAIOP New Jersey: 2018 Commercial Real Estate ...

Real Estate

Traffic Advisory for Rutgers Big Chill 5K Run/Walk on December 2

December 1, 2017

Be advised that on Saturday, December 2, Rutgers Recreation Big Chill 5K run/walk will take place from 7 a.m. to noon. Due to this event, there will be full and partial closures to several main roads in the New Brunswick area including College Avenue between Buccleuch Park and Somerset Street. 

The following roads will be closed intermittently: Somerset Street from ...

Former Rutgers student pleads guilty to involvement in cyber attacks against university

December 13, 2017

TRENTON, NJ - A former Rutgers student pleaded guilty to his involvement in a series of cyber attacks against the Rutgers University computer network, which left the internet crippled for days at a time, US Department of Justice Officials announced on December 13.

Paras Jha, 21, of Fanwood, faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, US officials announced, after he pled ...

Rutgers student activists disrupt board of trustees, call for minimum wage increase

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Dozens of students activists interrupted the Rutgers Board of Trustees December 12 meeting as part of their campaign for a campus-wide $15 minimum wage.

Many of them chanted slogans such as “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” and “We want just, and power, and 15 an hour.” Others hel​d​ up signs which ​simply ​read ...

State unveils $1.3 million grant to Rutgers opioid treatment program

PISCATAWAY, NJ - ​Solutions to the state's opiod crisis has landed in the lap of Rutgers University. ​The ​university's ​New Jersey Healthcare Development Center ​is being armed with $1.3 million to launch a statewide Certified A​l​cohol and Drug Counselor apprenticeship program​, in the latest effort to battle opiod addiction.​

With the ​state ​grant, the ...

NJTV to put spotlight to New Brunswick with "In Your Neighborhood" special

December 12, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - ​NJTV - typically broadcasting from its home in downtown Newark - is coming to New Brunswick these next couple weeks, as part of their “In Your Neighborhood” series.

NJTV’s program will bring together different key figures from across the city, similar to In Your Neighborhood specials the​ station has ​broadcast in Asbury Park, Camden ...

OPINION

A Threat to Patient Choice; Horizon Limits Network - Letter to the Editor

December 6, 2017

A 96-year old patient recently arrived at my office in Monroe and burst into tears, saying her insurance company called to tell her she needed to switch doctors. She brought a letter indicating that I would no longer be in-network for her Medicare Advantage plan with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

The state’s largest carrier had excluded from its new Medicare ...

Advisory: Code Blue in Effect for Evening of Thursday, December 14

December 14, 2017

Due to frigid temperatures, Code Blue will be in effect for the evening of Thursday, December 14. 

Accordingly, the Henry Guest House, located at 58 Livingston Avenue (next to the New Brunswick Free Public Library) will be open overnight as a warming center between the hours of 7 p.m. tonight and 7 a.m. Friday. 

Code Blue goes into effect when temperatures dip below 20 ...