Protecting Immigrants from ICE (LASC Coffeehouse 5/22/17)

Immigrants, refugees, people without papers – when they are other-than-caucasian, that’s when there’s an issue, to paraphrase our of our wonderful speakers, Leila Cassandra Bocanegra. Black and brown families especially, Asian and Muslim families – families suffer, as her family has, when ICE and Border Patrol agents are stopping and harassing based on racial profiling. The suffering can be even worse with incarceration and/or deportation, tearing families apart and terrorizing whole communities.

We had an intense evening of inspiration and shared grief and strength, information, and action planning,  as our panel shared their knowledge and experience of all kinds re “Understanding ICE and Border Patrol – Protecting Immigrants.”

  • John Llory Ghertner MD (Migrant Support Services Wayne County, and Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice), recognized specialist and devoted activist.
  • Leila Cassandra Bocanegra, Bachelors from SUNY-Geneseo, winner of numerous awards and recognition of her stellar community service and activism in Rochester, NY.
  • Peter Mares (Rural and Migrant Ministry), advocate, immigrant, community outreach worker and US citizen.
  • John Curr III (New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Western Regional Office Chapter Director), expert on civil rights and accountability, and dedicated to justice.

People are urged to videotape harassment and to stand up for human rights when someone’s rights are being violated. Other ways to help include:

  • Call your NY State Legislators! Numbers are at the bottom of this post (also under Governmental Contact Info under the Issues/Taskforces tab of this website). Ask them to support immigrants, refugees, people without papers, and migrant farmworkers by voting for
    • the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act – Senate Bill 2721/Assembly Bill 4189. It gives farmworkers the same protections the rest of the population already enjoys.
    • the #GreenLightNY program to restore access to drivers licenses to people without papers – Assembly bill 4050. Without it, a simple traffic infraction can cause deportation. It will keep everyone safer!
      • Also please call Assemblyperson David Gantt, Chair of Transportation Committee, 518-455-5606, to ask him to move the bill through his committee; and
      • Call Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, 518-455-3791, to ask him to prioritize passing the bill.
  • Support local initiatives and groups that are providing sanctuary and looking after the well-being of our immigrant/refugee/brothers and sisters without documents. Vivé and Pilgrim-St. Luke’s UCC are sanctuaries, and need funds (P-SL for showers and a bail fund) and other items including toiletries, etc. (see WNYPC “Weekly” Updates and posts for further info).

About 40 people attended, and 45 were on the twitter feed where it was being livestreamed. We were touched deeply by the speakers.

  • Llory/Dr. Ghertner was eloquent and inspired/inspiring, compassionate and courageous!
  • Leila was moving and awe-inspiring! She showed such clear strength and love. She will move mountains, and get all alongside helping!
  • Peter shared his experience and wisdom, all beautifully offered! His endurance and integrity are profound.
  • John showed deep humility, only matched by excellent info and grasp of the subject and context, as well as deep commitment to the work.

In particular, Leila is an extraordinary young woman – strong, passionate, and devoted to others. As Llory said of Leila, now effectively his god-daughter,

As the US daughter of two undocumented parents who traveled from Mexico to escape gang violence, Leila has spent her teenage and college years grappling with understanding who she is in a society which has not been welcoming. Just having graduated from SUNY Geneseo, she understands that one day soon she will have to support her 4 year old brother when her parents lose their battle to remain in this country and that she must continue her struggles to become an immigration attorney so that others will not have to endure what she has witnessed.

Peter’s courage was also impressive – for examplebeing harassed as an interpreter despite being a US Citizen, and when – unconstitutionally – pushed for his info, he stood on principle despite being roughed up and handcuffed by a whole team.

All in all, the evening held Education, Inspiration, and Action for all and to the greater good. We shall overcome! Si, se puede!

57th District
Catharine Young (R) 716-372-4901
59th District
Patrick M. Gallivan (R) Elma 716-656-8544
60th District
Chris Jacobs Buffalo (R) 716-854-8705
61st District
Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R) Williamsville (716) 631-8695
62nd District
Robert Ort (R) Lockport 716-434-0680
63rd District
Timothy M. Kennedy (D) Buffalo NY 14220 826-2683

Other NYS State (D) Senators
Sen. Diaz 32nd Bronx 518-455-2511
Sen. Klein 34th Bronx 518-455-3595
Sen. Savino 23rd Staten Island 518-455-2437
Sen. David Valesky 53rd District Syracuse 518-455-2838
Sen. Simcha Felder District 17 Brooklyn (518) 455-2754

140th District
Robin Schimminger (D) Kenmore NY 716-873-2540
141st District
Crystal D. Peoples (D) 7 E. Buffalo 716-897-9714
142nd District
Michael P. Kearns (D) W.Seneca 716-608-6099
143rd District
Monica Wallace Cheektowaga 716-686-0080
144th District
Michael Norris Clarence 716-839-4691
145th District
Angelo Morinello Niagara Falls 716-282-6062
146th District
Raymond W. Walter (R) Williamsville NY 716-634-1895
147th District
David J. DiPietro (R) East Aurora 716-655-0951
149th District
Sean Ryan (D) Buffalo 716-885-9630