New Orleans protest demands hurricane relief for all immigrants, defends DACA
New Orleans, LA – Dozens of protesters rallied at the statue of Benito Juarez on August 27 to demand hurricane relief funds for all immigrants, regardless of legal status. The rally also came in response to national call to action by the Legalization for All Network to defend DACA against legal attacks and to commemorate the Chicano Moratorium.
The rally was planned to coincide with the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ida, which both made landfall in Louisiana on August 29. Although it was largely the labor of immigrant workers that rebuilt New Orleans after both disasters, many immigrants face legal barriers to disaster relief funds.
Sebastian Miscenich of New Orleans Immigrant Rights Action said, “migrant workers rebuild this town time and time again after hurricanes, so immigrants need to become a priority for city government. People deserve access to funds to rebuild their homes and support themselves and their families regardless of legal status.”
Members of New Orleans Immigrant Rights Action circulated a petition at the rally demanding that the city of New Orleans establish an immigrants’ fund in the city budget. The fund would provide for disaster relief for all immigrants regardless of status, comprehensive legal defense for immigrants facing deportation proceedings, and full translation equality for city resources.
Speakers also brought attention to the threat that the Supreme Court poses to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows undocumented people who arrived to the United States as children to work and live in the country legally.
Miscenich said, “the unelected, right-wing Supreme Court wants to overturn DACA. This would not only strip people who have committed no crime of their legal status but leave the government with a list of who they are and where they live.”
Antonia Mar of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke in commemoration of the Chicano Moratorium, saying “the Chicano Moratorium demanded an end to the imperialist war in Vietnam and an end to discrimination against Chicanos. We’re here showing that the struggle for self-determination and dignity continues!”
Bilingual interpretation and banners were provided by Unión Migrante, an immigrant workers group in New Orleans. The rally overcame technical issues with the sound system, amplifying the speakers with the people’s mic. Protesters chanted “Disaster relief, it can’t wait! The next hurricane is too late!” and held signs reading “Disaster relief regardless of status now!” and “Defend DACA!”