Immigrant essential workers rally in NYC for pathway to citizenship

One thousand immigrant essential workers and their allies took over the streets of New York City Friday afternoon.

Protesters marched from Columbus Park in Chinatown, across the Manhattan Bridge to demand one thing: for the country to value their contributions and give all 11 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. 

Undocumented immigrants say they were critical to keeping the city up and running during the pandemic. 

"Millions of undocumented immigrants including DACA recipients, TPS holders and farm workers continued to work as essential workers to provide for their families and their communities yet, these undocumented people have not seen any legislative action that will provide a long-awaited path for citizenship," said Poleth Farfan, a member of Make the Road New York and who is undocumented.

RELATED: Federal judge orders DACA program to halt approval of new applications

Joanne Ibañez Rojas is an essential worker. She is a housekeeper and nanny, she says during the pandemic she was exploited, claiming she worked long hours and was not paid, instead threatened with her immigration status. 

"All of us, all immigrants are essential human beings and we need an immigration reform," she said.

The rally is part of a nationwide day of action to demand that a pathway to citizenship be included in the infrastructure package.

Last week Senate Democrats announced that their infrastructure package would include a pathway to citizenship, but according to immigration advocates, the recent court decision to end the DACA program only underscores the urgency for Democrats to hold the line and ensure a pathway to citizenship for immigrant essential workers, DACA, and TPS recipients. 

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