By GREGORY N. HEIRES
DC 37 and other unions are fighting the deportation of a Mexican undocumented worker who has lived 30 years in the United States.
Many unionists joined immigrant rights advocates, elected officials and the family of Martin Martinez at a rally in front of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s building in downtown Manhattan for a rally on June 21.
In April, ICE detained Martinez — who fled poverty and violence in Mexico to come to the United States —and held him for two weeks. Apparently, ICE picked up the Newburgh resident because he was twice convicted for DWI about 20 years ago.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido described Martinez’s pending deportation immoral and at odds with the country’s values, which include welcoming the downtrodden of other countries to the United States.
Garrido noted that the union is involved in another deportation case. The union is fighting to block the deportation of Local 983 member Jose Molina. ICE plans deport Molina because he was convicted of felony assault about 20 years ago.
“This is an administration that is tearing people apart,” Public Advocate Letitia James said at the rally for Martinez. “We pray for Mr. Martinez. We pray for his family. The fight has only just begun.”
Melissa Mark-Viverito, speaker of the New York City Council, described the action against Martinez as racist.
“Let’s be clear,” Mark-Viverito said. “We have an administration that is racist. They don’t like people who look different and don’t look like them.”
“So many people are being taken from their loved ones,” NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer said, accompanying Martinez’s daughter, Maria Martinez, and wife, Julia Ochoa.