AOC’s immigration town hall at Corona school inspires passionate advocacy

Several AOC constituents and supporters stood on the sidelines of the meeting.  Eagle  photo by Rachel Vick

Several AOC constituents and supporters stood on the sidelines of the meeting. Eagle photo by Rachel Vick

By Rachel Vick

Bernice Tiscione immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in 1955, when she was just six years old, and settled in Jackson Heights.  She remembers being taunted and getting told to go back to where she came from. 

On Saturday, Tiscione and her daughter attended a town hall meeting in Corona, hosted by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez —  just days after President Donald Trump said the same things to Ocasio-Cortez and three of her colleagues, all women of color. 

“I feel a need to show support for these people; here, in the camps, where families are being separated,” Tiscione said. “It’s unbelievable that this is happening here.”

Ocasio-Cortez joined African Communities Together Executive Director Amaha Kassa, Asian Americans for Equality Co-Executive Director Jennifer Sun, Desis Rising Up and Moving Director of Strategy Roksana Mun and Make the Road New York spokesperson Yatziri Tovar. 

“There’s a lot of remarkable stuff that’s written about hope, and one of the great things about hope is showing the world that this future that we’re fighting for is already here,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The world, the America we’re fighting for, is in Jackson Heights.”

She celebrated the fact that there were no arrests made in last week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in New York City, and credited the efforts of community organizations like those represented in the panel to educate residents about their rights.

Assemblymember Catalina Cruz recounted her experience growing up as an immigrant and the sacrifices her mother made, comparing the fear of arrest that her family felt to the experiences of immigrant families today.

“Two, three or maybe four families [nearby are] emergency-planning because every day that they go to work, they don't know if they're going to come home to take care of their kids,” Cruz said. 

Lupito Romero, an activist and DACA recipient delivered a passionate speech about the treatment of her brother at the hands of immigration agents. 

“I didn’t know just how much my life and the life of a lot of children who grew up here after 9/11 would be and that is a life marked by war; war abroad and the department of homeland security that has waged a war on all immigrants like myself and my brother,” Romero said. “Our wars are not just abroad they here, and [the Department of Homeland Security] is fighting against us and they are trying to kill us.”

“We deserve unconditional citizenship because there are no conditions for our humanity," she added