March 23, 2020
Contact: Carolina Bortolleto

After Years of Fighting, Bridgeport Immigrants Achieve Victory with Introduction of “Protection for Families and Immigrants” City Ordinance

“When we fight, we win. By passing this ordinance, Bridgeport has the opportunity to set the standard for the rest of Connecticut in how to create a prosperous city”

Bridgeport, CT-- Today, Bridgeport City Council will introduce and debate a landmark city ordinance to protect our city’s immigrant community, called “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants”.   The City Ordinance, being introduced by Bridgeport CIty Council Member Marcus Brown, marks the culmination and victory of a year long campaign begun and led by the Make The Road Fight Back Committee members to make Bridgeport a Sanctuary City.

WHAT: Introduction of “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants” City Ordinance

WHERE:  Phone conference, Dial In Number:    (929) 436 2866, Meeting ID: 662973501

WHEN:  Monday, March 23rd, 7pm

Due to social distance guidelines, the Bridgeport City Council will be conducted via teleconference, and the public cannot comment on the proceedings. Although Make The Road CT’s press conference celebrating the introduction will no longer take place as scheduled, the group’s members are available for interviews, upon request.

The group has been steadily increasing pressure for their demands, causing the City to take note and take action in recent months. In May 2017, Bridgeport passed a non binding “Welcoming City Resolution''.  The resolution did not go far enough and Make the Road kept fighting. Last fall, after a sit in at Mayor Gamin’s office, Mayor Gamin succumbed to the group's pressure and hours later signed an Executive Order meeting many of the group’s demands. The “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants'' City Ordinance meets all of the group’s demands and has two sections. The first assures that Bridgeport Police and City employees will comply with the TRUST Act (a law that limits communication between federal immigration and local police) and that the City will train its employees on the TRUST Act. The second part of the Ordinace requires the city to take steps to ensure non discrimination and inclusion in City services. 

Make The Road encourages community members to keep up the pressure to pass this ordinance by signing this petition: 

Sonia Hernandez, Make the Road CT Fight Back Organizer, Bridgeport Resident: “What this victory shows is that when we fight, we win. For years we’ve been fighting and each time, we have gotten closer to our demands. It's important to note that neither the Welcoming City Resolution in 2017 or the Executive Order last year  were binding agreements and they didn’t go far enough. So although we celebrated that the voices and concerns of our immigrant and marginalized communities were being heard at Bridgeport City Hall, we knew we had to keep fighting. The “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants”  City Ordinance is significant and different from previous measures as it is binding city law. With this ordinance, the City of Bridgeport and its leadership has finally moved from empty words and promises to true action. Not only does it codify the previous demands into City Law, but it goes several steps further toward our aim of making Bridgeport a true welcoming city for all residents by meeting our demands of language access in city services and by ensuring that the Bridgeport Police Dept is committed to helping victims of crime seek help regardless of immigration status.”

Elizabeth Martinez, Fight Back Committee Member, Bridgeport Resident,  “I joined Make The Road’s Fight Back Committee to learn my rights as an immigrant and to protect myself and my family. But I ended up learning so much more, I learned how to fight for the change our communities need and I learned that I and other immigrants like me do have a voice and do have power to make change. I am proud of the victory we have been able to achieve. But this is not the end. Our Ordinance will only be discussed today,  and still has to be voted on by both the Ordinance Committee and the full Bridgeport City Council. We urge city council members to move forward on this resolution. By passing the “Protection for Bridgeport Families and Immigrants” Ordinance, Bridgeport, which is our state’s most diverse and largest city, will set the standard for the rest of Connecticut in how to create a prosperous city that truly cares for the safety and dignity of ALL its residents.” 

Marcus Brown, Bridgeport City Council member, “As our country continues to see highterend extremism and anti-immigrant at the national level, we have the opportunity - and really, the duty - to protect and support our immigrant neighbors here in Bridgeport. I’m putting forward this ordinance here today because we must ensure that everyone, regardless of citizenship, has equal due process before the law. I also want to ensure that victims of crimes who are immigrants feel empowered to cooperate with law enforcement. Our state leaders worked hard to amend the CT TRUST Act to protect our community. We need to ensure that there is training and full implementations of its provisions. 

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Make the Road Connecticut works to support immigrants to be active in their communities and to lift themselves out of poverty through legal and support services, civic engagement, transformative education and policy innovation.

www.maketheroadct.org

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