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United We Dream and Allies Demand Permanent Ceasefire and Immigrant Protections

For years, anti-immigrant politicians have told us that immigration is a bad thing. It’s time to dispel this notion and to accept that immigration is a beautiful thing.

Photo Credit: Eman Mohammed

“From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go!”

Last week, I joined an action hosted by United We Dream in DC’s Capitol Hill. We demanded a ceasefire now in Gaza and permanent protections for immigrants who have made the United States our home.

This action was a response to Senate leaders proposing a bill earlier this month that would fund Israel’s assault on Gaza, the war on Ukraine, more militarization in the Indo-Pacific, and the denial, deportations, and detentions of migrants at the US-Mexico border. Essentially more taxpayer dollars for war and border militarization.

On February 15, 200 immigrant, Palestinian, Jewish youth and allies showed up saying ‘no’ to this deal. We met at Union Station, within eyesight of the nation’s capitol building, dressed in red, black, and green, and with red poppies and watermelons – visuals representing Palestinian solidarity and resistance. Poppies are abundant flowers in Palestine and watermelons have been used as stand-in symbols for the Palestinian flag ever since the Israeli government banned it following the Six-Day War in 1967.

Last week the Senate passed a version of the bill without the dangerous border funding. This was a real victory, but we know that our safety is always at risk. And people’s lives in Gaza are at risk everyday, now more than ever with Israeli attacks extending all the way to the Egyptian border at Rafah, and with 1.4 million people displaced, ill, and hungry.

The border funding segment of the bill would have gutted the asylum system, ramped up border enforcement funding on top of the shameful $25 billion ICE and CBP already get annually, and built Trump’s inhumane border wall – the wall that President Biden campaigned against. While the funding for border militarization is out for now, anti-immigrant legislators constantly threaten to revive these inhumane policies.

And this is our reality as immigrants, always waiting to fight the next cruel policy that threatens our lives and our rights.

At Union Station, a Palestinian scholar and immigrant youth shared with us their stories of moving to the United States at a young age with their families and coming here for school. Immigrants want a sense of belonging and safety in the U.S. backed up by policies that make us secure. Palestinians in Gaza want another day to live.

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After the speeches, we made our way to Capitol Hill chanting for a permanent ceasefire and immigrant protections:

“When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

“Viva, viva Palestina!”

“The people united will never be divided!”

We reached the Cannon building which housed Congressional offices. Thirteen immigrant youth and allies were arrested for staging a die-in at the rotunda, laying down a big banner that said “Ceasefire Now! Permanent Protections for All Immigrants!” sprinkled with red poppies.

The majority of us went to a nearby church to conclude our action, loudly chanting our demands again. We expressed gratitude for a successful action and for each other, rooted in the same community care we inherit from our immigrant communities.

For years, anti-immigrant politicians have told us that immigration is a bad thing. It’s time to dispel this notion and to accept that immigration is a beautiful thing. Our communities make the U.S. economy stronger and diversify the social and cultural fabric of our nation.


Alliyah is the Outreach Coordinator for the National Priorities Project, serving as project manager for growing collaborations with immigrant rights organizations and movements against climate change.