Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira Arrested at Immigration March

For Release: 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424


WASHINGTON—Today, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was one of 200 labor, civil rights, faith and immigrant leaders arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the Concert and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect. Maria Neira, vice president of New York State United Teachers, an AFT vice president and a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, was also arrested. 

For years, the AFT has stood in solidarity with immigrant workers and advocated to advance comprehensive immigration reform. This action is a continuation of that work. 

Headed to the police station, Weingarten stated, "There are times when injustice is so great that there is no other choice but to be civilly disobedient. This is one of those times. From the students who have never known a home beyond the United States to the teachers who want all their students to have equal opportunities, our broken immigration system is a huge obstacle for AFT members, students and families they serve. That's why we are working to reclaim the promise for all who make America home—regardless of where they were born." 

"Our nation was built on the strength and vitality of immigrants. It's time for Congress to recognize the contributions immigrants have made, are making and will continue to make by passing a comprehensive reform bill—one that includes a pathway to educational opportunity and citizenship for students and families," said Neira.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.