A group of protesters halted the annual parade in a demonstration they claimed was aimed at calling for action from Congress to replace an expiring Obama-era program protecting immigrants.
The Dreamers, named after the proposed DREAM Act, are young immigrants brought to the United States as children who believe their pathway to citizenship has been interrupted by various government actions and pieces of legislation in President Donald Trump's administration, which rescinded DACA in the fall of 2017.
At the parade, the four protesters staged the demonstration they claimed was aimed at calling for action from Congress to replace the expiring Barack Obama-era program protecting them from deportation.
As seen in some photos that circulated online, the protesters sat in the parade route on Central Park West at 70th Street in Manhattan, but were quickly led away from the parade by NYPD police officers as parade walkers scurried away. None of the protesters were arrested or given citations, said a rep for the group that organized the demonstration called The Seed Project.
Dreamers have interrupted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade today.— Irvin Camacho (@IrvinCamachoAR) November 23, 2017
"I am doing this to bring dignity to our undocumented community, without fear. I want to bring awareness that while some families are together, others are being torn apart." pic.twitter.com/gicarhxf3n
More images of the women, in coalition with FightForOurDream.com, soon began appearing online. The images identified the women and explained why they chose to protest. One picture featured one protester named Barbara Hernandez, who allegedly admitted, "I disrupted the Macy's Day Parade demanding permanent protection."
DACA recipients are putting their bodies on the line at the Macy's Day Parade to fight for #OurDream. Join them in December to demand permanent protection for Dreamers: https://t.co/kRHfDJvDG1 pic.twitter.com/h0K9vWuSOL— Democracy Spring (@DemSpring) November 23, 2017
DemSpring: RT seedproj: We are your classmates, your coworkers, and your neighbors. We are the backbones of our schools, workplaces, and communities. And right now, we need your help. https://t.co/AI9NIqlBeM pic.twitter.com/x1EzbwAXjy— Pasco Revolution (@PascoRevolution) November 23, 2017
A press release from The Seed Project emerged shortly after the Thursday morning protest. Hector-Jario Martinez, another member of the organization, said in the statement, "Undocumented youth are refusing to put our destiny in the hands of establishment politicians. We are choosing to fight for the dignity of our entire immigrant community, and that begins with us."
"We are your classmates, your coworkers, and your neighbors," he continued. "We are not just the future of this country, but we are also the present workers that it depends on. We are millions of young undocumented students and workers who are the backbones of our schools, industries, and communities. We are calling on our community members to stand up and fight for our right to work and live in this country."
Meanwhile, this year's parade kicked off with the tightest security in the parade's 91-year history. New York Mayor Bill Di Blasio said, "Every year the NYPD has done more to keep this event tonight and the parade itself safer. We understand we are dealing with a very challenging world. And so the amount of resources and personnel we put in has increased each year to make us safer."
Security officials claimed there's no confirmation of a credible threat to the parade, but the parade came just weeks after a truck killed eight people when it mowed down pedestrians near the World Trade Centre in October.