“It was one of those situations where you knew what was happening was wrong,” said Marcus Longmuir, a member of the grassroots group. “There’s no reason for immigration to be something that is penalized. That’s just wrong.”
Longmuir said JHISN’s role is to support families facing separation or detainment through mobilization, actions and petitions.
“It’s a gathering of people that want to show that in this environment, where there's a lot of negativity toward immigration, there are people who are not that way,” he said. “We’re about saying the community is behind them.”
The Jackson Heights resident said he believes anti-immigrant lawmakers make harmful policies “out of fear.”
“What they then do is create the very thing they think they’re frightened of,” he said. “By breaking families apart, they’re then making a situation where life is hard.”
The group meets every other Saturday between 2 and 4 p.m. at PS 69 in Jackson Heights. Longmuir said they are open to anyone who wants to join the conversation.
“If someone comes along and says, ‘I think we should do this,’ then we’ll see if we can do it,” he said. “We’re always looking for people to help out in whatever way.”
It doesn’t have to be an organizing event, Longmuir said. It could just be that a partnering organization needs volunteers.
“We’ll let our network of 300 people know and maybe one of those people will be able to join,” he said.
“We’ve grown a little bit over the years,” Longmuir added. “We’re just trying to do what we can in a local neighborhood situation.”