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Freedom of Expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 says that ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’ Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 (2), says that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” Furthermore, the First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits any law limiting freedom with respect to religion, expression, peaceful assembly, or the right of citizens to petition the government.

Freedom of speech and to freely assemble in public spaces is a right afforded to everyone, including all immigrants. However, policies and practices in America often silence voices of those who have come to the U.S. and who are seeking no harm. The USA Patriot Act, a controversial law signed by President George W. Bush, following the September 11 attacks in 2001, goal was to protect national security against terrorist and ill-intent actors. U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins ruled unconstitutional one provision of the Patriat Act in 2004, that bans certain types of support for terrorist groups. The judge said the law was vague and that it risked the First Amendment. Despite the attack on their rights, immigrants are standing up.

Immigrants from across the United States on February 14, 2022 walked out of workplaces and schools — and didn’t spend any money — to mark a ‘Day Without Immigrants.’ Rallies occured in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston and elsewhere. The action was organized by 23-year-old TikTok star Carlos Eduardo Espina, an immigrant from Uruguay, to advocate for immigration reform.

“All these people are out here to support the fight for immigration reform. They came from all over the country to support” Espina said during the rally. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you, my people. We’ll keep fighting.”

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