(CMC) Caribbean/American and other elected officials and leaders in New York are calling for a very strong stance against the Donald Trump administration’s immigration policy in the United States.
Speaking at an immigration forum, New York City Council member Jumanne D Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, New York State Assembly member Rodneyse Bichette, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, Haitian District Leader Josue Pierre, and New York Senator Kevin S Parker, said the goal was to energise the Caribbean community to “take action, organise and learn how to survive during the next four years” of the Trump administration.
“We have to change how people feel about Trump and his attack on immigrants,” said Williams, who represents the largely Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
“I agree with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries when he said ‘every racist voted for Donald Trump’. I’ll add that every xenophobe also voted for Trump, and we’re seeing it play out.
“While some people are telling us to wait, I’m saying we have to resist from day one,” added Williams, stating that it’s, however, been “difficult to engage particularly Caribbean and African immigrants.
“Our Latino brothers and sisters have done a great job in getting involved, but I need everyone involved in the immigration discussion,” he said.
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the immigration forum was “very much needed, in particular, for the black immigrants” in her district, “who are never at the forefront in regard to the immigration issue.”
“Getting accurate information to people in the community is so critical, especially now, because things have been moving so quickly,” she said.
“I was glad to hear of the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals decision to continue to block the travel ban, but I know this is not the end, and we need to prepare people for what is to come.”
Last Thursday, a United States federal appeals panel unanimously rejected Trump’s bid to reinstate his ban on travel into the US from seven Muslim countries, stating that the government showed that “no evidence” that anyone from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — had committed terrorist acts in the United States.
The ruling also rejected Trump’s claim that courts are powerless to review a president’s national security assessments, according to the New York Times.
The appeals court, however, acknowledged that Trump was owed deference on his immigration and national security policies, the Times said.
But the panel said Trump was claiming something more and that “national security concerns are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections.”
Shortly after the ruling, Trump angrily vowed to fight it.
Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke had condemned Trump’s travel ban, warning that it would eventually affect the Caribbean.
At the YMCA immigration forum, Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York (HALANY), a co-sponsor of the event, said that Trump’s executive order barring refugees and immigrants from select countries from entering the United States is “both unconstitutional and unethical.”
“Make no mistake, this ban is only the beginning,” warned Ritha Pierre, HALANY’s president.
“If we do not take a stand now, the state of immigration in this country will only become worse and soon it will not just be refugees and people from a certain region getting barred; it will be everyone who does not fit the criteria of the Trump administration.
“I am here to say that we, as an organisation, stand in solidarity with our community in speaking out against this injustice. We stand in support of our immigrant brothers and sisters, and we vow, as a legal organisation, to be present and to take an active role in this issue.”
Parker, whose 21stSenatorial District in Brooklyn has a very high concentration of Caribbean immigrants, said he and his colleagues “will not allow the current presidential administration to create a culture of fear for residents of our districts.
“We will continue to come together, and keep everyone informed and aware of their rights, regardless of their immigration status.”
Undocumented immigrants, their lawyers and advocacy groups are bracing for heightened enforcement that Trump has advocated, as immigration raids have intensified, in recent days, across the US.