Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has called on the Caribbean community in the United States to strongly oppose the Donald Trump administration’s immigration policies.
“The way in which this administration is terrorising the immigrant community, we need to speak up,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, as she delivered the keynote address at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Brooklyn, New York-based Progressive Democrats Political Association (PDPA), headed by her mother, Dr Una Clarke, the first Caribbean-born woman to be ever elected to New York City Council.
“Tearing families apart is not what this country is about,” added the congresswoman, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “We need to speak up.”
Clarke told the Silver Jubilee gala event that an unidentified “panic person” had called her over the weekend, stating that a relative was being “shipped to Georgia”.
But Clarke said that, by the time she was able to reach officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, the immigrant was “already on a plane,” being deported to his native Trinidad and Tobago.
“If we don’t stand up and speak out, our families will be torn apart,” the congresswoman warned. “Is that the United States we need? We need to get on Twitter, we need to get on Facebook, we need to fight back.
“My job is to get him (President Trump) out of office as soon as possible,” she said to loud applause. “Impeachment is on the way”.
Last month, Clarke condemned Trump’s revised executive order barring entry to the US for the predominantly Muslims nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
She said the revised Muslim ban “remains as unconstitutional and unwise as its predecessor,” claiming that Trump’s “basic philosophy of divide-and-conquer attempts to deny the promise of America to people across the world based on their practice on religion.”
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who also spoke at the Silver Jubilee celebration, also expressed concern about stepped up efforts by the Trump administration to deport Caribbean and other immigrants.
“I see the fear,” said Gonzalez, who was born in Puerto Rico and resides in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. “People rightly fear ICE agents coming to court.
“My office will do anything to protect immigrants,” he added, disclosing that he is currently recruiting a number of immigration attorneys to “make sure there are no deportation issues.
“What we’re concerned about is fairness, about justice,” Gonzalez said.
Besides Gonzalez, a number of New York City officials and immigration advocates have reported that they are seeing and hearing about an increasing number of ICE agents in courtroom, waiting to deport immigrants who might have fallen afoul of the law.
When, for example, Nevisian Floyel Stapleton appeared recently in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York for a routine hearing in his misdemeanour assault case, he was stunned to be met by US federal immigration agents as he left the courtroom.
But even as legislators and immigrant advocacy groups express outrage over the Trump administration’s immigration policies, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the expansion and modernisation of a program to deport immigrants, including Caribbean nationals, in US federal correctional facilities.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said the Institutional Hearing Programme (IHP), announced by Sessions last Thursday, identifies removable criminal immigrants who are inmates in federal correctional facilities. (CMC)