January 26, Staff Report
Many local politicians issued statements yesterday condemning President Donald Trump’s executive actions that will step up immigration enforcement and lead to the construction of a wall on the Mexican border.
Trump signed two executive orders yesterday, one that moves forward on his promise to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border, estimated by Trump to cost $10 billion to build, though other studies put the price tag significantly higher.
The other order calls for an increase in border patrol and immigration personnel, the construction of more detention facilities, ending the “catch and release” policy that releases some immigrants from detention while they wait for a hearing, and prioritizes the deportation of immigrants who have committed crimes.
The orders also call for an end to federal grant funding for “sanctuary cities” that do not hand over information on undocumented immigrants to the federal government, including New York City.
Queens politicians came out strongly against these actions, vowing to protect their immigrant constituents.
“The executive orders President Trump signed are unconscionable and un-American. The Statue of Liberty welcomes all to our great country with the line, ‘give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ but the executive orders signed are a repudiation of these core American values,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement, who represents Sunnyside, Long Island City, and parts of Woodside and Astoria. “In Queens, we welcome immigrants, documented and undocumented, of all backgrounds and religions.”
Queens, which has become known as “The World’s Borough,” has a huge immigrant population, with 47.8 percent of the estimated residents born in a foreign country, according to the U.S. Census between 2011 and 2015.
“Keeping immigrant families together is our top priority in New York City. We will not allow the Trump Administration to create a racist witch hunt that will destroy communities and uproot families,” Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who represents parts of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, said in a statement. “We will not cooperate with ICE and its deportation efforts that disrupt our security. And we will not be intimidated by threats to strip our Federal funding.”
“These executive orders are an inhumane attack on immigrant families and communities. If the president was actually serious about tackling our nation’s broken immigration system, he would join Democrats in supporting comprehensive reform that strengthens border security in an intelligent way,” said Congressman Joe Crowley in a statement, who represents parts of Astoria, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona.
“Instead, he’s chosen to deny the fact that our border is more secure than ever in order to push forward a border wall that will cost American taxpayers billions of dollars and to punish cities that not only welcome immigrants openly, but that encourage productive relationships between law enforcement and the immigrant communities they serve,” he added.
Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who represents parts of Jackson Heights and Corona, went a step further and penned an open letter to Trump.
“If you want to strip sanctuary cities of funding to force us into complying with your vindictive anti-immigrant executive actions, go ahead; that won’t make us budge. Our principles cannot be bought and, besides, you could use the money seeing as Mexico won’t be paying for this wall you want to build, the American taxpayers will,” he opened.
“New York will stand behind the hundreds of thousands of families that rightfully call this state home. Diversity is in ingrained in the streets immigrants built, inscribed in our harbor and woven into the very fabric of every community living here,” he added.