June 28, 2016 Staff Report
The City Council’s Committee on Immigration heard two Resolutions yesterday that call on the Federal government to expand and support immigration following crises in Syria and Ecuador.
Resolution 1105, introduced by Council Member Stephen Levin of Brooklyn earlier this month, calls on the President and State Department to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. by the end of Fiscal Year 2016 and to increase that number to 65,000 by the end of Fiscal Year 2017.
This Resolution was introduced in response to what the United Nations Population Fund calls “the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world today.” Millions of Syrians are living as refugees following years of violence and civil war.
“In a political climate increasingly hostile to immigrants, we must stand up for the rights and dignity of all people – especially the most vulnerable in our global community,” Levin said in a statement. “Our New York values guide us to reject xenophobia and welcome refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants with open arms because we recognize that our diversity strengthens our City and enables us to flourish.”
Levin’s bill currently has four co-sponsors including local Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
Resolution 1103, introduced earlier this month by Ferreras-Copeland, calls on the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to designate Ecuador for temporary immigration relief in the wake of that country’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in April.
Ecuador formally requested Temporary Protected Status for Ecuadorians in the U.S. in May.
“Tens of thousands of Ecuadorians live in the New York metro area, many of them in my district,” Ferreras-Copeland said in a statement. “In Ecuador, many of their families have lost all they own, and the country is still dealing with overwhelming human and economic costs to rebuilding.”
Ferreras also tied the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions aimed at shielding eligible unauthorized immigrants from deportation.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to block the President’s immigration action only makes the need for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ecuadorians greater,” Ferreras-Copeland said.
So far this fiscal year, a total of 132 refugees from 19 countries have resettled in New York City, according to Ferreras-Copeland’s office.