Menchaca Leads City Council Push To Keep New York A Sanctuary City


City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (Sunset Park, Red Hook) last night led advocates, community leaders and other elected officials to Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan to personally deliver to President Elect-Donald Trump the Council’s newly passed Sanctuary City Resolution.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, co-founder of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, and fellow Caucus members Brad Lander and Menchaca, who also chairs the Council’s Committee on Immigration, introduced the resolution, which passed 38-3 with one abstention, earlier in the day.

As stated in the resolution, “New York City will remain a sanctuary city for immigrant residents”, and “whereas, immigrant families have deep roots in our communities and deserve to be welcomed supported and protected.”

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca
City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

A sanctuary city is a city in the United States or Canada that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. Thirty-nine U.S. cities have passed sanctuary city ordinances including many of the nation’s largest cities.

“New York City, like other sanctuary cities across the country, will help lead the resistance movement against hate and discrimination towards immigrant communities. It will be our municipalities that will define the progressive victories of this next chapter of American history. It is our right, as a City, to protect our New York immigrant families – and it’s the right thing to do, not just because it is good for our continued economic and cultural vibrancy, but simply because it is the humane thing to do,” Menchaca told the crowd outside Trump Tower. 

This new piece of legislation comes on the heels of a controversial election season in which  Trump promised to have stronger immigration standards and “to build a wall” between the U.S. and Mexico. Many immigrant New York City residents were left devastated and panic-stricken by the November 8 results that they felt put them in a more vulnerable position as undocumented citizens. Many families were hit with the fear of deportation and the fear of breaking up close family ties.

“President-elect Donald Trump must respect state and city protections that it provides to its residents. And New York will lead the nation with a bright light of hope for millions of Americans, regardless of their immigration status. Councilman Menchaca and the city council are showing they will back up their words of support with bold policies in these uncertain times,” said Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition.

In recent months, the city’s elected officials have been reaching out more to immigrant and minority communities in order to ease some resident fears in the upcoming Presidential term. Assemblyman Walter Mosley and Council Member Laurie Cumbo held a meeting about what the future holds “In Trumps America” just last month in Fort Greene. Additionally, Menchaca held a unity march in Sunset Park to support the diverse immigrant populations in the neighborhood.

City Council Member Brad Lander
City Council Member Brad Lander

“New York City will not be bullied by President-elect Trump into abandoning the core rights and values that define our diverse immigrant city,” said Lander. “The NYC’s Progressive Caucus will continue to support and tirelessly defend the rights of NYC’s immigrants against this administration and any other that attempts to undermine our ideals of equality, inclusion and justice for all.”

The new resolution also proclaims to protect the identities of IDNYC card holders, which was a contentious issue for New York lawmakers, who at one point decided that they might have to delete the entire database of names in order to protect illegal immigrants. This was due to the fact, that Trump promised earlier this year that he would cut funding to any sanctuary city that went against his strict immigration policy that didn’t force illegal immigrants to reveal their immigration status, as reported by dnainfo.

“The passage of this resolution affirming that New York City will remain a ‘sanctuary city’ is an essential pledge to protect our immigrant families, many of whom have mixed immigration statuses within one family,”  said New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi. “From ensuring that the privacy of IDNYC card holders are protected to the City continuing non-compliance with immigration enforcement to calling on the Mayor to devote additional funds for legal services and other essential services, we will work with City Council to ensure that our communities remain protected.”

President-Elect Donald Trump was not available to personally receive Resolution 1321 but will more than likely became aware of its passage. The legislation will also expand on the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, Immigrant Opportunities Initiative, the Unaccompanied Minors and Families Initiative, the Day Laborer Workforce Initiative and the Immigrant Health Initiative among others.