Brooklyn’s elected officials responded with indignant shock and vows to fight back against President Donald Trump‘s executive order issued yesterday threatening to strip federal funding to “Sanctuary Cities”that “willfully refuse” to assist federal immigration authorities in rounding up undocumented immigrants.
New York City, which houses both the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of America’s commitment to being a country of immigrants and refugees, and Ellis Island where millions of immigrants and refugees from all over the world entered into this country and built this city and the nation into what it is today, is one of dozens of sanctuary cities around the country.
A sanctuary city is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting illegal immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally.
Patch reported that $8.8 billion in federal funds is allocated to NYC in 2017, but only about $130 million can be withheld, and that ironically is in anti-terrorism grants provided to the NYPD by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.
Trumps issued two immigration orders that also included building a wall on the Mexican/U.S. border, and hiring 5,000 additional border agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. ICE agents are typically those that do immigration deportation sweeps around the country.
“The only real solution to reform our immigration system is to pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million. President Trump’s plans are based on alternative facts and do nothing to keep us safe or fix our immigration system in a humane, pragmatic and effective way,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said Trump’s executive orders expanding immigration raids across the United States and starting construction on a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico is a “vicious attack on families across the United States cannot stand.”
“There are more than ten million people here, in our communities, who want to obtain legal status and become full members of our civil society. Their numbers include several hundred thousand young women and men who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and are now attending college, working, and serving in the armed forces.
“People of good faith – both Democrats and Republicans – have worked for years to enact comprehensive immigration reform. I have joined in that work. But, with Donald Trump’s executive orders, our immigration laws are under the control of individuals whose dislike of the ‘other’ now dictates policy. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have pledged to protect all families in New York City. I will join them in that fight,” said Clarke.
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said the two executive orders turned Trump’s dangerous campaign rhetoric into reality.
“But no executive action will change our shared American values which include supporting immigrants and rejecting racism and bigotry. In New York, we will continue to stand by our immigrant brothers and sisters. We reject the President’s approach to sanctuary cities. We must and we will defy his efforts to divide us. We will fight the ban, we will fight the wall, and we will remain united,” said James.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams strongly rebuked Trump’s decision to strip millions of federal dollars from our city, and cities across America, for their lawful decision to protect immigrants within their borders.
“As a member of our law enforcement community, I know firsthand how New York City has proven its ability to keep its residents safe from illegal criminals while protecting innocent children and families fearing for their lives. We must not allow a tsunami of xenophobia to wash away centuries of our nation’s legacy as a beacon of diversity and opportunity. I ask New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to do everything in his power to fight this executive order, on behalf of all New Yorkers,” said Adams.
Schneiderman maintained that Trump lacks the constitutional authority to cut off funding to states and cities simply because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families — as described in the legal guidance his office issued last week.
“Local governments seeking to protect their immigrant communities from federal overreach have every right to do so. Building and maintaining trust between local law enforcement and the communities they bravely serve is vital to ensuring public safety. Any attempt to bully local governments into abandoning policies that have proven to keep our cities safe is not only unconstitutional, but threatens the safety of our citizens,” said Schneiderman.
“I urge President Trump to revoke this Executive Order right away. If he does not, I will do everything in my power to fight it,” he added.
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) called Trump’s executive orders and rhetoric of “alternative facts” a playbook of fear that is used in every authoritarian and fascist regime in the past.
“The use of a hyperbolic threat is the first step before horrible acts occur. Donald Trump is unraveling all that our country claims to stand for. As the son of Grenadian immigrants, and as representative of a district that has a large number of foreign-born residents, Trump’s assault on immigration is offensive and shows the worst of America.