Flatbush Electeds Inform & Ease Consitituent Immigrant Concerns Following Trump Order

Flatbush Lawmakers including City Council Member Jumaane Williams, State Sen. Kevin Parker, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte and Democratic District Leader Josue Pierre last night held an emergency forum on immigration to a packed spillover gymnasium composed of the areas largely Haitian immigrants, with some Hispanic immigrants as well.

The forum was called following President Donald Trump’s executive order signed Jan. 27, which amongst other things, bars entry to refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days. The order comes as thousands of Haitian refugees are on the Mexican side of the American/Mexican border trying to get into this country, and thousands of others are trying to flee the storm-ravaged country.

“I do have to thank Trump for one thing because it’s hard to get you all out,” said Williams with a smile without taking away from the importance of the meeting. 

City Council Member Jumaane Williams talks about immigration issues in the age of Donald Trump. Photo by MIchael Wright

Several booths handed out literature with pertinent information and a panel of individuals with expertise in immigration law were present to hold a discussion and answer questions. Several speakers of Creole were available to translate and interpret what was being said.

A rudimentary breakdown of immigration law was offered as well as the definition for several common terms and acts that are referenced in conversations about immigration.

Among the immigration statuses explained in tonight’s meeting:

Immigration statuses explained were Temporary Protected Status (TPS) afforded to those from nations torn by war or natural disasters, U Visas, which are awarded to victims of violent crimes and the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which is for individuals under 21 who have been abused and/or abandoned.

Panelists also gave instruction on how to prepare for visits from immigration officers and sought to inform the public of little known status’. For further resources and updates on the status of a specific case, the panel recommended uscis.gov. (Special note was made to avoid similar websites as they are often fraudulent sites seeking to take advantage of immigrants.)

The meeting was held in the gymnasium of the Flatbush YMCA, 1401 Flatbush Avenue and was meant to be the first of a series of future meetings, forums and think-tanks with the purpose of those whose immigration status is rendered vulnerable by recent events.

“This is not the conversation. This is only the beginning of a conversation on immigration,” said Parker.

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