Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move July 9, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Ortiz Decries Trump Effort to Deport Online Foreign Students

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday decried the Trump Administration announcement that foreign students seeking academic degrees in the United States will have to leave the country or risk deportation if the colleges and universities they attend move to online-only courses.

Ortiz said thousands of students may be impacted by this effort to convince schools to reopen with in-person classes this Fall in order to allegedly help improve the economy and to meet President Trump’s demands for a sense of normalcy during a pandemic crisis.

“It’s unbelievable that Donald Trump would threaten to deport students because a college or university opts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and so many others by moving to online-only courses,” said Ortiz. “As most schools from elementary school levels to post-graduate universities move towards an either holding classes completely online or with a mix of online and in-person teaching, a requirement to hold in-person classes is a step backwards and goes against the recommendations of scientists and doctors who know much better than the President on what needs to be done.”

Clarke Deplores ICE Announcement to Deport International Students 

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach, Brownsville) yesterday deplored the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) recent threat to deport international students whose universities transition to online-only learning as the nation combats the coronavirus pandemic:

“The recent decision by ICE and the White House do not prioritize public health nor the education of our next generation of leaders. Instead, it is just another naked attempt to callously force students to return to campuses in the fall despite unsafe conditions allowed to persist primarily due to a lack of clear executive action. If we did not spend the early months of this crisis forcing states to fight each other for PPE, we might be in a better condition today. If we had expanded access to accurate testing to every county in the country rather than deliberately slowing down the process, we may have been able to ensure the safety of students that would allow classes to commence in person in September,” said Clarke.

“Instead, we are still struggling to widely implement and adopt mitigation measures to minimize the current surge in hospitalizations that has already caused death rates to rise again. Most schools likely do not have the resources to institute the necessary safety protocols to keep their students healthy. If the White House wants students to return to school in the Fall, they should work with Congress to make sure every school has the resources they need to educate the public without risking disastrous public health outcomes,” she added.

Gounardes Announces Legislation Mandating Pandemic Emergency Preparedness Plan

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Homecrest, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, Midwood) announced legislation, S8617, requiring that all public employers in New York State adopt a Pandemic Emergency Preparedness Plan. 

This legislation would require all public employers to draft and publish a plan to safeguard every employee’s health and well being to be deployed in the event of a disease outbreak and accompanying State of Emergency declaration. 

As of May, it is estimated that more than 270 New York City employees have died as a result of COVID-19. The bill will require a designation of who can telecommute and clear protective measures for essential workers who must continue to show up in person.

“COVID-19 descended swiftly and demonstrated that our City and State government were not prepared for a pandemic. Our public servants were not provided with the proper safety measures, which in some cases cost them their lives,” said Gounardes. “Requiring public employers to draft and publish a contingency plan for the next global health crisis will be integral in saving lives and rebuilding the trust between public employees and workers. We need to protect those who kept our city running and can never get caught flat-footed like this again.”

Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler Announce Fed Funding for Newton Creek, Red Hook Container Terminal

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Brooklyn, Manhattan) yesterday announced $456,664 in federal funding for marine infrastructure renovations used to purchase efficient, low emission equipment to support barge operations in Newtown Creek and the Red Hook Container Terminal.

The funding was administered through the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration Agency (MARAD) as part of America’s Marine Highway Grants program. 

“It’s important that we maintain and continue to invest in New York City’s marine infrastructure to support our economy through port jobs and the efficient transportation of goods on our waterways,” said Schumer. “I’m proud to deliver this federal funding for Newtown Creek and Brooklyn’s Red Hook Container Terminal to increase the shipping connectivity in the region and to provide more sustainable equipment for cost-effective port operations.”

“Investing in New York’s port infrastructure will strengthen our marine transportation network, reduce congestion and pollution, and create new economic opportunities,” said Gillibrand. “This federal funding will help New York City increase capacity to accommodate barge transportation, serving as a catalyst for job creation and establishing New York’s ports and harbors as marine highway hubs. I will continue fighting for resources needed to modernize New York’s port facilities and reduce emissions and truck traffic in the New York region.” 

“This federal investment to strengthen New York City’s marine infrastructure will improve the way we move goods throughout our region, spur job growth, and reduce carbon emissions,” said Nadler. “The Red Hook Container Terminal is an important economic engine for New York City, and vital to our region’s overall shipping capacity. I’m proud to deliver this federal support for a cleaner, modernized Brooklyn Port.”

Eugene Allocates Funding for Kensington Dog Run 

Mathieu Eugene
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene

City Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) was honored to join colleagues and community advocates on Monday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Kensington Dog Run in the Prospect Park Parade Grounds, a project made possible through his capital funding. 

“I want to commend the Prospect Park Alliance, led by President Sue Donoghue, The Kensington Dog Run Association, NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher, FIDO (Fellowship for The Interest of Dog and Their Owners), and the many community advocates who came together to make this dog run a reality,” said Eugene.

“It was a pleasure to provide funding for its creation and I believe the dog run represents a significant investment in the community that will serve current and future generations of New Yorkers. I have been working for many years to revitalize and improve the Prospect Park area, and it is exciting to see these ideas come to life with the support of the community. This project in particular is very special because it provides a safe, secure, and environmentally friendly area for our pets and their owners that encourages social distancing. I know that many pet owners in this community have been waiting for several years to use this dog run, and I believe it will greatly improve the quality of life for residents who are eager to enjoy our park spaces with their dogs.”