Clash -- Elected Officials Vow To Defy Trump's Immigration Directives

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Jumaane Williams-- resistance from day one. Photo: Keith Dawson

Elected officials and leaders of human rights groups and immigrants' advocates slammed President Donald Trump's announcement today that he'd signed two executive orders, for the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as plans to punish so-called
sanctuary cities like New York that offer relief to immigrants.
Reuters also reported that a draft executive order seen by the news agency shows that Trump plans to bar U.S. entry of refugees from Syria and of any immigrants from Muslim-majority countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Iran, and Iraq.
Trump claimed the executive orders "will save thousands of lives, and millions of jobs and billions and billions of dollars."
Speaking during a news conference, he lumped all immigrants as criminals, adding: "This will also help Mexico by deterring illegal immigration from Central America and will also disrupt violent cartels.....The day is over, when they can stay in our country an wreak havoc."
Trump said he was fulfilling an election campaign promise and added: "My order also does the following. It ends the policy of catch and release at the border. Requires every country to take back their criminals. They will take them back. Cracks down on sanctuary. Empowers ICE officers to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety. Calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers. Calls for the tripling of the number of ICE officers."
Many elected officials said they'd openly defy Trump's executive orders and continue to defend and provide help to immigrants, ensuring that there could be clashes with the Trump administration down the line.
“The President 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 my office issued last week," said Eric T. Schneiderman the New York State
Attorney General. "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."
He added: “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.”
“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," said Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) "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.”
“The president’s executive orders are rooted in an un-American hostility toward immigrant communities," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. "This nation is, has been, and always will be a nation of immigrants. Directing federal funds to build a wall between the United States and Mexico is a betrayal of our fundamental values. Instead of building walls to keep immigrant families out, we should be focused on
passing comprehensive immigration reform that would keep families together."
She added, "My district is home to four proud sanctuary cities. Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and Emeryville. I refuse to allow the Trump administration to intimidate my constituents. As a member of the Appropriations Committee I will fight tooth and nail to prevent funding for these misguided, anti-immigrant policies."
“There is critical federal funding at stake for New York City. Either the White House doesn’t understand the significance of its threats to defund sanctuary cities, or it does and is willfully turning its back
on America’s legacy as the land of freedom and opportunity for all," said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Instead of building walls, we should be tearing down barriers. Instead of ripping families apart, we should be supporting them. We
should be encouraging more immigration — not less. These executive actions and threats to defund sanctuary cities simply take America backwards.”
“Immigrants and refugees make extraordinary contributions not only to the social fabric of our communities, but also to the strength and
vitality of our economy," Stringer added.
"As we listen daily, we see 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," said New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams. "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."
""His immigration policies are precisely why so many pushed to resist him from day one....The time for anger and disbelief is over. Now is the time for action."
"The move illustrates that President Trump will abide by his anti-immigrant campaign promises, putting millions of America’s immigrants at risk and causing widespread fear," said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “President
Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration are an affront to America’s basic values of dignity, liberty and justice and have deep repercussions for basic civil liberties and the rights afforded by our Constitution. He has made a clear choice to turn the hateful rhetoric of his campaign into action, taking directives straight from the anti-immigrant playbook."
She said the measures will "militarize the border, including border communities along New York’s 500-mile border, from New York City to Buffalo, and will jeopardize basic civil rights and civil liberty
protections for both immigrant and native-born New Yorkers alike."
"We call on all people of conscience, including our elected officials--Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand-- to step up and do everything they can
to fulfill their promises to protect New York’s four million immigrants.”
The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with
immigrants and refugees.
The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said: “Rich men and women all over this nation--including Donald Trump--have built their fortunes on the backs of immigrants. It is nothing short of shameful that the President would use the plight of those seeking
refuge from persecution, the stereotypes surrounding a single religion, or the desire of many to provide for their families to demagogue on the immigration issue while ignoring the real concerns of
those immigrants currently in the United States."
The president, whose legitimacy has been questioned because his challenger won 2.8 million more votes than he earned has had a combative week. His press aides, perhaps to try and buttress his legitimacy claimed the crowd for his swearing in last week was the "largest ever."
Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer, claimed subway ridership in Washington, D.C., last Friday was 420,000 while the numbers for Obama's second inauguration was 317,000.
Subway ridership, an indication of people who were in D.C. on that date was actually higher for Trump's swearing in, at 570,000. That however was far less than the number's for Obama's 2013 inauguration
which was 782,000.
For Obama's 2009 inauguration, ridership was a record 1.1 million.

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