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NYC leads coalition of municipal governments filing a challenge to Trump’s travel ban

February 17, 2017 From Mayor Bill de Blasio's office
New York City is one of many cities supporting plaintiffs in Darweesh v. Trump, who are seeking an extension of the temporary court order preventing enforcement of President Donald Trump’s (shown) travel ban. AP Photo/Mic Smith
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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that New York City, collectively with a coalition of other municipalities across the nation, have filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to support the plaintiffs in Darweesh v. Trump, who are seeking an extension of the temporary court order preventing enforcement of the president’s travel ban. The plaintiffs brought legal action after being detained and threatened with deportation despite holding valid visas to enter the U.S. The federal government has sought to lift the hold, but Amici cities say this would deeply harm millions of residents by interfering with local economies, immigrant integration and public safety efforts.

“The president’s ban violates both our Constitution and the values we hold dear,” said de Blasio. “Americans of all stripes should be alarmed that religious liberties and constitutional rights have been taken hostage by the White House. We will do everything in our power to fight back and stand up for the rights of all people.”

“New York City may be the president’s second home, but we will never be a city that houses hatred and division in our streets,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council will use every resource at our disposal to continue to stand up and support our immigrants, who fuel our economy and propel our city forward. New York City is never stronger than when we are united, and we are proud to join this amicus brief challenging the president’s unlawful, reckless, xenophobic executive order.” 

Led by New York City, the brief was submitted by jurisdictions with sizable immigrant and refugee populations tracing back to the seven countries explicitly targeted in the Executive Order. Cities said the presidential order, which targets the populations of entire countries or the adherents of an entire religious faith, was unprecedented, disregards the values that sustain city life and sends a message that will “deeply harm our cities.” 

According to the brief, the executive order will damage the economic life and social fabric of amici cities, which depend on openness to immigrants and visitors, contains no constitutionally required due process and does not make us safer. 

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens) said, “America is a land of immigrants and New York City’s character and vibrancy are owed to our rich immigrant history. The administration’s travel ban is an affront to these values and we must fight it in every available avenue.”

State Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Red Hook, Greenpoint, Sunset Park) said, “The president’s executive order blocking refugees from Muslim nations seeking to enter the United States based on their nationality or religion was outrageous and un-American. In practice, the order “blacklists” Muslims, creates a state-sponsored religious hierarchy, promotes confrontation and hate, not cooperation and diplomacy. I am heartened to see New York City and other major municipalities join the fight in court.” 

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Crown Heights, Gowanus) said, “Bigotry in the rarefied legalese of an executive order is still bigotry. It has the same corrosive impact on the communities it touches. America’s cities have been vibrant exemplars of people from all faiths, all ethnicities, all backgrounds living together for generations — none more so than New York City. That economic and cultural dynamism is threatened by the Trump administration’s unwarranted, unjust and unconstitutional executive orders that seek to wall us off, one from another. An injustice against families seeking to visit ailing relatives, an injustice against students seeking to continue their studies, an injustice against all people of good conscience who know the importance of our values of tolerance and inclusiveness. I commend this coalition of cities for upholding these values and showing the world our true American spirit.”

“I am proud to live in a city that stands up to protect the rights of all people,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park), the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “The hastily drafted executive order against immigrant communities that has been put in place at the federal level has wreaked havoc on the lives of so many people due to its broad strokes. As we continue to fight for our constitutional rights under the 14th amendment which guarantees equal protection under the law and due process, I am glad to see New York City take a stand and be joined by other cities around the country in filing this amicus brief in order to prevent the enforcement of the travel ban, which essentially, among other things, denies due process for those being detained or removed.”

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, chair of the Committee on Immigration, said, “Cities are protected by the will of the people, with legislation and in the courts. This amicus brief shows municipalities are leading the fight against the President’s unconstitutional travel ban. To protect our immigrant families and uphold our true American values, we will use every tool at our disposal.”


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