Crown Heights

Trump’s immigration fight hits Brooklyn

Pols on both sides grapple with travel ban

July 5, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Diana Richardson says residents who attend her forum can pick up tips on what to expect if they ever encounter ICE agents. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

The country’s fight over immigration is having serious ramifications here in Brooklyn, as lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle grapple with the fallout from the hot-button issue.

The Brooklyn Eagle decided to take a look at how local elected officials are handling the Trump administration’s immigration fights.

In the most recent development, Assemblymember Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights-Prospect Lefferts Gardens) was encouraging her constituents to attend a forum on immigration rights organized by two groups, Legal Hand and New York Legal Assistance Group, on Wednesday, July 12, at 250 Kingston Ave., at 5:30 p.m.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Richardson had also scheduled an immigrant rights forum on Monday, July 10 at the same Kingston Avenue location.

“By utilizing the aforementioned events, attendees will obtain ways to address issues concerning immigration and ways to receive free public assistance,” Richardson said in an email to constituents and the media. “Community members will gain the opportunity to obtain    information on immigration basics, including what to expect if an encounter arises with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

Anyone planning to attend the July 12 event can RSVP by calling 718-619-4248.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), the lone Republican in New York City’s House delegation, issued a joint statement with U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-C-Long Island) expressing their views on a bill the House approved to give President Donald Trump a green light to cut law enforcement funding from so-called Sanctuary Cities that harbor undocumented immigrants.

New York is one such Sanctuary city. The New York Police Department (NYPD) does not inform ICE or any other federal officials of the whereabouts of undocumented immigrants living in the five boroughs.


If New York suffers deep cuts in federal funding, Mayor Bill de Blasio is partly to blame, according to Donovan and King.

“Mayor de Blasio’s misguided ‘Sanctuary City’ policies have caused Congress to dangerously overreact and threaten the security of millions of innocent people in the New York-Long Island metropolitan area. It’s a cruel irony that security concerns over criminal undocumented immigrants have been given as a rationale for a bill that disembowels the anti-terror apparatus in the world’s top terror target. Cities shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which laws to follow, and there are reasonable consequences that should be considered for those that are unwilling to cooperate with federal authorities,” the lawmakers said in the statement.

But Donovan and King also blasted the legislation.

“But this bill takes consequences to a dangerous extreme by making New York City ineligible for hundreds of millions of dollars every year that go toward thwarting terror attacks. These dollars have no connection to immigration whatsoever, except for the fact that the NYPD hunts down terror threats and also sometimes arrests illegal aliens,” the two Republicans stated.

Last month, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook), chairman of the Committee on Immigration, and Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), chairman of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, held a joint hearing on the threat to individuals and public safety posed by ICE activities in the city’s court houses.

Menchaca charged that ICE agents stalk courthouses to arrest undocumented immigrants who are coming to court on other matters.

“Allowing immigration agents to stalk and arrest undocumented immigrants in courthouses undermines the integrity of the judicial system and denies immigrant New Yorkers equal access to justice. Recently, three plainclothes agents appeared at the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court to arrest a young woman represented by the Legal Aid Society,” Menchaca said in his opening statement. 

After hours of advocacy, Legal Aid Society attorneys were able to prevent ICE from detaining the woman. “This incident demonstrates that, contrary to ICE’s claims that they only pursue individuals who are a threat to public safety, ICE agents are targeting survivors of human trafficking,” Menchaca said.


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