Denouncing DACA: Brooklyn Bridge protest, statewide action, hit Trump policies hard
Some Republicans Take 'Pro Dreamers' Stance, 13 Arrested
Following a slew of statements from Brooklyn politicians slamming President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, residents from the borough and across the city also took a stand by demonstrating in front of the Trump Tower and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday night.
Politicians representing Brooklyn, a borough that makes up more than 30 percent of New York City’s immigrant population, have mostly opposed Trump’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) decision.
The policy, created by then-President Barack Obama’s administration in June 2012, allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors and who meet several guidelines to be considered for a two-year renewable period of deferred action and be eligible to work. Almost 800,000 immigrants have been recipients of DACA since its inception. As of March 2017, Kings County had a total of 22,000 DACA-eligible residents, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Congress members have a chance to replace DACA with different legislation — if they can reach a consensus — before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018.
While statements from Brooklyn’s Republican politicians have not similarly flooded in like those from Democrats, there is varying response within the GOP; several GOPers have expressed staunch opposition to the decision, while others continue to deem DACA “unconstitutional.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island-Bay Ridge) has not issued a statement, but tweeted back in March that he would co-sponsor two bills that would offer legal status to Dreamers, a term used to describe those benefitting from DACA.
State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island-Bay Ridge), who is also running in the New York City mayoral race, said she hopes Congress can create a plan that will be helpful to immigrants before DACA is phased out.
“As the daughter of immigrants, I strongly believe that our broken immigration system must be streamlined to provide those seeking a better life the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” Malliotakis’ statement read. “…This is an opportunity for President Trump and Congress to fix a broken system once and for all, so that these young people, brought to the United States at an early age and educated in our schools, can have the opportunity to become citizens and fulfill their dreams.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called the action to end DACA an “egregious affront” to Brooklynites’ values.
“Young people who have lived in Brooklyn for years and contributed to our society should not have to be forced to leave this country they have always called home as a result of the actions of their parents or guardians,” Adams’ statement read.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have both said they would take the Trump administration to court if the president ends protections for the 40,000 New Yorkers who are currently benefitting from DACA, according to New York 1. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with Washington state AG Bob Ferguson, announced yesterday multi-state legal action .
A bipartisan effort in Congress called the DREAM Act that was first introduced in 2001 has gotten renewed attention as an effort to protect young illegal immigrants, including the support of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D).
“Congress must lead where the president won’t and pass the DREAM Act. America does not merely tolerate immigration — we thrive on it, and we are better than needlessly targeting hardworking young adults to score crass partisan points,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan-Greenpoint) also said that she believes the DREAM Act, as well as the BRIDGE Act, which would provide protection and work authorization to immigrants who meet certain qualifications, are “good places to start.”
“DACA helped breathe life into the American dream for a generation of people who came to the United States as children seeking a better future, just as earlier generations of Americans did so,” Maloney’s statement read. “These individuals are our neighbors and friends who have grown up here in the United States, who have done nothing wrong and have only ever known the United States as their home.”
Several information sessions and protests have taken place across the borough since the announcement. City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook-Sunset Park) held a community gathering in response to the announcement yesterday in Sunset Park, while at least 2,000 people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday night, following demonstrations at Trump Tower that resulted in 34 arrests, according to the Associated Press.
At least 13 more people were arrested during the march and rally in Foley Square beforehand, reports New York 4, including City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
“Just been arrested fighting for our undocumented brothers and sisters near Foley Sq. We stand united behind them and their quest for justice,” Rodriguez tweeted on Tuesday evening along with a photo of the arrest.
Shortly after, he tweeted in a reply, “This is Civil Disobedience against unjust laws & policies that rip parents from their children, DACA Dreamers from the sole country they know.”
Similar marches took place across the country, including in Los Angeles and Chicago.
“The termination of the DACA program is an unconscionable step backwards that will destabilize communities and tear families apart,” stated Menchaca and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in a joint release. “While this White House continues to make clear that it is focused on punitive measures to limit the potential of our country, the New York City Council will continue to use every resource in our power to stand up for Dreamers, their families and the American Dream.”
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