NY legislator declares Caribbean district ‘Sanctuary Senate District’

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


NEW YORK, USA (CMC) — A New York state legislator has declared his Brooklyn district a “Sanctuary Senate District (SSD) following the executive order of the United States President Donald Trump that critics claim puts in jeopardy the rights of Caribbean and other immigrant populations.

On January 25 Trump signed the executive order that would stop funding to cities that do not cooperate with US federal immigration officials.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said his city is among big cities in the country that will not comply with Trump’s executive order.

Over the weekend, Senator Jesse Hamilton, who represents the primarily Caribbean 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, said his office will provide services related to and protecting the rights of Caribbean and other immigrants as they face legal challenges to their immigration status, as well as delays in citizenship applications and potential deportation orders based on “the misapplication of President Trump’s executive order and the US Constitution.

“This Sanctuary Senate District Initiative, the Immigrant Defence Coalition, and our continued outreach will assist our immigrant communities through these anxious times. We have a Trump Administration imposing draconian, unjust restrictions and promising more,” Hamilton said.

“As leaders in a city that has welcomed immigrant communities for hundreds of years, we need to fight back and reassure our immigrant friends and neighbours that we stand together in protecting them,” he added.

“Through delivering services in the neighbourhood and through advancing immigrant protections in Albany, we reaffirm New York’s longstanding commitment to our immigrant communities.”

Bertha Lewis, founder and president of the New York-based Black Institute, said “no vulnerable New York community should live in fear”.

“New York’s immigrant communities have already suffered under the attacks of a Trump Administration determined to denigrate, defame and deport them,” she said.

“Thanks to Senator Hamilton and all the Immigrant Defence Coalition partners for expanding services to a community that has been subject to these Trump attacks.”

Hamilton said his office will have on-site specialists on certain days of the month to provide direct support to Caribbean and other immigrants, adding that over 20 community-based organisations will serve as partners for the “Sanctuary Senate District.”

Last Friday Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a list detailing the offences of the 680 immigrants, including an undisclosed number from Jamaica and Guyana, among other places, who were recently detained and slated for deportation, adding that 75 per cent had criminal convictions.

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