On Thursday, February 2, 2017, members of the City Council Progressive Caucus along with other council members and advocates from across the City, rallied on the steps of City Hall in opposition to call on President Trump to end his continual affront to vulnerable communities and threats to cities that protect them. The Caucus members have been present at actions and protests across the city, supporting advocates in rapidly responding to Mr. Trump’s affront on already vulnerable communities. At the rally on Thursday, the Caucus and its partners pledged to stand in solidarity those most affected by President Trump’s executive orders, which include a more aggressive deportation operation, the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, and banning the entry of refugees and other migrants from majority-Muslim countries.
“Since these executive orders were released, New Yorkers have demonstrated a tremendous outpouring of support for our immigrant communities, and we know Trump is listening,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. “We stand today to make it clear to him and his advisers that the City Council opposes any measure that would strip New Yorkers of their rights. We demand that that the orders be rescinded and that they LET THEM IN!”
“Donald Trump’s executive orders attack and place unnecessary and unsubstantiated blame on our immigrant communities, despite the fact that we are a nation built by immigrants,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. “These orders were not discussed with advocates or stakeholders on both sides of the issues. They were not properly vetted and no compromises were made. This is not how you govern in a democracy. His ‘Muslim Ban’ was a catastrophe that rocked hundreds of families with legal immigration status across the U.S. and was just an example of what we have in store in the future. We want President Trump to hear us loud and clear: The New York City Progressive Caucus will be here every day to fight and call out your policies that seek to attack the values and ideals we as a City hold dear.”
“New Yorkers of all ethnicities, faiths, and backgrounds have coalesced in opposition to the un-American executive orders this president has signed,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice Chair for Policy of the Progressive Caucus. “We are a city of immigrants, and we will remain a sanctuary for the tired, the poor and the huddled masses, including those being persecuted by this administration. New York City is known for its bridges, not its walls, and our progressive values will not be eroded by anything they throw at us.”
“President Trump’s attacks on our immigrant communities are a betrayal of our values and a threat to our liberty,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy of the Progressive Caucus. “We have a responsibility to our Muslim brothers and sisters and to our country to resist this cowardly and politically-craven policy. I was inspired by the outpouring of support for refugees and for immigrants at JFK and at Battery Park. It was a powerful demonstration of the power of getting organized, and we will have to keep up the energy and keep the faith as we work together to defend our values.”
“Since its founding, America has been a beacon of hope for people across the world, and it is a shame in his first week in office President Donald Trump has decided to undermine what this country espoused: opportunity and freedom.” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “Since his campaign, my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters have come together to express our dismay with the rhetoric that has incensed violence in New York and across the country. His actions have been irresponsible and neglects the great contributions which Muslim, Latino, and other immigrants from around the world gave to America. We know that our country is better than this and I call on him to stop these actions and enact policies that bring us together instead of tearing us apart.”
“Donald Trump’s despicable actions threaten the very foundation of our democracy,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “Our identity is rooted in the fact that here, more than anywhere else on earth, people can come to escape persecution, find opportunity and be welcomed as fellow human beings. Trump is trying to reject that notion, which means he’s rejecting the most core principles of our nation. I stand with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus in denouncing Trump’s disgusting assault on immigrants, Muslims and refugees.”
“What we witnessing from the Trump Administration is downright scary and a challenge to American values of inclusivity and opportunity,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “It is up to all of us to stand up to these edicts written by Trump’s racist advisers and let the administration know that we will not be silent as these actions are taken in our name.”
“Our City is uniting, resisting and working to protect each other. Last weekend, I stood in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters and fellow New Yorkers at JFK to protest Trump’s unconstitutional ban on the entry of individuals from Muslim majority countries. During the presidential campaign and in response to President Trump’s hateful rhetoric, the New York City Council passed a resolution supporting Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the US, and urging all residents to stand together for peace and understanding – and, here, we practice what we preach. My message to President Trump and his Administration is that the Executive Orders establishing the Muslim ban, the building of a wall, and the threats made to sanctuary cities give us more reason to resist. Here, in NYC, we are working around the clock to ensure that we are prepared to defend immigrant New Yorkers through legal support programs and other services. We do not stand with these divisive, inhumane and backward policies,” said Council Member Menchaca, chair of Committee on Immigration.
“Nearly 80 years ago, America turned away over 900 refugees seeking asylum from Nazi Germany on the SS St. Louis, sending them back toward persecution and death,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “As Americans, we have an obligation to remember and take responsibility for the victims of genocide turned away from our doorstep – we cannot stand idly by and allow our country to repeat those mistakes. The NYC’s Progressive Caucus refuses to be bullied by President Trump’s draconian, xenophobic and ineffective Executive Orders. We will continue to support and tirelessly defend the rights of NYC’s immigrants against this administration and any other that attempts to undermine our ideals of equality, inclusion and justice for all.”
“New York City is the beacon of hope for millions of hard working immigrant families looking for a better life. We will not stand by as the Trump Administration demonizes them and creates a racist witch hunt that will destroy our communities. Keeping our families together is our top priority. We will not cooperate with ICE and its deportation efforts that disrupt our security and uproot families. And we will not be intimidated by threats to strip our Federal funding. The New York City Council and I will defend every New Yorker and their right to remain in their home and thrive,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, chair of the Council’s Finance Committee.
“We need to come together as a City to denounce any attempt to roll back the rights of our people and to send our country moving backward,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “That is why I am proud to join my colleagues to stand up against Trump’s executive actions, which rip at the fabric of our established American values and our progressive ideals for a more fair and just future. We are here to unite with a simple message of resistance against the hate that is being enshrined in the executive actions of this new Administration.”
“Today we speak out against these odious, immoral, un-American executive orders,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “To the GOP – do not claim to be the party of family values if you do nothing to stop these policies that have and will tear apart families.”
“We are grateful that New York’s progressive lawmakers are at the forefront of responding to the Trump Administration’s unlawful executive orders,” said CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Fox Cahn. “New York has always been a city of immigrants, and our city council recognizes that an attack on Muslim and Immigrant New Yorkers is an attack on all New Yorkers and the values we treasure.”
“The new administration has put immigrants, refugees, and Muslims under attack,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “But our communities are resilient, and we stand united with a simple message: No ban, no wall. We are eager to work with our progressive allies in the streets and in the halls of government to resist with all our strength.”
“The Legal Aid Society stands united with all New Yorkers against President Trump and his abhorrent anti-immigrant executive orders,” said Tina Luongo, chief defender of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “This past weekend demonstrated that New Yorkers will not remain silent, and as this city’s primary public defender, we remain steadfast with our allies in government and others to protect those communities President Trump seems committed to marginalizing.”
“AAFSC strongly condemns President Trump’s bigoted Executive Order which has already devastated so many in our communities and is tearing families apart. We are committed to supporting the Arab and Muslim immigrant communities and defending the rights of all immigrants in this dangerous climate. We will continue to work with the City Council and all New Yorkers to build a more peaceful and tolerant society,” said Assad Jebara, Interim Executive Director, Arab-American Family Support Center
“History tells us that scapegoating immigrants and refugees not only serves to marginalize human beings but that doing so also tears apart families and entire communities. The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families is very troubled by recent developments laid out by the President’s executive orders. We stand with immigrant, refugee, and Muslim New Yorkers in the fight to protect and preserve their rights, and we are committed to advocating for a safe, healthy, and prosperous New York City for all,” said Henrietta Ho-Asjoe, Interim Execuitve Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.
As champions of progressive values in New York City, members of the New York Council Progressive Caucus and their allies have been continuously engaged in opposing Mr. Trump’s xenophobic and islamophobic rhetoric. In August of 2016, the Caucus joined a list of 300 officials in 39 states who signed on to an open letter rejecting hate speech and anti-Muslim bigotry. The Progressive Caucus most recently joined with the Black Asian Latino Caucus in late 2016 to adopt Resolution 1230 “[d]eclaring support for Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the United States, and urging all residents to stand together for peace and understanding,” and to adopt Resolution 1321 “[a]ffirming that despite president-elect Donald Trump’s senseless threats, New York City will remain a Sanctuary City for immigrant residents.”