In a blistering attack on Trump’s first 32 days in office, Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, said the Trump administration has been defined by “dysfunction and ineptitude, coupled with philosophies of hatred and division.
“This is an intolerable combination; indeed, it is dangerous,” Clarke told a standing-room-only town hall meeting Wednesday night.
“His executive orders have been issued without a plan for implementation, a ‘make it up as we go along’ mentality that has resulted in anxiety, panic and chaos at our airports, and in our very communities among our neighbours.
“The duplicitous nature of Donald Trump and his aides puts us all at risk, especially when his aides describe their version of the truth as ‘alternative facts,’” she added.
Clarke said the Trump administration has “already undermined the confidence of millions of people across our nation and within the immigrant community, threatening millions of American families with forced separation, while simultaneously beginning the process of eliminating programmes that are critical to our health, our safety and our well-being.”
In a revised executive order, captioned “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” Trump on Tuesday said that US federal immigration law both imposes the responsibility and provides the means for the federal government, in cooperation with the states, to secure the nation’s borders.
He said the purpose of the order is to “direct executive departments and agencies to deploy all awful means to secure the nation’s southern border with Mexico, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently and humanely.”
The US president said the order includes returning Caribbean and other immigrants to their respective countries pending formal proceedings.
Clarke told the meeting that President Trump is “hell bent” on “completely reversing all of the efforts of his immediate predecessor, President Barack Obama, and Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch “to reform our system of criminal justice”.
She said the US President’s policies were “a prelude to a series of executive actions on immigration.”
Only a week after his inauguration, on January 20, the congresswoman noted that Trump authorized construction of a wall on the border with Mexico; attacked big cities, such as New York, which provides sanctuaries for immigrants; and halted entry into the United States for people from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
“Chaos resulted immediately,” declared Clarke, adding that “the architects of the executive order did not consult with federal agencies, attorneys or foreign governments.
“As a result, hundreds of people were detained or prevented from boarding flights,” she said, urging the audience to resist the distraction on which Trump’s administration has been based, “and focus on the governance that we deserve and demand.
“We must be confident in our ability to affect change in the direction we must take, as a nation, to make sure that this generation and generations to come will inherit a society that is reflective of our values.
“Let’s get engaged and stay engaged. Brooklyn resists because we believe that every individual, regardless of their gender, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as an immigrant has the right to full participation in this civil society. It is my honour to be in the fight for human dignity with you, and I am honoured that you have chosen to attend and participate this evening.”
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