Without calling his name but referring to him as “Number 45,” meaning the 45th president of the United States, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, said that there were “critical perspectives we need to incorporate into the debate on immigration; for example, the perspective of people from the Caribbean”.
Clarke, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said there are more than three million immigrants in the New York City area, who are members of the Caribbean Diaspora.
She said more than 400,000 of these immigrants currently lack legal status.
“Today, we are confronted with an enormous challenge from a man, whose name I will not say at this celebration – number 45,” said Clarke as she addressed the 34th Anniversary Luncheon of the Brooklyn-based group, Vincentian American Independent National Charities, Inc. (VINCI).
“He represents a direct threat to this community – a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other individuals who share his bigoted and wicked ideology,” Clarke said to cheers from patrons.
“But our community will not back down. It’s not in our blood to do so. We will not step aside, or sit down.
Just like our ancestors did, we will resist. We all know from our own personal experience that immigrants and their children and grandchildren, from every part of the world, are not only the foundation of Brooklyn, but, indeed, are Brooklyn itself.
“Washington, D.C. needs to her the voices of Brooklyn. The renewal of our commitment to the best traditions of this nation – instead of the worst – will come from us. Your voices will sound the alarm for a renewal of purpose, a restoration of faith in ourselves as a people who believe that every person should have an opportunity to participate in the American Dream,” she told the ceremony.
Late last week, the Trump administration began unravelling an Obama-era programme shielding from deportation Caribbean and other nationals brought to the United States illegally as children, while a split in the US Congress has made no progress on writing similar protections into law as Trump has asked.
The phase-out of the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, known as DACA, began at midnight last Thursday.
One newspaper reported that the administration will no longer accept or process new or renewal applications for DACA protection, even if they were mailed before the deadline. The renewed applicants are known as “Dreamers.”
Of the estimated 154,000 people eligible to apply for renewals, about 118,000 had sent in applications to the three federal processing centers in Phoenix, Dallas and Chicago by Wednesday, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Officials will only process applications received by the end of the day Thursday and will not consider forms postmarked on Thursday but arriving later, said David Lapan, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of beneficiaries, alleging that, even before its DACA phase-out, the Trump administration has been revoking beneficiaries’ protections for minor offenses, like traffic infractions, or charges for which they are ultimately cleared.
Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy at the ACLU, said Thursday’s deadline was “both cruel and arbitrary.”
Last week, a United States federal judge in Brooklyn, New York described as “heartless” the Trump administration’s refusal to extend its deadline for “Dreamers” to apply to stay in the US.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced last month that immigrants shielded from deportation by DACA would have until October 5 to reapply for their two-year protected status.
But the New York Daily News reported that US Justice Department lawyers told Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis last week that the Trump administration was sticking with the deadline.
US Justice Department lawyer Brett Shumate said the decision to stick with the deadline was “not made lightly,” adding that the purpose was to kick off an “orderly wind down” of the programme.
But Judge Garaufis said DACA’s end would not only affect its estimated 800,000 recipients – it would affect their families, employers and communities, as well.
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