NEW YORK – Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has launched a scathing attack on United States President Donald J. Trump’s immigration policies, describing them as ongoing assaults on immigrants.
“In the White House, we have a man who is not of sound mind, morals or values who has made decisions and implemented policies that have been a full frontal assault, an attack on our humanity and our livelihoods – decisions that benefit only those at the top, the one per cent like himself,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants in delivering the keynote address during a recent awards ceremony at the Jamaican-owned Spiritual Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn continues to be in the bulls-eye of his administration’s most cruel and inhumane attacks,” added the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “The immigrant community is no exception. I have constituents who are green card holders from the very countries listed on Donald Trump’s immoral and unjust Muslim ban.”
She said family separation at the US-Mexican border is “a direct result of the Trump Administration’s racist ‘zero tolerance’ policy of criminally prosecuting migrants at the southern border.”
Clarke said this particular policy “calls to mind the worst of our history, including the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, our refusal to grant safety to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, and the treatment of slaves during the Middle Passage from Africa, and centuries of Chattel slavery and forced and imposed state sanctioned segregation.”
The congresswoman lamented that children are now being shipped all over the country, including to New York City, “where there were at least 239 children being detained just a few miles from my district and thousands of miles away from their caregivers.”
Clarke also said the Trump administration is “trying to undermine” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, “which puts 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ at risk of deportation.”
She said there are currently over 42,000 “Dreamers” in the state of New York, most of which are enrolled in school or employed.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act) legislation was introduced in the US Senate, in 2001, as a bipartisan bill. Its aim was to provide a means for undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants who arrived in the US as children to gain a pathway to permanent legal status. Individuals who would have qualified under the DREAM Act are often referred to as “Dreamers.”
But Clarke said Trump “hasn’t stopped there,” referring to the US president’s “full frontal” attacks on immigrants.
“But be not dismayed,” Clarke said. “We, the people, have great power. We can defeat this racist, xenophobic, sexist, and frankly un-American agenda.
“As a community, we must utilize our resources to strengthen our families and stay in the communities we have chosen, labored in, and call home, regardless of what policies are coming out of the White House,” she added. “Let us remember the thousands of Brooklyn residents who desire a path to citizenship but whose livelihoods are being threatened by the Trump Administration and not take this opportunity for granted.
“We must make citizenship a priority,” Clarke urged. “We must get out to vote. This may sound cliché, but the elections in November may be some of the most important elections in our lifetime. There’s so much at stake,” she said. – CMC