The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella coalition of immigration advocacy groups, is urging the incoming Joe Biden administration to roll back President Donald Trump’s “draconian” immigration policies on Caribbean and other immigrants.
The NYIC says that across America, immigrant communities and people of colour helped take back the “blue wall” states of Pennsylvania and Michigan, as well as flipping formerly deep-red states, such as Georgia.
“This year, immigration was on the ballot, and it won a resounding victory. Millions of Americans firmly repudiated Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda at the polls, with a record-breaking turnout from immigrants and people of color, and a show of force not seen in previous elections,” Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, interim co-executive directors of NYIC Action, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Wednesday.
“Here in New York, NYIC mobilized thousands of immigrant citizen New Yorkers – many of them first-time voters – to vote for Vice President Biden, Senator (Kamala) Harris, and other Democratic Congressional and State candidates, because they believe immigration is good for New York and good for America.”
“Now, as we get ready to swear in a Democratic administration, we remind Vice President Biden and Senator Harris of their promises: to rescind the Muslim Ban, reinstate and expand DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) programmes, as just a starting point to rebuilding our immigration system from the ground up,” Awawdeh and Rajkishun added.
In ensuring that the new US leadership prioritize immigrant communities, Awawdeh and Rajkishun said NYIT is launching a US$3 million campaign with one goal – “to ensure every single member of Congress in New York, with New York Senator Chuck Schumer leading the way, works to win immigration reform that will bring the justice and freedom – not only from Trump’s racist policies but from our failed immigration system that has been broken for decades.”
Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the largely Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said she was “proud of the progress we have made to protect immigrants, despite the treacherous four years we have lived through under the leadership of this administration.
“For the past four years, 45 has represented a direct threat to this community, as a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other individuals who share his bigoted and wicked ideology,” said Clarke, in referring to Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
“But our community has not backed down; it’s not in our blood to do so,” she added. “Immigrants and their children and grandchildren from every part of the world are not only the foundation of Brooklyn but are the foundation of our great nation.
“As the child of immigrants, I have worked tirelessly in Congress to demonstrate a commitment to our immigrant brothers and sisters, by supporting comprehensive immigration reform,” Clarke continued.
She said that, in the first 100 days of his presidency, President-elect Biden has promised to roll-back “45’s xenophobic policies that have put the lives of our beloved immigrant community at risk.”
For instance, Clarke said the Biden administration will reverse the public charge rule, end the asylum policies, end refugee bans, support Dreamers, bring humanitarian aid to the border, end the National Emergency that allows federal dollars from the Department of Defense to build the US and Mexico border wall, among other things.
“The work continues, but now we have a partner in the White House, who understands the need for us to focus on the people and not the corporations to get us beyond this dark chapter of white supremacy,” Clarke said.
“This victory (Biden and Harris’s) is a reaffirmation of our liberty and determination to maintain our precious democracy,” she added. “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,” the congresswoman continued.