Photo Credit: Faiza N. Ali

BROOKLYN, NY – On Feb. 8, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams

, Senator Kevin S. Parker

, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte

and District Leader Josue Pierre

 hosted “State of Immigration: State of Emergency,” an immigration forum at the Flatbush YMCA, where attendees learned about immigration policy changes under President Donald J. Trump and how to prepare.

The goal of the forum was to energize people to take action, organize and learn how to survive during the next four years.

“We have to change how people feel about Trump and his attack on immigrants,” said Council Member Williams. “I agree with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries when he said ‘every racist voted for Donald Trump,’ I’ll add that every xenophobe also voted for Trump, and we’re seeing it play out. While some people are telling us to wait, I’m saying we have to resist from day one. It’s been difficult to engage particularly Caribbean and African immigrants. Our Latino brothers and sisters have done a great job in getting involved, but I need everyone involved in the immigration discussion.”

“My colleagues and I will not allow the current presidential administration to create a culture of fear for residents of our district. We will continue to come together and keep everyone informed and aware of their rights regardless of their immigration status,” said Senator Kevin Parker.

In the first 2 weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump has signed several executive orders that has left the larger immigrant community weary of their status in the United States.

He signed an executive order that would impose a 120-day suspension of the refugee program as well as a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. Another executive order authorized construction of a U.S  – Mexico border wall, increased hiring of border patrol agents and strips federal grant money to sanctuary cities.

(L-R) Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Senator Kevin Parker

During a panel discussion representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the Council of People’s Organization (COPO), Brooklyn Defenders, the New York Immigration Coalition, and Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, discussed the following:

  • Citizenship Family Based Petitions
  • Immigration Fraud and Family Reunification
  • DACA/DAPA Asylum Filing
  • Fee Changes
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Deportation

There were also representatives from City agencies and local organizations to answer questions about immigrant rights, and answers to any questions regarding changes to the country’s immigration policies.

The event was co-sponsored by the  YMCA,

New York Immigration Coalition

, Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York

 (HALANY), Haitian American Caucus

, and the Council of People’s Organization


“This immigration forum was very much needed, in particular, for the black immigrants in my district who are never at the forefront in regard to the immigration issue,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “Getting accurate information to people in the community is so critical, especially now because things have been moving so quickly. I was glad to hear of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to continue to block the travel ban, but I know this is not the end and we need to prepare people for what is to come.”

“As the President of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, I speak for myself and on behalf of my organization when I say that Trump’s Executive order barring refugees and immigrants from select countries from entering the United States is both unconstitutional and unethical. Make no mistake, this ban is only the beginning. If we do not take a stand now, the state of immigration in this country will only become worse and soon it will not just be refugees and people from a certain region getting barred, it will be everyone who does not fit the criteria of the Trump administration.  I am here to say that we  as an organization stand in solidarity with our community in speaking out against this injustice. We stand in support of our immigrant brothers and sisters and we vow as a legal organization  to be present and to take an active role in this issue. We commend Councilman Williams  office for their attention to this crisis and hope that others will follow the lead,” said Ritha Pierre, president of HALANY.

“The current executive orders issued by Trump do not represent American principles. New York is home to people from all over the world. Our diversity is what makes New York and America Great.

We stand side by side when any of us is threatened. One New York Day of Action embraces the strength of all New Yorkers and America,” added Mohammad Razvi, executive director of Council of Peoples Organization. “We will stand side by side to speak out, rally, take to the streets and courts to ensure the rights of all are upheld. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is entitled to all without discrimination or bigotry. People of good will across interfaith, race, and political lines are standing together for the true values of America.”

# # #


Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, 45th Council District, 4517 Ave D, Brooklyn, NY 11203

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