New Yorkers greeted Muslim residents outside of 12 subway stations on Feb. 8 to remind them of their civil rights and the city’s commitment to resist a federal crackdown on refugees and immigrants.
Four city agencies and several community groups organized the #OneNewYork “Day of Action” during the morning rush hour. The outreach is part of a wider partnership between local government and immigrant communities to not only push back against executive orders taken by President Trump, but also inform citizens and immigrants about the legal and social services that they continue to have the right to access.
Confusion has spread throughout local Muslim communities ever since Trump announced the so-called “Muslim ban” late last month. But this partnership among the City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), City Commission on Human Rights, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit and community groups instills confidence among American Muslims during a challenging time, according to Islamic Leadership Council Executive Director Cheikh Ahmed Mbareck.
“The people in the Muslim community have been living in a situation that is characterized you can say by trauma,” he said in an interview.
Informing people of the limits of presidential power and the power of the American judiciary goes a long way toward assuaging fears that Trump can deport people who were born in predominantly-Muslim countries, according to Mbareck.
City officials said in a press conference outside a subway stop in Bay Ridge that the city will not cooperate with federal immigration crackdowns. The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation and remains a guiding principal in the city’s approach to immigration, legal and otherwise, according to DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas.
“As Americans of all stripes face anxiety about our country’s stance on immigration, there are unfortunately those who will look to prey on that fear,” Salas said. “The city will never ask about your immigration status.”