Immigrant Organizations Vow to Keep Pressure to Fight Trump

Make the Road NY and the New York Immigration Coalition said that they will not let their guard down this year in their fight for immigrants. (Photo courtesy of Make the Road New York via El Diario)

It seems like yesterday that Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. However, January 2019 marks the beginning of the third year of the Republican’s term in the White House, a period that has brought about extreme challenges for immigrant communities across the country.

In New York, the fight has been relentless and, according to some of the most important immigrant rights organizations in the tri-state area, it will remain that way. One of them is the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), whose members said that they will promote an aggressive agenda this year to invest in and protect the 4.4 million immigrants living in the state.

“New York’s governor and elected officials spent the entire campaign season promising to fight for immigrant New Yorkers. Now is the time to put their money where their mouth is,” said Steven Choi, executive director of NYIC.

Choi believes that Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is “full of hatred” and that the border wall “makes no sense.” For that reason, the immigrant rights leader is hoping that progressive laws take effect, particularly the expansion of driver’s licenses to all undocumented immigrants.

“We need to expand driving permits to everyone, and to protect and invest in services and programs to keep our communities strong and to ensure that New York is truly an example of life in Trump’s United States of Hatred,” said Choi, pointing out that the licenses have already been legalized in 12 states and D.C.

His strategy for 2019 also proposes an increase of $40 million to finance the local census, $20 million to fund the Liberty Defense Project, $532 million to create a special plan to be financed by the state for all New Yorkers at 200 percent or below the poverty level regardless of immigration status, and $15.3 million for adult education.

For Javier H. Valdés, co-director of Make the Road New York (MRNY), the community begins the new year remaining firm in that “we cannot be accomplices to Trump’s hate-filled mischief.”

“Donald Trump’s wall is racist, expensive, and has caused harm to millions of families during their holidays,” said Valdés. “We urge Congress to approve a resolution to end the government shutdown without allocating a dollar to the racist wall and the runaway control machine.”

Still, the community leader reiterated that Trump’s attacks against immigrants are not limited to the border wall.

“As New Yorkers, we must continue to protect immigrant communities,” said Valdés. “In the new legislative session, we expect to be able to restore access to driver’s licenses for all and to approve the New York DREAM Act. These are the urgent priorities for our communities, and with a Democratic majority in the state, we should be able to make them happen.”

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