At noon today, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. As a candidate, his campaign was centered on an anti-immigrant stance that called for the building of a “wall,” mass deportations, banning Muslim immigration, and “religious tests” for those looking to the United States as safe haven from war and persecution. Since his election, Mr. Trump has stated that he would deport two to three million “criminal” immigrants and has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions – with a record rife with anti-immigrant votes and remarks - as his pick for Attorney General, who would exert significant control over the nation’s immigration authorities.
The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:
“With the inauguration of Donald Trump happening right now, we have great concerns about what the future holds for our immigrant communities. President Trump must recognize that the success of America’s immigrant communities is America’s success as well. We call on him to recognize the humanity and dignity of immigrants – a full 42 million people in the United States, and more than four million in New York. They are more than the stereotypes and myths he has perpetuated. For centuries, immigrants truly are who have made America great.
“In particular, we urge President-elect Donald Trump to protect the 750,000 individuals – and 50,000 New Yorkers - who have benefitted from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Since the program’s inception in 2012, we have seen the incredible benefits of this program for our country. DACA is a clear example that providing opportunities to undocumented Americans works - when we broaden the horizons for these young people, we are helping secure America’s future.
“We implore him to move away from hateful rhetoric about immigrants, and to instead act to recognize the value of America’s immigrants. Halting or defunding refugee programs, banning immigration from Muslim countries, and authorizing mass deportations are not solutions to keeping America safe – in fact, they will cause chaos, decrease trust in our society, and wreak economic havoc. We call on him to focus on fixing our broken immigration system, helping immigrants integrate better, and maximizing the value that Americas newcomers bring.
“Today we ask our new President to be a true leader who believes in the respect and dignity of all people, and we urge him to use his Presidency to educate the country about the immense contributions that immigrant communities have made to this nation. But we will also hold him accountable every step of the way. We are ready for any attacks on our communities, and will double down to protect them at all costs against any anti-immigrant policies.”