‘New Yorkers Must Stay Vigilant’: Local Pols Blast Trump, Prepare For More ICE Raids

Rep. Yvette Clarke speaks at the press conference (Image by Sam Raskin/ Bklyner)

LOWER MANHATTAN — Local politicians on Friday instructed New Yorkers to be ready for more immigration raids ahead of the weekend and blasted the Trump administration for ordering them.

“We are here today to say that we must remain vigilant,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke, who represents, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Flatbush, Park Slope and bits of other bordering neighborhoods, at a press conference at Foley Square.

The press conference comes after several recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on the homes of suspected undocumented immigrants in the five boroughs, including at least four in four days in Brooklyn and a frightening moment for some Sunset Park residents. President Donald Trump, however, said earlier this week the raids had been “very successful.”

“All indications are that they have not been extremely successful in deploying their methods across the city,” countered Clark, “however, this administration has really set its sights on immigrant communities and I want to make sure New Yorkers stay vigilant. There is no telling what will happen this weekend.”

“We want to keep a readiness posture,” she added. “It’s about protecting our families, many of which are of mixed status.”

Rep. Nydia Velasquez speaks at the press conference in Manhattan (Image by Sam Raskin/ Bklyner)

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, who represents North Brooklyn, Sunset Park, as well as bits of several Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods, said the Trump administration is “out to terrorize and instill fear in immigrant communities.”

“We are here to tell the President, ‘You can get ICE into our communities and we are ready, waiting for you,” she continued.  “Today, we are sending a strong message to immigrants across New York: you are our neighbors, and in New York City, we take care of our neighbors.”

Everyone, she said, has rights, “even undocumented” people.

In the event that ICE officials knock on New Yorkers’ doors, Velázquez advised them to not open the door unless they show a warrant signed by a judge. And if ICE officials “stop you on the street,” she advised residents to ask for a lawyer.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks to reporters in Lower Manhattan about the recent and upcoming ICE raids (Image by Sam Raskin/ Bklyner)

“We have a hater in the White House,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, East New York as well as parts of southern Brooklyn. “Donald Trump has peddled xenophobic poison in the same way a drug dealer peddles coke on the street corner.”

Jeffries pledged that he and other elected officials would “stand shoulder to shoulder” with immigrants against Trump’s “un-American deportation machine.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams speaks at the Manhattan press conference (Image by Sam Raskin/ Bklyner)

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams—formerly a City Council member representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, and Canarsie—said Trump’s immigration policies are meant to ferment “fear.”

He said Trump and people who support him want immigrants to “believe that they are not loved” and don’t have rights —a phenomenon he said is “unfortunately part of the American story.”

“That is part of the DNA of America,” he said. “But the best part of America will push back and we will win.”

“Whatever comes, we are going to make sure that our neighbors understand that they are loved, and they do have rights,” he added.

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Sam Raskin

Sam Raskin has reported for Politico New York, Gotham Gazette, Gothamist and Curbed New York.


  1. Maybe if y’all just come in LEGALLY the way my grandparents and daughter in law did, this would be a NON issue??? Just asking for a friend…

  2. @Melinda,

    “Y’all” grandparents were accepted as refugees, judging by your last name? Did they had the means and opportunity to travel to Moscow for a US Embassy interview and a medical exam, and then again a second time for paperwork?
    Or did they travel to Italy in the 80’s, pretending to emigrate to Israel, lying to Soviet and Israeli authorities, then applied for asylum at the US Embassy in Rome?
    I can continue. Maybe think for a moment that not everyone has those means and opportunity…

    Not even talking about the fact that “y’all” “kinda” confiscated this land from native people by force (so legally my @!!)…

    “I’ve got mine, but you’re on your own” – SAD!

  3. Yes, Lev P. has it right. It shocks me, even though I’m old and should be cynical, that people who were accepted into the US in the 70’s and 80’s as refugees, or in the late 40’s and early 50’s as “displaced persons–DPs” (translation–refugees) are so smug about their “legality.” My parents, for example, crossed borders illegally to get into the US-occupied zone of Germany, and then it took 5 years of DP camps (read “refugee camps”) to gain admission, which happened purely by chance. I’m a veteran of “Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry”–I never thought that some of the people we were demonstrating for would then, after their entry and their successful lives in the US, shove away others trying to climb into the lifeboat. That lifeboat is more than big enough for the current crop of refugees, and for many more. Like my parents and perhaps Melinda’s grandparents, they too would work as housecleaners, laborers, cab drivers, but their children would be educated, tax-paying, and useful citizens of the US. That’s the way this nation has always benefitted from new muscle and new brains, and the cycle should be continued.

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