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 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.
“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—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.