Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that New York City, collectively with a coalition of other municipalities across the nation have filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to support the plaintiffs in Darweesh v. Trump, who are seeking an extension of the temporary court order preventing enforcement of the President’s Travel Ban. The plaintiffs brought legal action after being detained and threatened with deportation despite holding valid visas to enter the United States. The federal government has sought to lift the hold, but Amici cities say this would deeply harm millions of residents by interfering with local economies, immigrant integration and public safety efforts.

“The President’s ban violates both our Constitution and the values we hold dear,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Americans of all stripes should be alarmed that religious liberties and Constitutional rights have been taken hostage by the White House. We will do everything in our power to fight back and stand up for the rights of all people.”

“New York City may be the President’s second home, but we will never be a City that houses hatred and division in our streets,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council will use every resource at our disposal to continue to stand up and support our immigrants, who fuel our economy and propel our city forward. New York City is never stronger than when we are united, and we are proud to join this amicus brief challenging the President’s unlawful, reckless, xenophobic executive order.”

Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter said, “In this brief, cities across the country have detailed the harms of an unprecedented presidential order that is contrary to our fundamental principles of law and the values of tolerance and inclusiveness that make our cities great.”

“I witnessed firsthand at JFK airport the impact this travel ban had on mothers, children and ordinary individuals who were treated with suspicion simply because of the country they were born in, and despite the fact that they had all undergone extensive vetting procedures prior to entry into our country. Cities are where immigrant families, from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, live, work and love, while being an integral part of the fabric of city life. With this brief, New York City – in concert with cities and municipalities across the country – affirms that our strength comes from our diversity, our ability to protect all of our residents, upholding our laws and staying true to our values,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Led by New York City, the brief was submitted by jurisdictions with sizable immigrant and refugee populations tracing back to the seven countries explicitly targeted in the Executive Order. Cities said the presidential order, which targets the populations of entire countries or the adherents of an entire religious faith, was unprecedented, disregards the values that sustain city life and sends a message that will “deeply harm our cities.”

According to the brief, the Executive Order:

Will damage the economic life and social fabric of amici cities, which depend on openness to immigrants and visitors. The court should recognize the significant and irreparable harm caused by the Executive Order – including separating families, prohibiting travel by professors and students, and stranding residents abroad. The Order chills the educational and cultural life of cities which thrive on the free movement of students, scholars, teachers and artists – and with them the free exchange of knowledge and ideas. The Executive Order would undermine key segments of our cities’ economies and our cultural institutions, and damage cities’ standing with counterparts and partners across the globe. Virtually every aspect of city life would be affected, including in New York City where welcoming immigrants and visitors is the centerpiece of its economy and a common thread running through all its residents’ daily lives.

Contains no constitutionally required due process. Not a single procedural safeguard is included for any of the individuals caught in the Order’s sweeping net. Residents and visa-holders have no opportunity to contest removal, nor any assurance that, if they travel, they will not be denied re-entry without recourse. No mechanism exists for permitting individuals from the affected countries reaching ports of entry to make applications for asylum, as federal law requires. “Stripping the procedural rights of particular groups harms the civil rights of all, by weakening key links in the chain of legal protections that hold our democracy together”, the brief said.

Does not make us safer. While the Executive Order is purported to be a tool in the fight against terrorism, nationally respected leaders and security experts have cautioned that the Order actually undermines that effort. It projects bias and hostility towards broad swaths of the population with no connection to terrorist activities. Adopting a national policy that discriminates based on religion and national origin will make it more difficult for cities to eliminate discrimination and hate crimes, which have increased dramatically since the November election. The atmosphere of fear and intimidation created by the Order could chill cooperation with local law enforcement among immigrants and minorities. Cities agree that their collective safety and well-being is best served by adhering to the core American values of equality, religious freedom, and respect for individual rights, which the Executive Order undermines.

The amicus brief can be found here.

Participating Cities:


“New York is the world’s greatest immigrant city, and the contributions of people who come here from all over the world are an essential part of our civic, economic, cultural, artistic and academic life,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This unlawful, un-American executive order hurts our city and every New Yorker, and I thank Mayor de Blasio, Corporation Counsel Carter and Commissioner Agarwal for ensuring City government is standing up and speaking out against it in court.”

“The President’s Executive Order is a form of wholesale profiling. Similar measures of exclusionary, state-sanctioned discrimination against legal visitors and even citizens have been some of the deepest stains on our nation’s history. As the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States, and home to over 2.3 million residents – half of whom were born abroad – the Borough of ‎Queens resoundingly denounces this Muslim ban,” said Borough President Melinda Katz.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley said, “President Trump’s hateful and discriminatory Muslim ban is antithetical to our values as Americans. New York City has always been a haven – welcoming individuals regardless of their backgrounds, and I’m proud to support City leaders in challenging this travel ban.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, “President Trump’s Executive Order to shut out people from several Muslim nations is ill-conceived, discriminatory and counter-productive. The United States has always been a place of refuge that welcomes people of all religions and nationalities and it is incumbent upon us to continue our efforts to maintain our nation’s fundamental values and ideals.”

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez said, “America is a land of immigrants and New York City’s character and vibrancy are owed to our rich immigrant history. The Administration’s travel ban is an affront to these values and we must fight it in every available avenue.”

Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said, “The President’s Executive Order blocking refugees from Muslim nations seeking to enter the United States based on their nationality or religion was outrageous and un-American. In practice, the Order “blacklists” Muslims, creates a state-sponsored religious hierarchy, promotes confrontation and hate, not cooperation and diplomacy. I am heartened to see New York City and other major municipalities join the fight in court.”

State Senator Marisol Alcantara said, “I came to this country to participate in the American experiment, in which people of all races and religions could coexist and make lives for themselves. The President’s Executive Order violates basic principles of our republic by targeting certain Muslim-majority countries. There have been episodes in the past where the United States has fallen short of its ideals, and we are now living in such times. The bigotry and authoritarianism Donald Trump represents requires vigorous opposition from all branches of government, and I fully support Mayor De Blasio’s efforts to hold this administration accountable to the Constitution.”

“Trump’s Muslim Ban is a callous and calculated act. It’s not in the interest of national security or the American people. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support it, or a Constitutional provision to warrant it. It’s the ill-conceived act of an overbearing and unchecked ego,” said State Senator Martin Malave Dilan.

“Not only does the travel ban implemented by this administration violate our Constitution, but it also betrays the values our country has championed for centuries,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I applaud Mayor De Blasio’s courageous decision to join several cities and counties throughout our country in filing this amicus brief in Federal Court. We cannot remain silent and let this administration blatantly discriminate based on a person’s faith. I remain firmly committed to defending our immigrant communities as they continue to contribute to our City’s social, economic, political and cultural wealth.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “In New York City, immigrants made up 44 percent of the city’s workforce in 2011. New York City has a strong interest in protecting immigrants, who make up over 40 percent of the city’s workforce. I’m proud of my city for leading this amicus brief and fighting Donald Trump’s shortsighted and unconstitutional immigration ban that targets a religious minority and undermine the rights and civil liberties of all Americans.”

“Make no mistake. The Travel Ban issued by The White House is just that – a ban that is aimed at singling out and persecuting Muslims, while doing absolutely nothing to make Americans safer,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “I applaud New York, and all of the amici cities, for doing their part to see that this unjust Executive Order is deemed unconstitutional. Let us all continue forward in our fight against racist rhetoric and policies that are not only an attack upon our nation’s immigrants, but also upon the core values of all Americans.”

State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “Bigotry in the rarefied legalese of an executive order is still bigotry. It has the same corrosive impact on the communities it touches. America’s cities have been vibrant exemplars of people from all faiths, all ethnicities, all backgrounds living together for generations – none more so than New York City. That economic and cultural dynamism is threatened by the Trump administration’s unwarranted, unjust, and unconstitutional executive orders that seek to wall us off, one from another. An injustice against families seeking to visit ailing relatives, an injustice against students seeking to continue their studies, an injustice against all people of good conscience who know the importance of our values of tolerance and inclusiveness. I commend this coalition of cities for upholding these values and showing the world our true American spirit.”

“New York City has always been at the forefront of protecting Immigrant families and ensuring our constitutional rights are upheld,” said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. “Today we ask the U.S. District Court to extend these protections so that our brothers and sisters are welcomed into this nation regardless of religious belief or practice.”

“I join with Mayor de Blasio in supporting his legal brief challenging President’s travel ban. It is unfair, it is unjust and it is un-American. We have to reach common sense answer to immigration issue in our nation. This is not a way to do it,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda.

“The President’s executive order is an affront to every value this nation holds dear, and an open door for countless terrorist recruiting videos. Not only does it expose us to greater threats, it surrenders the higher ground our nation has always held, codifying prejudices and normalizing xenophobia. Trump’s executive action without a doubt breaches our constitution and we must ensure that no one falls victim to the egregious overextension of the oval office,” said Assembly Member Francisco Moya.

“I am proud to live in a city that stands up to protect the rights of all people,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “The hastily drafted Executive Order against immigrant communities that has been put in place at the federal level has wreaked havoc on the lives of so many people due to its broad strokes. As we continue to fight for our constitutional rights under the 14th amendment which guarantees equal protection under the law and due process, I am glad to see New York City take a stand and be joined by other cities around the country in filing this Amicus Brief in order to prevent the enforcement of the travel ban, which essentially, among other things, denies due process for those being detained or removed.”

“This travel ban is an attack on American values and the constitution itself,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “As a State Legislator and an immigrant, I will do everything I can in the legislature to help protect my community and ensure that our state continues to be a beacon of hope for immigrants around the world”

“Local and state governments must serve as the front line against the discriminatory policies coming from the White House, including travel bans based on ethnicity, religion, or national origin,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “We know what happens when certain ethnicities or religions are deemed to be enemies of the state or when those in most need are not given entry into our country. So many of my mentors lived through the Japanese Internment, the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Holocaust. We know, and we remember, and we know that it is wrong. Travel bans like this one fail to keep us safe, they separates families, and hurt our economy, and I will continue to advocate at the state level for protections for immigrants and refugees. Thank you to the advocates and municipalities for filing this amicus brief.”

Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration, said, “Cities are protected by the will of the people, with legislation and in the courts. This amicus brief shows municipalities are leading the fight against the President’s unconstitutional travel ban. To protect our immigrant families and uphold our true American values, we will use every tool at our disposal.”

“I join legions of City officials across the nation in calling on the Court to continue its hold on enforcement of Donald Trump’s odious executive order,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I stand in solidarity with immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and all who have been impacted by Donald Trump’s immoral and unconstitutional travel ban. This executive order is the antithesis of all that our country stands for. I will continue to oppose it with every fiber of my being.”

“As New Yorkers, we are pleased and proud that Mayor Bill de Blasio has stood up for all New Yorkers and supported the ACLU’s legal challenge to the inhumane and unlawful Muslim ban,” said Donna Liberman, Executive Director of New York Civil Liberties Union.

Deborah Axt, co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said, “The Trump administration’s unconstitutional and immoral immigration policies require a stiff response from local and state government officials. We greatly appreciate that Commissioner Agarwal and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs are submitting this amicus brief to the court to stand firmly on the side of immigrant communities and the Constitution.”

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition said, “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for leading a coalition of cities in challenging President Trump’s immigration travel ban. New York City is a hub for people from around the world – students, working professionals and tens of thousands of immigrants, including refugees, come to the U.S where they live with their families, work, study and seek refuge. These diverse people strengthen New York’s economy and vibrancy, and we will not rest until we get a complete reversal of this executive order. While the 9th Circuit Court’s decision to maintain the temporary restraining order remains intact, we will also push back against any new executive orders that try to further reframe the issue in an attempt to ban immigrants and refugees from our country.”

“Hispanic Federation stands in solidarity with Mayor de Blasio, allied municipal leaders and the plaintiffs in Darweesh v. Trump against the dangerous and discriminatory travel ban. The fear-mongering that this administration is partaking in undermines the safety and security of this nation, especially in cities with large immigrant populations who are becoming unduly fearful of their future in the communities they contribute so much to. Our city and indeed our country’s economic prosperity, social stability and safety depend on principles of inclusion and civil rights, neither of which this ban promotes. We strongly support the extension of the court-ordered stay on this reckless executive order,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation.

‎”The International Refugee Assistance Project is thrilled to have the support of Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York in our efforts to prevent further damage from this blatantly discriminatory and unconstitutional Executive Order. The coalition of cities and counties who came together on this brief sends a strong message that Americans will continue to welcome refugees and immigrants, regardless of the position of the President,” said Becca Heller, ‎Director and co-Founder of International Refugee Assistance Project.

“As a sanctuary city that has been home to immigrants from all over the world, we will not allow immigrants to live in the shadows. We will do everything in our power to work with Mayor de Blasio to insure they remain vibrant members of our city,” said Debbie Almontaser, Board President of the Muslim Community Network.

“As an organization of African immigrants, we have seen first-hand how the Executive Orders have created a climate of fear in our communities, and made African newcomers feel like strangers in their new land. We stand with New York and cities around the country in calling for this discriminatory travel ban to be halted,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together.



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