Politicians in the state of New York are continuing to fight on behalf of undocumented immigrants in their jurisdictions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have each made positive immigration reform a big part of their political platforms. Both men explained that their passion in the immigration debate stems from the fact that they are products of immigrant families from Italy.
At the National Immigration Integration Conference, they announced plans to protect undocumented immigrants from sudden deportation.
“You want to build walls, you want to keep Muslims out – we believe in freedom of religion,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement before a crowd at the conference in Brooklyn. “It’s a founding premise of the entire country.”
The national debate
Immigration has been a hotbed topic in the national arena, featuring even more debate than usual with the next presidential election less than a year away. Between GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump declaring the U.S. needs to build a wall along the Mexican border and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey suggesting tracking immigrants like FedEx packages, there has been no shortage of anti-immigration plans in the media.
But none of it has deterred the efforts of politicians from New York.
Gov. Cuomo promised a crowd of supporters he’d fight to protect immigrant workers from exploitation by employers all over the state. He brought attention to the fact that in just the last five months, a state task force recovered almost $28 million in unpaid wages for immigrant workers already.
Mayor de Blasio announced New York City’s plan to dedicate almost $8 million of its budget next year to foster the growth of immigration services. Some of the money will be spent to help community organizations reach immigrants in all of the city’s neighborhoods. The program that Blasio and Cuomo created, known as ActionNYC, hopes to reach 75,000 immigrants in need of assistance in the first year alone, according to The New York Times. Mayor de Blasio believes that Pres. Obama’s executive order will be beneficial for immigrants but also recognizes that local legislature will have to play a part in making change happen.
“We know that when executive action fully takes effect, a huge number of New Yorkers will benefit, but we also know they need the legal assistance to fully benefit from these opportunities,” the mayor said in a statement.
Support from Clinton
Despite all the negative talk on immigration from conservative politicians, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has continued to voice her support for positive immigration reform in the U.S. At the same conference, she criticized Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio for their negative stances on immigration. She went on to voice her desire to shut down detention facilities only for immigrants and to make health care available to entire immigrant families, according to ABC News.