As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, I am acutely aware of our nation’s proud and unique immigrant history. Since its founding, our great nation has been a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution and seeking opportunity. Nowhere is this legacy more evident than in Brooklyn. Our district is one of the most diverse districts in the country; full of immigrants from all over the world. This rich melting pot gives our neighborhoods their unique culture and is a source of pride for all who call Brooklyn home.
Comprehensive immigration reform is one of my top legislative priorities. The U.S. immigration system needs fundamental reform. Our national security is at stake; our moral standing in the world depends on it; and the American people, many of whom are first, second, or third generation immigrants, have resoundingly called for it. The reality of our economic situation compels us to take a fresh look at the antiquated policies and bureaucratic backlogs to move towards sensible immigration reform. My entire public life, I have advocated for a policy that keeps our nation safe while preventing undue burdens to those who wish to legally immigrate to the United States. Many legal immigrants, who make their way to our shores, fall out of status because of various factors: communication barriers, lack of legal assistance, a poor understanding of how to navigate our complicated immigration system, uneven and arbitrary detainment standards, and access to quality education and health care. This is why I have been a staunch advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.
Throughout my tenure here in Congress, I have sponsored and cosponsored numerous measures aimed at addressing the myriad issues immigrants face in this country. I sponsored legislation that would reduce the huge delays and wait times many immigrants encounter in the green card and citizenship application process; I also sponsored a bill designed to make a new crime to penalize those who engage in schemes to defraud persons seeking legal counsel or assistance in connection with federal immigration laws; I rallied support amongst the Congressional Black Caucus to strengthen and codify existing detention standards, ensuring that unaccompanied children are treated compassionately and that every detained person has access to quality medical care and legal advice. Lastly, I supported a letter my colleagues in Congress and to President Obama, urging them to repair our broken immigration system and pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.
My family’s story is the story of America. My parents were able to immigrate to this country and create a better life for themselves and their family through hard work and access to opportunity. I will continue to work to ensure that the American Dream is accessible to all who work towards it and that America remains the shining beacon of hope that it has been since its founding.
More on Immigration
The primary topic of discussion will be organizing and resisting the Trump administration's agenda. I will also be joined by several experts and community leaders who will speak on the recent executive orders, immigration, health care, and climate change.
All of these issues are important to each and every one of us, and it is essential, now more than ever, that we all do our part to stay involved.
Resouces for the Community:
Donald Trump's Executive Orders
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the Protect Our Sanctuary Cities Act, a bill she introduced that would end Donald Trump’s executive restrictions on sanctuary cities and prohibit the expenditure of funds to enforce these provisions. In addition, the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to present a report to Congress within thirty days explaining how the agency could build trust with immigrant communities.
Brooklyn, N.Y. - Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017, a bill she introduced which would dramatically expand the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United States prior to November 4, 2016. The bill would grant eighteen months of TPS to every eligible individual.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) released the following statement on a resolution she introduced today commending former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to the United States for the predominantly Muslims nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Sally Yates was fired after she instructed the Justice Department not to defend the executive order in court.
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to the United States for the predominantly Muslims nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The order halts most refugee admissions for at least four months except for people who are religious minorities in their nation of origin, effectively preventing many refugees from the Syrian Civil War – the majority of whom are Muslim – from entering the United States.