Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda blasted President Trump on for his new executive order focusing on banning immigrants from several predominantly Muslim countries.
“This is still a slap in the face at a religion that does little to win the war on terror and only alienates more Muslims around the world who would better serve as our friends,” the Bronx Assemblymember said. “I hope the courts act swiftly to strike this latest plan down as they did the previous one.”
The new executive order modifies one issued in late January that caused chaos overseas and at the nation’s airports as travelers, many with visas, were held for questioning or turned away.
The new presidential order came a day after Sepulveda held an immigration workshop at a church in his district that drew some 500 concerned participants.
The Sunday workshop at St. Helena’s Catholic Church in Parkchester, co-sponsored by state Senators Ruben Diaz and Jeff Klein, drew a panel of experts from the city, Bronx district attorney’s office and a number of private immigrant rights groups who discussed various immigration issues, including legal rights and procedures.
Sepulveda said that Father Nelson Henao, parochial vicar and director of Hispanic ministry at St. Helena’s, came to him seeking help in putting together a workshop for his parishioners and local residents, a number of them undocumented and concerned over their futures.
“I was a bit surprised by the massive turnout at the workshop. But with the on-going cold-hearted crackdown on undocumented aliens across the nation and Monday’s new executive order in Washington, I understand even better now the fears and concerns among a large number of residents in our community. I literally saw it on the concerned faces of those at the workshop,” he said.
“Hopefully, this workshop helped to calm the fears and explain the rights of these hard-working, decent people, who like waves of immigrants before them, came to this country seeking the American Dream.”
Sepulveda called for elected officials across the nation and in Congress to speak out for immigration reform, “an immigration policy that is humane and is both legal and makes sense.”
“This is a dark time in our nation’s history,” he said. “There has to be a better, more humane way to deal with this situation.”
Among those participating on Sunday’s workshop panel were Miriam Bell-Blair, director, Immigrant Affairs Unit of Bronx District Attorney’s Office; Bangladesh-American Community Council; Surey Miranda-Alarcón, neighborhood organizer| East & South Bronx; Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Oscar Asencio of the New York City Commission on Human Rights; Jackson Chin from Latino Justice PRLDEF; David Mullins, supervising paralegal and BIA-accredited representative at NYLAG (New York Legal Assistance Group), and Anthony Alba, an attorney at the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.