Bichotte urges Caribbean nationals to ‘stay put’

Bichotte urges Caribbean nationals to ‘stay put’
Assembly Member, Rodneyse Bichotte.
Photo by Tequila Minsky, File

Amid President Donald J. Trump’s threatened deportation in two weeks of millions of Caribbean and other undocumented families if Democrats do not submit to changes in asylum law they have long opposed, a Haitian American legislator in Brooklyn is urging Caribbean nationals to “stay put.”

“We’re asking everyone to stay put,” New York State Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, on Saturday, reacting to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s plan to round up millions of undocumented immigrants for deportation.

“It’s a violation,” added the representative for the largely Caribbean district. “New York City is a sanctuary city; ICE is not supposed to harass people. If there are issues, call 311 (a New York City hotline that seeks to address residents’ issues and complaints).

“As a legislator, we have worked with legislators across the state, so there would be no discrimination,” Bichotte continued. “Do not open doors. ICE cannot come in without a signed warrant by a criminal court judge. They can only come in if you let them.”

“If you are in a public space, ask, ‘am I being arrested or detained’”, she said. “If yes, exercise your right to remain silent, and ask to speak to a lawyer. If no, ask if you can leave and then leave calmly.”

Bichotte said the US Constitution allows all residents, regardless of immigration status, to exercise the 5th Amendment right to remain silent.

She also said that if Caribbean nationals are passengers in a car, ICE can only ask information about the driver.

“They do not have the right to question passengers,” she said. “Passengers need to be silent and not say anything. Leave home only when you have to, and do your best to be a passenger with a driver who has (legal) papers.”

ICE said that its agents were planning Sunday to round up Caribbean and other immigrants in 10 major US cities.

But Trump tweeted on Saturday that he was delaying the plan for two weeks.

“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” he said. If not, Deportations start!” ‘

On Friday evening, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, had reportedly called Trump to persuade him to annul the immigration raids.

According to reports, Trump said he would consider her request but made no commitments.

On Saturday, Pelosi publicly decried Trump’s proposal as “heartless” and urged the president to “stop this brutal action.”

Earlier last week, US Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants strongly criticized Trump’s plan to deport millions of undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants.

“We have a Bigot-in-Chief who is overstepping his authority in his role as president pushing to deport immigrants from America,” said Clarke, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “It’s clear that he has one objective: to whitewash America. But that’s not who America is; we are a nation built by immigrants.

“I will continue to push back on Trump as he tries to instill fear in and bully our immigrant neighbors, friends and family,” she added. “As a second-generation Jamaican American, I know how immigrants contribute to our local and national economies by working jobs that pay taxes while also adding to the cultural fabric of our communities, making America the country we know and love today.”

Clarke said her legislation, the Dream and Promise Act, which recently passed the US House of Representatives, will provide 2.5 million beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), among others, a pathway to citizenship and the opportunity for legal residency.

“We must urge our colleagues in the Senate to also pass this historic legislation,” she said.

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