Pols host emergency immigration forum

Local Flatbush pols held an emergency immigration forum at the Flatbush YMCA with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in Flatbush on Feb. 8.

More than a hundred guests packed the “State of Emergency, State of Immigration” meeting led by Councilman Jumaane Williams (D—Flatbush), Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, state Senator Kevin Parker, and District Leader Josue Pierre, which was an effort to provide vital information about immigration to prepare and put community members at ease with growing concerns surrounding President Trump’s executive orders, which included the travel ban of seven countries in the Middle East.

Throughout the two-hour and a half meeting leaders and concerned residents discussed with immigration experts how to avoid finding themselves in limbo with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and travel advisories. Representatives from the The Brooklyn District Attorney say that legal permanent residents should ensure they stay on top of their travel lengths outside the country.

“If you’re a green card holder and travelling outside the country for more than six months or more, you should apply for appropriate extensions,” said a spokesman with the Brooklyn district attorney. “Because being outside of country for six months or more the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may deem your green card invalid.”

And with an alleged increase in immigration raids, others were advised to take extra precautions if they see an ICE, said a spokeswoman with the district attorney.

“Please do not interfere if you see an ICE agent removing someone. Document anything they may have said and any details about those who are present — recording details may actually help you in your case,” she said.

Councilman Williams, who will be running for City Council Speaker, urged his constituents a long fight against the Trump administration, and to use their worries to mobilize.

“What we want to do is make sure we turn that fear and use that to help bring some courage, because it’s not going to be enough to just be afraid in these Trump times,” said Williams. “What I want to ask of people who have less to be afraid of – we want to make sure we take the biggest risks and we’re need we out there and do as much as you can.”

He also promised more forums encouraged community members to help their neighbors in need and recognize ways to resist.

“Next meetings — we’re going to go directly into how we can continue to organize and how can continue to engage, and how we can continue to resist Trump because he won’t win — we will win,” he said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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