Brooklyn State Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie, in collaboration with Congresswoman, Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, on July 17 hosted a rapid response session for community leaders working to protect immigrant communities and keeping families together.
Myrie, who represents the 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, said that ICE’s announced raids mobilized communities across New York City to educate immigrants about their rights and connect them to services.
“Yet, the threat of arrest and deportation will not abate after this current ramp up, and there is an opportunity now to share best practices so that community leaders can fashion their current efforts into ongoing rapid response units,” Myrie said.
“We will not yield to any act of this administration,” he added. “This administration wants us to hit the panic button but we’re hitting the streets instead.”
Velázquez said “there is fear right now among immigrant communities.”
“While I understand why my neighbors are concerned, the best thing we can do in advance of these ICE raids is make sure everyone is aware of their rights and where they can turn for help.
“This event served as a valuable information clearinghouse to train up community leaders and others on how to tap into these resources and what to do if there are ICE raids,” she said. “In coming weeks, my office will continue working to spread the word and make sure all New Yorkers know their rights.”
Menchaca, chair of the City Council Committee on Immigration, said the raids are “serious, but make no mistake: this is the clearest proof yet that the Trump Administration is afraid.”
“The courts are dismantling their deportation machine bit by bit,” he said. “Congress is finally putting a spotlight on the insanity occurring in detention facilities. And the American people are coming together like never before to stand against this cruelty.
“The rapid response session is another example of this resolve,” he added. “Together, we will ensure New York City remains a sanctuary for everyone.”
Myrie said that, at the session, representatives from government and community-based organizations provided attendees with best practices for organizing rapid response teams and referring people to city services.
In addition to legal and government services, he said the session focused on mental health resources, “given the special trauma the threat of ICE raids are causing the immigrant community as a whole.”
Important government, legal, mental health, and other city resources, in multiple languages, and how to access them included: Know Your Rights information; how to report ICE activity; how to secure city-funded bond for immigrants already in detention; how to report fraudulent lawyers or businesses taking advantage of immigrants; and how to connect with free professionals who can help with stress, trauma and anxiety.