Albany, NY – Today, the Senate Democratic Conference introduced their “Resistance Agenda” that includes three bills that would protect refugees, immigrants and foreign students from being victimized by the Trump Administration’s recent Executive Order. During today’s legislative session, the Senate Democrats will force votes on these initiatives to ensure state government stands up for American values and blocks President Trump’s attack on religious freedom and new Americans.
“President Woodrow Wilson once said ‘The history of liberty is a history of resistance’. Now it is more imperative than ever that New York leads this resistance,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We must stand up to the hatred and intolerance that is coming out of Washington D.C. Senate Democrats will be taking action and trying to force our Republican and rogue Democratic colleagues to allow action on a number of important bills that would help protect our immigrant and refugee communities here in New York. These initiatives would also send a strong message to the rest of the world that our American values cannot be stopped by one man.”
Senator Liz Krueger said, “New York is the home of the Statue of Liberty, the Mother of Exiles, who watches over the most diverse and vibrant city in the world. President Trump’s un-American attacks on Muslims and immigrants strike at the heart of what makes our city, our state, and our country great. He is on the wrong side of history, and anyone who stands with him or fails to take action against his agenda of hate and fear will have to answer to the people of this state and the judgment of posterity. The Senate Democratic Conference will resist these immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional actions. I urge all Democrats and Republicans to join us.”
The Senate Democratic Resistance Agenda includes:
1) Port Authority Resistance Bill:
The legislation would prohibit the Port Authority from supporting federal efforts in any way, including supporting personnel, the use of airport facilities or providing electricity and climate control in areas of the airport being used for the detentions.
Under this proposal, Port Authority police and employees would be prohibited from providing any assistance to the federal government to enforce Trump’s executive actions on Muslims and refugees.
Additionally, no NYPD officer or State Police officer would be authorized to provide any assistance to federal officers.
Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, whose own parents came to the U.S. from Greece, said, “President Trump’s executive order is as un-American as it gets and it falls upon each of us to take any measures at our disposal to resist by any legal means. The State of New York should not spend one penny in support of this unconstitutional federal effort and I will fight to make sure we don’t.”
2) SUNY/CUNY Resistance Bill:
This proposal would require SUNY and CUNY employees to avoid inquiring over a student’s immigration status to the extent that such action would assist the federal government in removing immigrant students.
This legislation would also neutralize controversial efforts by the State Senate Republicans to require universities to compile data regarding the number of foreign students, their countries of origin and the programs they are enrolled in.
Under this proposal, SUNY and CUNY would be prohibited from determining if a student was from a specific Muslim-majority nation, whether the student had proper immigration status, or was undocumented.
Senator Roxanne Persaud, sponsor of the SUNY/CUNY Resistance Bill, said, “Following Trump’s example, the Senate Republican Majority has actually introduced legislation that would require lists of foreign-born students to be generated by our public and private university. New York State should be a leader in resisting Donald Trump’s hateful actions, not a willing accomplice. That is why we must act on my bill to ensure that SUNY and CUNY schools remain places of dignified higher learning, not mechanisms to spy on students.”
The Senate Democratic Conference has led efforts to protect the rights of all New Yorkers and build a stronger and fairer state. The Resistance Agenda builds on Senate Democratic leadership and will send a strong message to President Trump that New York State will continue to be a progressive leader.
Senator John E. Brooks said, “We are a nation of immigrants and our diversity is what has helped make the United States the world leader it is today. I stand with my Democratic colleagues to reaffirm our commitment to all people, regardless of their race or religion because such intolerance has no place in New York State. America should never turn its back on those seeking refuge or a better life. I’m committed to fighting to preserve the freedom and character of our state and nation.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, “I am proud to join my Senate Democratic Colleagues to support this ‘Resistance Agenda’ and stand up for immigrant rights both here in New York State and abroad. Now more than ever we must make our voices heard and let people know that we will not tolerate any policy that threatens our rights and freedoms. I believe we are a stronger state and nation become of our immigrant population and this agenda is a recognition of their contributions.”
Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Our work at the state and local levels is more important than ever. With the president promoting dangerous policies and fostering discord at the national level, we must stand firm in our commitment to protecting our immigrant and refugee neighbors and making sure New York remains a source of hope for them and for people across the world.”
Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “President Trump’s policies and executive actions are now doing more than just embarrassing our state and nation. He is sweeping away centuries of American freedoms and traditions with the stroke of a pen and a smirk. It’s time to resist his agenda, before this gaffe in American history does lasting damage to our cause and way of life.”
Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Trump’s reprehensible executive order banning immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim nations is an assault not just on a particular group of people but also on the core American values of tolerance, justice, and equality. Our resistance agenda will protect and defend the diverse immigrant communities that make New York great. The Trump administration’s Muslim ban is a line in the sand, and it’s urgent that members of both parties show their constituents where they stand by allowing a vote on the resistance agenda immediately.”
Senator Kevin Parker said, “I stand firmly with my colleagues in supporting our “Resistance Agenda.” The New York State Senate Democratic Conference will not stand by and tolerate any of this Presidential administration’s discriminatory bans and policies. We will do all that we can to ensure that those who live, work, and go to school in New York State are protected against the biased executive orders that have been issued thus far by the President – regardless of immigration status or religion beliefs.”
Senator Bill Perkins said, “The epicenter of resistance to the wayward and offensive ways of the Trump Administration is right here in New York State—home of liberty, inclusiveness, humanity and acceptance. The fierce urgency of this moment demands our heartfelt voices of resistance and, more importantly, our thoughtful actions as embodied within the Democratic Conference Resistance Agenda.”
Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “The Senate Democratic Conference’s Resistance Agenda represents a critical and imperative initial effort on what will be a long and hard fought battle against the reckless and unacceptable policies that will continue to come out of Washington D.C. The lack of professionalism, complete disregard for our Constitution and the betrayal of our country’s core values demonstrated by this administration in its first week is a clear indication of the things to come and our Conference will fight to implement measures and take action to protect our State’s most vulnerable communities. We will not be silenced. We will resist.”
Senator James Sanders Jr. said: “I fully support the Democratic Conference’s Resistance Agenda. We must take a unified stand against President Trump’s Muslim ban, a measure I believe will be found unconstitutional. I applaud and uphold the rights of the protesters who have made their voices heard in defending our Democracy and the common humanity of all people. We must remember that an injury to one is an injury to all. The Resistance Agenda bills are necessary to prohibit blanket discrimination against Muslims, and protect those decent, hardworking immigrants who make up many of the communities here in New York. The world is watching us and we must show them that we will not stand idly by while Trump’s misdirected agenda hurts so many.”
Senator Jose Serrano said, “New York has always been the gateway to our nation and a progressive leader on welcoming new Americans to our shores. We must not allow President Trump’s hateful actions to destroy that legacy, and that is why passing the Resistance Agenda is so important. I urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to join with the Senate Democrats in advancing these common sense bills and sending a powerful message that New York still upholds American values.”
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “The Trump Administration has demonstrated every intention to act out of intolerance and hatred. With the recent news of men, women and children being detained in our nation’s airports, we as Democrats and as New Yorkers must defend those who are most at-risk under Trump’s executive orders: refugees, immigrants and foreign visitors. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Senate in support of the Resistance Agenda. My district is home to many immigrant families, both documented and undocumented, and I will not allow their safety and their rights to be compromised under this administration.”
Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, attacks on American values have no place in New York or our country. I’m proud to be leading the Policy Group and working with the Conference to ensure the rights of all New Yorkers and our state’s long history of welcoming immigration endure — through this Administration and beyond. Thank you to Leader Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues in the Democratic Conference.”