2018-05-30 / Political Page

I On Politics

TAKING CHILDREN FROM FAMILIES AT BORDER ‘ALARMING, CRUEL, RADICAL’: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested on May 22 that Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy hold a hearing to investigate the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to enact an official policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the border.

After sending their letter to Chairman Gowdy, the members stated, “The administration’s policy of forcibly separating innocent immigrant children from their parents is shameful, cruel and a radical departure from past practices. We believe this inhumane program should be ended immediately and that Attorney General Sessions and (ICE) Acting Director Homan be called before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer for the serious questions raised by this alarming new policy.”

In the letter, the representatives noted that, “On Monday, May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Thomas Homan, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced that the Trump Administration would adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy toward anyone attempting to cross the border illegally. This policy will ensure that every family member crossing the border, regardless of whether they have legitimate asylum claims, are referred to the Department of Justice to be prosecuted for illegal entry. Adults will be transferred to criminal custody, and children will be separated from their parents and, ironically, treated as ‘unaccompanied minors.’ Attorney General Sessions is quoted as saying, ‘If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.’

This change in policy came just 11 days after Steven Wagner, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the agency had lost track of almost 1,500 migrant children in the United States, raising grave concern that those children could end up in the hands of human traffickers or be forced into labor by those posing as relatives.

“Those seeking asylum in the United States should have asylum requests processed before being referred for prosecution. Given this serious change in enforcement policy, we ask that the Committee hold a hearing to investigate the following questions:

(1) How many children has the Trump Administration separated from their parents when entering the United States since January 20, 2017?

(2) What accommodations are provided to children who have been detained?

(3) How do the Department of Homeland Security and ICE ensure that proper precautions are taken to protect the health and safety of detained immigrant children?

(4) How does this policy comport with existing law as it relates to protecting families with legitimate claims of asylum in the United States?

(5) Why does the Trump Administration believe it is in children’s best interest to separate them from their parents upon arrival?”

MALONEY EXPRESSES STRONG OPPOSITION TO DODD-FRANK ROLL BACK BILL: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment on the House Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement after taking to the House floor on May 22 to urge a “no” vote on S.2155 (“the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act”), a bill that would roll back Dodd-Frank enacted consumer and investor protections.

“Eight million people lost their jobs in the financial crisis, 6 million people lost their homes, and more than $15 trillion dollars in wealth was destroyed. Yet, the authors of this bill seem to have forgotten that.

“Ahead of the financial crisis—the worst recession in our nation’s history— predatory lenders saddled unsuspecting borrowers with toxic mortgages that they didn’t understand and couldn’t afford. Too often, these predatory lenders targeted communities of color—and when these toxic mortgages blew up, it devastated these communities.

“In response, we passed the Dodd-Frank Act—and I had the privilege of serving on the Conference Committee. Dodd-Frank imposed tough new rules on mortgage lenders, and beefed up our efforts to crack down on lending discrimination. This bill would roll back some of these important protections.

“The bill would undermine fair lending laws by exempting the majority of lenders from the new reporting requirements on lending discrimination. The bill would also weaken the protections for mobile home buyers—many of whom are low-income families—by allowing retailers of mobile homes to accept kickbacks in exchange for steering borrowers into predatory loans that they can’t afford—an egregious practice that Dodd-Frank outlawed.

“And the list goes on.

“This bill will have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and lowincome Americans. And while it contains some provisions that every House Democrat has supported, the roll backs to Dodd- Frank cannot be justified and I hope my colleagues will see the dangers that passing it would mean.”

The House of Representatives proceeded to pass S.2155 on Tuesday. It had already cleared the Senate in March and was sent back to the House for approval. The bill will now move on to the president, who said he plans to approve it.

CONGRESSMAN CROWLEY ENDORSED BY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, was endorsed on May 21 by leading conservation and environmental activists in New York.

“As our Executive Branch in Washington is taking regressive actions that hurt our environment, congressional leaders like Rep. Crowley are leading the way on conservation and sustainability. His 100 percent score on our environmental scorecard is backed up with a record of support for legislation, including the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan and his introduction of the Bike-to-Work Act,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We are proud to endorse Congressman Crowley and encourage District 14 voters to support him in the Democratic Primary on June 26.”

“During these dangerous times, when the advancements for environmental protections are being turned back, we need to have representatives who can show leadership and who are dedicated to protecting our land, air, and water like Congressman Crowley,” said Arnold Chair of the NYC Group Sierra Club.

“Ocean Champions heartily endorses Congressman Joe Crowley. Congressman Crowley has long been a supporter of environmental causes and efforts. His long tenure and leadership position in the House puts him in a key position to do what he does best—make good things happen and bad, bad things not happen,” issued Ocean Champions in a statement. “Joe is a true champion.”

Crowley is a leading advocate for environmental protection and conservation in Congress. He opposed President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, voted against the development of the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, and has co-sponsored legislation to transition the United States to 100 percent clean energy use in the next two decades.

Additionally, he has a perfect record from the League of Conservation Voters for 2017 and a 94 percent lifetime score.

New York’s 14th Congressional District includes portions of Queens and the Bronx.

ADDABBO BILL TO ENCOURAGE RECYCLING AT PARKS: With the support of NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., the New York State Senate recently passed legislation (S.3052) to increase recycling opportunities in New York City parks, historic sites, playgrounds and other recreational areas while reducing the amount of trash ultimately and unnecessarily buried in landfills.

“People come out to our parks, playgrounds and other attractions to get some fresh air, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn about our rich history in New York City,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “Unfortunately, the trash that is sometimes left behind at these sites is unsightly, dangerous to wildlife, discourages attendance, and otherwise presents a serious, but preventable problem in our recreational areas. Making it easier for people to recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper and other materials in these areas would help to effectively address the issue and provide benefits for all of us.”

Under the bill, which is co-sponsored by Addabbo, the city would be required to install bins for the collection of recyclable materials in parks, playgrounds, historic sites and other recreational facilities, while urging visitors to carry out their trash and deposit it in the proper receptacles. The city Department of Sanitation would regularly collect the recycled materials and ensure their proper disposal, and signage would be posted to encourage visitors to deposit their trash in the appropriate containers. To help cover the costs of the program, the city would be able to apply for grants from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

“By some estimates, about 56 percent of New York City’s recyclables end up in landfills instead of recycling facilities,” said Addabbo. “We need to significantly step up our efforts to encourage active recycling, which is a boon to our environment, our economy, and every single one of us who enjoys the city’s beautiful green spaces and historic sites. An added benefit to this legislation is that taxpayers will save money on clean-up costs when recyclables are properly handled and ultimately reused.”

Now that the bill has been approved by the State Senate, it is under consideration by the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

SHEET METAL WORKERS BACK CAROLYN MALONEY: SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, and its New York City Local 137, endorsed Congress Member Carolyn Maloney for reelection in New York’s 12th Congressional District.

“There has been a lot of talk about income inequality, but only a few in Congress actually work to reverse working-class and middle-class wages from continuing to stagnate. Congresswoman Maloney is one of them. She has always fought for fairness and opportunity for working families. This diverse membership of sheet metal workers, conductors, engineers and welders to name just a few, enthusiastically support Carolyn Maloney for reelection,” said Joseph Sellers, Jr., General President of SMART.

“I would like to thank SMART and SMART Local 137 for their support of my candidacy,” said Congress Member Maloney. “The recently passed Republican tax bill was a massive tax giveaway to the fortunate few, at the expense of working families and the kind of infrastructure investments our country needs right now. I look forward to continuing to fight in Congress on behalf of the sheet metal and transportation workers.”

The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the United Transportation Union merged in 2008 to form SMART. Today, SMART has 216,000 members and is one of the most diverse unions in North America.

With the Democratic Primary on June 26, Maloney has been endorsed by every City Council member, NYS Assembly member and NYS senator whose districts overlap Maloney’s New York’s 12th Congressional District, along with three citywide elected leaders: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, all four Democratic Borough Presidents and the entire New York House Democratic delegation. In addition, Carolyn Maloney is supported by the AFL-CIO, DC37, Teamsters Local 237, the United Steelworkers District 4, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Emily’s List, New York State United Teachers, NARAL, End Citizens United, the Sierra Club, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), and more.

CROWLEY ENDORSED BY CITY’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, was endorsed by New York City’s congressional delegation on May 23.

“Whether it is affordable housing, healthcare, or women’s rights, Chairman Crowley has a proven track record of getting things done on the critical issues facing our families. Now more than ever we need Joe Crowley in Congress to fight for New Yorkers and I’m proud to endorse him for reelection,” said Congress Member Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens).

“Joe Crowley is a true leader for New York—and I strongly support his reelection campaign. In Congress, he’s constantly fighting for Queens and Bronx families on critical issues like comprehensive immigration reform, gun safety, and education,” said Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens). “I see how hard he works every day for his constituents and I know he is the best candidate to represent our families.”

“As we face a time of unprecedented challenges under the Trump administration, we need elected officials who have experience fighting for New York’s working families and communities. Joe Crowley has been a leader in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, and to create educational opportunities for all New Yorkers. He is a strong voice for Latinos and we need him in Congress. That is why I am proud to endorse my friend Joe for reelection,” said Congress Member José Serrano (D-the Bronx).

The following representatives also contributed enthusiastic expressions of support for Crowley: Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens), Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, the Bronx), Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn), and Eliot Engel (D-the Bronx).

CROWLEY ENDORSES LETITIA JAMES FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL: On Monday, Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, endorsed Letitia James for Attorney General: “Tish James is a groundbreaker and a dedicated public servant. We need her on the frontlines fighting for New Yorkers’ rights and freedoms, and I look forward to fighting alongside Tish as she helps to lead the resistance against President Trump’s hateful and unethical agenda.”

‘REJECT HUD PROPOSAL TO HIKE RENTS OF ELDERLY AND DISABLED’: Assembly Members Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) and Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) are urging their colleagues in Congress to reject Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s “misguided” plan to hike the rents of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.

In a strongly worded letter sent to the New York Congressional delegation, the lawmakers call the HUD plan, officially dubbed the Making Affordable Housing Work Act of 2018, “patently untrue.” If enacted, they say the plan would force public housing residents to pay more for their apartments and would exacerbate a homelessness crisis that already rivals that of the Great Depression.

Cymbrowitz serves as chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee and Hevesi chairs the Social Services Committee.

“Under Secretary Carson’s proposal, public housing residents would be required to pay 35 percent of their gross income toward rent, compared to the current 30 percent of their adjusted income,” Assembly Members Cymbrowitz and Hevesi write. “This proposed increase is especially disturbing given that HUD’s own website considers families paying more than 30 percent of their income toward housing to be cost burdened, and warns that they may have difficulty affording other necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”

“For folks already struggling to make ends meet, this significant hike would have devastating effects – and would move families even farther away from the self-sufficiency Secretary Carson hopes to inspire,” they write.

In their letter, Cymbrowitz and Hevesi explain that contrary to HUD’s claims, seniors and those living with disabilities who are currently receiving assistance would be adversely affected by the rent hike. “The bill establishes a new minimum rent for households that are now exempt—including the elderly and disabled. These recipients would now need to pay 30 percent of their gross monthly income in rent, but not less than $50, placing a new financial burden on the backs of our most vulnerable,” they write.

The plan would also spur uncertainty in the public housing community by allowing the HUD secretary and some building owners to impose even higher rents than are outlined in the bill through alternative rent structures, work requirements and de facto time limits, according to the lawmakers. “Current housing assistance guidelines may be flawed, but they do provide a level of stability that low-income tenants and their landlords simply can’t afford to lose,” the Assembly Members Hevesi write.

Hevesi said, “Despite its name, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and I firmly believe Secretary Carson’s proposal is the antithesis of such an effort, and urge our federal representatives to consider the consequences of—and ultimately reject—this harmful plan.”

“Imperiling people’s ability to remain in their homes, apartments and communities robs them of dignity and destabilizes our communities,” Cymbrowitz said. “Along with Assemblyman Hevesi, I urge our colleagues in Congress to not allow our seniors, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable residents to become collateral damage in a draconian budget-balancing scheme.”

GIANARIS: NYCT PLAN IS GOOD, BUT LEFT OUT FUNDING INFO: NYS Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement in response to New York City Transit President Andy Byford’s release of his Corporate Plan to turn around the crumbling subway system. “This plan properly identifies and offers substantive solutions for the significant infrastructure problems facing the subway system. The plan does not, however, answer the question of where the money to finance this ambitious proposal will be found. I have proposed a surcharge on New York City millionaires to help fund necessary subway improvements. Other viable solutions have also been proposed. Above all else, we must do something and quickly enact one of these ideas to establish a dedicated revenue stream to save our mass transit system from further calamity.”

ADDABBO FRUSTRATED WITH 11-BLOCK CLOSURE OF ROCKAWAY BEACH: “I could not be any more frustrated with the news that the city will close off an 11-block section of Rockaway Beach this summer. It is completely unacceptable that beachgoers will not be allowed to access the water from Beach 91st Street to Beach 102nd Street. The Army Corps of Engineers knew that this portion of the beach needed attention and should have acted years ago to remedy this situation. Now, the people and businesses of Rockaway that depend on the summer season will suffer because of their lack of action,” stated NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

Addabbo continued, “I also found out about the city’s proposal to eliminate weekend service on the Rockaway Beach shuttle bus on the same day as hearing of the beach closures. While this proposal is not set in stone, it would be another devastating blow to the Rockaway community, and I do not support taking away valuable ferry transportation options for the beaches, especially since a large portion of the beach will not be accessible.

“The summer season is supposed to be Rockaway’s ‘shining moment.’ All we ask is that government agencies do their job so that we can maximize the potential and enjoyment value Rockaway has to offer.”

ADDABBO THANKS EMS WORKERS DURING EMS WEEK: “May 20 through May 26 is recognized as EMS Week, where we honor those who serve our communities as EMS workers. These dedicated men and women are often first on the scene to an emergency, right next to our police officers and firefighters. In addition to our city EMS workers, I would also like to extend my personal gratitude to the EMS members at the Forest Hills, Ridgewood, Glendale, and Lindenwood Volunteer Ambulance Corps,” said NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS ANNOUNCES GUN SAFETY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY), Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), announced on May 24 a new initiative to encourage student gun safety advocates to intern on Capitol Hill.

In a letter sent to their colleagues, the lawmakers announced the initiative and encouraged members to host students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other schools impacted by gun violence as summer interns in Washington, DC to continue their advocacy on gun safety measures.

“We have all been impressed with the leadership and passion shown by students around the country on the issue of gun violence prevention. Through efforts like the March for Our Lives, students have been speaking up and demanding action on this issue like never before, and they are an inspiration to many of us,” wrote the lawmakers. “That is why we are encouraging members to host an intern in their office this summer to work on the issue of gun violence prevention and bring their personal dedication to this issue.”

The lawmakers expressed their excitement for Democrats to work with the students on this important issue and continue pushing for bipartisan, commonsense proposals to prevent gun violence and provide real solutions to keep our schools safe.

CITY DELEGATION TO TRUMP: COME TO CITY, MEET IMMIGRANTS: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), and members of New York City’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Trump on May 23 asking him to meet with immigrants and families instead of holding hateful and unproductive events that demonize the immigrant community.

President Trump has convened two events in recent weeks, including one on May 23 in Long Island, that demonize and belittle the valuable contributions of immigrants living in the United States, painting immigrants as criminals and referring to them as “animals.” Given Long Island’s proximity to New York City—one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world—the Congress members urged the president to host another discussion—this time with immigrants and their families.

In addition to Crowley, the letter was signed by Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Hakeem Jeffries, Grace Meng, Gregory

Meeks, Jose Serrano, Jerrold Nadler, and Eliot Engel.

“(This) is the second time in two weeks that you decide to focus your comments and administration’s efforts on MS-13, instead of the millions of hard-working immigrants in this country who are enriching their communities every single day. There is no question that gangs, like MS-13, are a danger in our communities. No one knows this better than the innocent immigrant communities that are terrorized by these gangs every day,” wrote the Members of Congress. “However, your insistence on likening all immigrant communities to these street gangs is un- American. We invite you to join us in New York City for a roundtable to hear from immigrant communities, who are nothing like the criminals you label them to be.”

In the letter, the lawmakers criticize the president for choosing to hold a discussion on immigration without including the very people who have immigrated to America, the overwhelming majority of whom are successful, law-abiding, and hard-working citizens. The letter continues, “Perhaps they may convince you to start focusing your efforts on fixing our broken immigration system, instead of focusing on enforcement only policies.”

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.