Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) wrote a letter on Jan. 12 asking New York senators and congressmen representing Long Island to create an inspector general position on immigration policy.
The letter followed a meeting the day before between the president and legislators to discuss extending the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which protects children brought to the United States as youngsters. Those in the meeting quoted President Donald Trump as saying, “Why are we having all these people from s---hole countries come here?” and asking why the United States was not taking in more immigrants from Norway. The president admitted on Friday that he used “tough” language, but denied using the profanity.
That same day, Solages, a Haitian American, said at a news conference that Trump’s alleged profanity showed that he was unfit to make immigration decisions. “We’re here for solutions… and there is a legal solution,” he said, adding that “the President has proven himself to be bias and incapable and unfit for being impartial.”
An inspector general, according to Solages, would be a liaison between the executive office and the legislature that would limit the president’s power to make immigration decisions without consulting with congressional lawmakers. Solages also said that he spoke with other Haitian American representatives throughout the country who agreed that an inspector general is necessary.
Immigrants and first-generation Americans denounce the profanity
Nigerian American Abiobun Ojo, of North Valley Stream, told the Herald that he was upset by the President’s comment. “It was disheartening and it was saddening because you sacrifice so much just to get here, and then to be blatantly disrespected, it’s offensive,” he said.
Mimi Pierre-Johnson, a Haitian American, said she was disappointed that a president would say something disrespectful. “With this one comment that this man, this vulgarity that he said in the Oval Office, he has not only insulted a people, but he has insulted the seat of the presidency of the United States of America,” said Pierre-Johnson, a community organizer from Elmont.
Walter Barrientos, the Long Island Organizing Director for Make the Road New York offered, “There is no mistake to what the President has made clear: This is an ethnic cleansing and we are all going to be judged on who will be on the right side of history,” he said.
Several immigrants and first-generation Americans at the news conference asked their elected officials to denounce the comments and stand with the Haitian population before the 2018 midterm elections.
“To those who stand with Trump, and particularly the Republican Party, I plead that you pledge to stand against the racist and hateful rhetoric that the president is using to belittle the life of immigrants,” said Nicole Nuñez, an immigrant from Hispaniola currently studying at Farmingdale State College. “I call on my congressman, Peter King, to stand with the community of immigrants and denounce what the President has said.”
Solages also said that everyone on Long Island should denounce the President’s remark. “I am asking everyone not to condone those statements, not to justify those statements by saying, ‘Oh, he said that for economic reasons,’ or ‘He said that because those countries are poor,’” he said. “We cannot allow individuals to condone those statements, we must call them for what they are, and they are racist statements.”