On Wednesday, April 12th, over 60 people gathered in the Patrons Lounge of the Tilles Center at LIU Post to partake in “Immigration Policies and their Effects,” discussion. Speakers included Long Island Wins’ own Executive Director Maryann Sinclair Slutsky and Special Projects Coordinator Laura Lemus, and Intercept journalist Murtaza Hussain. Moderated by Dr. Shaireen Rasheed, the panel explained at length different aspects of new immigration policies and how they affect immigrants nationally and on Long Island.
Slutsky went through the effects of fear of deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the local community, with children and families scared to seek out much-needed services. “Immigrants are not leaving their homes many times because of rumors about ICE raids...There has been a drop in immigrants going to food pantries, or families enrolling their kids in nutritional programs. Many are not going to health clinics to get vaccines for their children,” she told the audience, “And this really leads to potentially devastating long term effects on generation of immigrants here on Long Island and, really, across the country.”
Lemus went into the effects the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy had on the immigrant community and the fear of it being repealed by President Trump. She also discussed a recent case in Brentwood to highlight how ICE is detaining any undocumented immigrants: “A father of three was detained inside of his house in front of his children. The ICE officers had entered the back of his house without permission and they detained him and continued with deportation proceedings because he had a DUI from over two years ago. He had already paid all of his tickets, he had already done community service, he had already gone to classes that he needed…These are the realities that we are living with right now, this year, right now. So when you hear from enforcement that they are just picking up criminals with violent crimes, it’s just not true.”
“In a case recently that I want to talk about is this, is someone I spoke to recently crossing the U.S.-Canadian border,” said Hussain when discussing the behind-the-scenes policies that don’t get as much media coverage. “[When agents at the border asked for his phone] He said ‘Well sir, you know, I don’t want to do it because I feel like it is very invasive and I am an American citizen.’…They actually choked him and forced him to give them his phone and they forced him to unlock it by pressing his finger on it, and they got the information that way. It just shows when you embolden people at a low level, you set a really dangerous precedent.”
The audience asked multiple questions about how Long Island local governments and law enforcement agencies are working to help immigrants in the community, and were surprised to find out the lack of welcoming and “sanctuary” policies in place.
Watch the entire panel here:
Photos by Peter J San Chirico.