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Alarming times

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His name is Khizr Khan.

He is a Muslim American and an immigrant who was born in Pakistan.

In 2004 his son Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan, an American soldier was killed in Iraq while trying to prevent two suicide bombers in a taxi from killing men under his command.

Last year in a speech at the Democratic Convention, with his wife by his side, he said:

“Tonight, we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan…Like many immigrants we came to this country empty handed…if it was up to Donald Trump he never would have been in America…Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son ‘the best of America.’ If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities — women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country…We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division. We are stronger together. And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next president.”

 

Then on Nov. 8 Donald Trump was elected President and subsequently mandated that immigrants from seven Muslim Countries be prevented from entering the United States and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents deport undocumented immigrants regardless of how long they had lived and worked here.

So it was that the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sponsored a talk by Mr. Khan at the Norwalk Inn & Conference Center on May 5.  There in a speech covered by NancyOnNorwalk Mr. Khan spoke movingly about how grateful he was for the law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces that defend the values embodied in our founding documents and the universal declaration of human rights.  Then he spoke about how in what he termed these “alarming times” all of us in our local communities are obligated to stand up for those values.

That, indeed, is the reason that Stand Up Norwalk or SUN was formed and recently, at the request of Mayor Rilling, drafted the following resolution that it is asking the Common Council to consider adopting:

 

STAND UP NORWALK’S PROPOSED RESOLUTION

WHEREAS the city of Norwalk, Connecticut is proud of its diversity and its citizens’ respect for the enlightenment values embodied in our country’s founding documents and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and

WHEREAS threats to deport law abiding undocumented immigrants and create a Muslim registry have created a climate of fear in our city and emboldened racists, xenophobes and others who do not share those values; and

WHEREAS the children of undocumented immigrants should not be separated from their parents due to their parents’ immigration status; and

WHEREAS as Governor Dannel P. Malloy pointed out “both real and perceived threats against undocumented persons and mixed-status families in our schools are causing trauma for students that affects their learning and well-being;” and

WHEREAS as Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark E. Ojakian noted many students “due to their race, religion, sexual orientation, and…immigration status” are now fearful; and

WHEREAS as former President George W. Bush pointed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack:  “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country;” and

WHEREAS rhetoric that demeans Hispanics, Muslims, blacks, and others demeans everyone; and

WHEREAS every Norwalk resident should be able to participate in its civic life without fear of being arrested or reported to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency; and

WHEREAS Norwalk wants undocumented immigrants to be provided with a path to citizenship; and

WHEREAS enforcement of federal immigration laws is the responsibility of federal government not local law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS federal law does not require local law enforcement or other local service providers to inquire into an individual’s immigration status; and

WHEREAS the threat to deport undocumented immigrants leads them to fear to report crimes, summon help for injuries, and seek opportunities for their children; and

WHEREAS Norwalk seeks to ensure that every one of its residents realizes the protections guaranteed to her or him by the Bill of Rights,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COMMON COUNCIL that Norwalk, Connecticut, condemns behavior that harms, demeans or discriminates against any resident of our city; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk condemns violence and speech that demeans undocumented workers, Muslims, blacks, women, the disabled, or members of the lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and gay community (LBTG); and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that none of Norwalk’s resources will be used to investigate, question, detect, or apprehend individuals for civil violations of immigration law; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk employees and law enforcement personnel refrain from monitoring or participating in the surveillance of individuals, houses of worship, or political organizations absent a reasonable suspicion that they have committed a crime; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk calls upon local and national government officials to respect the civil rights of undocumented as well as documented immigrants; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk calls upon the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive, fair and humane legislation that recognizes the economic and cultural contributions of undocumented and documented immigrants; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that law enforcement personnel be prohibited by ordinance from racial profiling and in particular from stopping individuals for investigation or investigating individuals because of their perceived race, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, national origin, gender/sexual orientation, or disability unless there is reasonable suspicion, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person with a particular characteristic described herein to a crime that has been committed or is likely to be committed; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that, as Governor Dannel Malloy recommended, if an ICE agent approaches a school asking for student information or for access to a student, that agent should be referred to the Superintendent’s Office or to the office of an appropriate administrator designated by the Superintendent, and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that in accordance with State and Federal laws Norwalk’s police and law enforcement authorities will continue to cooperate with Federal immigration agencies in matters involving criminal activity and the protection of public safety; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that nothing in this resolution shall be construed to prohibit City employees and Norwalk police officers from cooperating with Federal immigration agencies when they are required to do so by statute, Federal regulation, court decision or a legally binding agreement, and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk’s city clerk transmit a copy of this resolution to Governor Dannel P. Malloy and our representatives in Congress and the state legislature.

6 comments

NonPartisan May 14, 2017 at 8:08 pm

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole… it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

Barry Kasdan May 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Norwalk’s Common Council members are elected to fairly represent a very diverse population of adults, children and families from their districts. This obligates them consider SUN’s resolution .
Thousands of Norwalk residents have asked for a fair hearing on this.
In view of this growing support, the Common Council no longer has the option of avoiding to place this on their agenda.

Janet Luongo May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

My family chose Norwalk over 25 years ago because we love the diversity here. It’s a city that works. I agree that we are obliged to stand up for our values as citizens of a democracy. Our times are becoming more alarming everyday, with a reckless president endangering our basic civil rights, threatening the press, judiciary. Echoing Mr. Khan – has Mr. Trump even read the Constitution.” WE THE PEOPLE are the true power, and must be clear that we are against scapegoating of any group on the basis of religion, race or nationality. We do NOT want our police to randomly check papers of people acting according to the law because then they will be profiling our residents, and stopping anyone “brown.” That lends to fear. Fear lends to bad relations with police and each other, which leads to more crime. The resolution of SUN does NOT in any way protect criminals – ICE can come to Norwalk at any time, and in the case of an actual crime, our police of course will cooperate. These times call for courage – we want strong leaders with solid American democratic principles.

NonPartisan May 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm

I too moved to norwalk for its diversity. I truly do love it here. But I have noticed that this city ( and state for that matter) Seem to be on a self distruct mode.

Simply put- illegal immigrants living in illegal apartments are causing my real estate taxes to skyrocket. These landlords are not paying proper real estate taxes and the children living in these homes are receiving educations, and the families are receiving government services paid for by everyone else

This leads to higher mill rates which ead to lower home values. And so on

And yes Barry, Janet, and Paul – the city should consider this legislation- but they also must consider the economic impact of this feel good legislation.

They should also consider the message they are sending our children/ that’s its ok to break the law and not wait your turn.

That is ok to push your kid over the boarder- to go live with friends and family- and receive a free education

That its ok to cross the boarder illegally, have a child here and then claim you too have a rite to be here because you have an anchor baby.

And no- I don’t believe that looking the other way at these items makes us better people, or these immigrants better citizens.

I’m sorry- for me none of these things are ok. And all of these behaviors are paid for by the rest of us.

For me it’s about treating every one with dignity. And we should treat them with dignity as we show them the way Home so they can apply for immigration properly. .

Donna May 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm

The Police Chief has stated that the NPD does not work on behalf of ICE. Norwalk does not need this resultion by the CC in order to assert its position regarding undocumented residents. The evidence is already here. SUN has great intentions. They ought to consider that Norwalk’s diversity is attributable to an atmosphere of tolerance. The proposed resolution, to quote Hamlet, is “words, words, words.” I suggest the CC take a pass.

Michael McGuire May 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm

seems a bit limiting, no?

“FURTHER RESOLVED that Norwalk condemns violence and speech that demeans undocumented workers, Muslims, blacks, women, the disabled, or members of the lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and gay community (LBTG); and be it”

What about Jews, Christians, whites, Indians, Asians, able bodied, fully contributing tax paying citizens etc., etc.

I think Obama and NonPartisan have a point.

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.