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Lamont, political leaders tout support for immigrants and refugees

Gov. Ned Lamont and other state officials gathered Friday to denounce the Trump administration’s immigration raids, planned for Sunday in cities across the U.S. (Kelan Lyons)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – As federal authorities prepared to deport thousands of migrant families from cities across the U.S., Connecticut leaders gathered in Bridgeport Friday morning to underscore the state’s support of immigrants and refugees.

“We’re proud that you’re here, we’re proud that you’re going to our schools,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “We want you to go on to UCONN, we want you to start up a family here, and that’s why we’re all here today.”

Among those who joined Lamont were Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, Attorney General William Tong and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, emphasizing that city, state and congressional leaders stand in opposition to the Trump administration’s impending raids.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents are expected to target some 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported but have stayed in the country illegally. The operation is set to begin Sunday in at least 10 cities across the country, including New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. There were no Connecticut cities on the list as of Friday.

Claudia Connor, the president and CEO of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, said that although no Connecticut cities are listed for Sunday’s raid, the operation nonetheless “ratchets up the level of fear among our clients, to a very, very high degree. Families, individuals are afraid that if they are deported, that their children who are American citizens will be left behind.”

Dr. Takang Besong, the head pastor of Kings Class Family Chapel Worldwide, moved to Connecticut from Cameroon in September 2016. Speaking on behalf of immigrants and refugees across the state, Besong said members of these vulnerable communities are afraid they’ll be forced to return to their home countries after they’ve built lives and families here in Connecticut.

“It’s a painful life to live,” Besong said, “always sleeping with uncertainty, sleeping with fear.”

Noting that the Attorney General’s Office employs 200 lawyers, Tong pledged to work with community partners like CIRI dand provide legal assistance, when possible, to protect residents’ civil rights, should the need arise.

“We are ready to do everything we can to protect and defend Connecticut’s families,” Tong said.

Last legislative session, lawmakers tightened a law that restricts law enforcement and court officials from cooperating with ICE. Tong reiterated that Lamont will give guidance to state officials, agencies and police about their obligations to follow the so-called Trust Act, and remind them “not to be co-opted by the federal government. The state’s stricter Trust Act does not take effect until Oct. 1, however, so any new protections it offers will not be in place for these raids.

“State and local law enforcement need to do their jobs, not the jobs of the federal government,” Tong said.

“This policy can be summarized in two words: fear and cruelty,” said Blumenthal, adding that he has proposed legislation  that would protect immigrants from being arrested by immigration authorities when they are in “sensitive locations” like schools, hospitals and places of worship.

“I challenge the United States to protect those locations from these massive sweeps and arrests, so that fear and cruelty will not be on us, they will not be on our watch, they will not be our responsibility.”

Bysiewicz encouraged those anxious about the upcoming deportations to reference the state’s Family Preparedness Plan, a resource for immigrant families that is available in nine languages.

The impending mass deportations are part of a broader effort by the president to intimidate minority communities, Bysiewicz said. “From ICE raids, to separating families at the border, locking children in cages and weaponizing the Census, the Trump administration has created a climate of fear across our country in immigrant communities and communities of color, here in Connecticut.”

13 comments

Al Bore July 13, 2019 at 7:35 am

What measures are in place to welcome illegal immigrants into the Greenwich, Westport, Weston, and Wilton school system and what low income housing are they providing these illegals. Can any leaders of government tell me that? The answer is none they make sure it can’t happen because they fight hard not to comply with the state mandated low income housing keeping it out of there towns then they march in support of law breaking illegal entry to our country. It legal vs illegal immigration you follow the law, you go through the process then you become a legal citizen of the USA, common sense even a politician should be able to understand. Our government leaders are a bunch of empty shirts supporting breaking the law.

Bryan Meek July 13, 2019 at 8:25 am

Al, if they really cared there would be the commensurate financial supports in place required to provide and education and services. Instead Lamont and Malloy before him gave it to their union supporters who control this state. Big time cuts at the local levels are imminent. The state is broke. The financial calamity we face will have to be confessed to in the annual report next month. The accounting gimmicks showing a surplus right now will be proven to be smoke and mirrors. If you did this in the private sector you could be imprisoned. In state government you get a raise and lifetime job security.

Jon J. Velez July 13, 2019 at 9:11 am

3 undocumented individuals in NORWALK have gone into the auto/towing industry because MALLOY allowed undox’ to obtain driver’s licenses. Guarantee not one individual are claiming federal tax, Ct sales tax which is a law for towing companies & hold the proper insurances to service. Thank you to the DEMOCRAT’S for having my sales decrease due to illegal activity from the undocumented worker!

Itsjustme July 13, 2019 at 9:28 am

I need to move to a red or at least purple state. As speaker Pelosi aptly pointed out, a glass of water with a D party affiliation wins in CT. The ire of many citizens is being provoked over this issue yet, to stand up and voice a different option or set of facts will have one met with cries of racism. How are all these illegals beneficial to our legal citizens who are barely getting by? Where are our politicians on supporting this group of people?

Piberman July 13, 2019 at 10:46 am

Democrat Gov. Lamont is giving us a history lesson. Laws we don’t like don’t have to be obeyed. One wonders why Gov. Lamont doesn’t focus on supporting American citizens in need, e.g. Veterans, homeless, single children families, residents of CT’s major cities depressed for decades and decades.

Sadly Gov. Lamont was elected to rejuvenate CT’s economy. So far with stagnant employment these past 6 months the Democrat “tax and spend” policies are having their usual effect on our decade long stagnant economy.

If these 6 months are any guide we can expect an even larger Exodus from CT under Gov. Lamont.
Those familiar with college freshman economics will understand our future. Not the one we were promised.

Meanwhile, Westport, is giving CT a finance lesson with no tax change for 5 years. Anyone in our City Hall paying attention ?

John Levin July 13, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Maybe federal legislation addressing comprehensive immigration reform is needed? Republicans had a chance to do that during their 2-year window controlling both Congress and the presidency. They chose to do one thing: cut taxes on corporations and increase all spending. I hope we get a chance to see what democrats might choose to do about it after 2020.

Kay C. Deech July 13, 2019 at 5:00 pm

What the Trump administration has done to divide this country is unforgivable- but when one sees some very prominent leaders including our AG you can’t help but wonder what’s the incentive for anyone of us to follow the law?

George July 13, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Would it not make more sense for all who support the illegals to go to their country to help fix the problems there? Seems they have more than enough time on thier hands. Oh, and the illegals are not “undocumented”. They have papers from where they were born.

Tysen Canevari July 13, 2019 at 10:14 pm

Hey Governor I have to pay CT taxes and full price for my son to go to UConn. Its appaling that you publicly state you want illegal immigrants to go to UCONN!!! By the way, you offer them financial aid to go. Guess what i get for working to support a family of 6? Nada!!! No financial aid. In case you dont know Spanish Mr Governor that means NOTHING in English. Blumenthal fought in Vietnam so that is why he is sympathetic to illegals! HAHA #Joke

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