By Bill Parry
Originally published by the Times Ledger on October 21, 2016
City Councilman Danny Dromm joins First Lady Chirlane McCray at a Thrive NYC event at Diversity Plaza Wednesday. The City Council passed two of his bills that will help serve the LGBT and minority communities better.
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By Will Bredderman
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito addresses the crowd as Councilman Daniel Dromm and State Senator Jose Peralta look on (Photo: Will Bredderman).
Dozens of Hispanic New Yorkers, many still dressed in work clothes, packed into the Jackson Heights, Queens headquarters of activist group Make the Road New York this evening to watch President Barack Obama’s announcement of his executive order for immigration reform on a single flatscreen TV.
Before the president spoke, a succession of local speakers and elected officials addressed the crowd in Spanish, repeatedly using the phrase “noche histórico”–”historic night”–to describe to the occasion: the declaration of Mr. Obama’s plan to allow some four million undocumented immigrants who have resided in the United States for five years to register to avoid deportation and work legally in the country, permitted they have no criminal record. Chants like “Obama, eschucha: estamos en la lucha,” and “sí, se puede”–”Obama, listen: we are in the fight,” and “yes, we can”–broke out several times among the audience.
Local Councilman Daniel Dromm was the first elected official to arrive, and spoke to the crowd in Spanish. He praised the president’s action on the issue over the resistance of the Republican-controlled Congress, but said that it was necessary to provide full amnesty to all of the foreign nationals living in the country.
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“Limiting ICE’s access to detainees at Riker’s Island is a very important step in the right direction toward protecting our immigrant communities,” said City Council Education Committee Chair and Bills Co-Sponsor Daniel Dromm. “ICE’s practices in the past may be unconstitutional and only served to divide families. ICE’s actions made our communities less safe by increasing suspicion about cooperation with law enforcement agencies. I thank the Mayor, the Speaker, my colleagues and the many advocates who worked hard to improve the lives of our immigrant neighbors by passing this legislation. Our national immigration policy is broken. We have a moral obligation to act on the local level to save our families and friends from deportation.”