(Jersey City, NJ) – Following President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to halt the admittance of refugees and suspend immigration from seven countries to the United States, including green card holders, Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoman Rozic, and Senators Weinberg and Gordon announced bi-state legislation in the States of New York and New Jersey to prohibit the Port Authority, which administers both New York and New Jersey’s airports, from utilizing any of its resources in support of the Executive Order’s enforcement.
“President Trump’s executive order is as un-American as it gets and it falls upon each of us to take any measures at our disposal to resist by any legal means,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, whose own parents came to the U.S. from Greece. “The State of New York should not spend one penny in support of this unconstitutional federal effort and I will fight to make sure we don’t.”
“We cannot allow Port Authority resources to be used to enforce this president’s ill-advised, unconstitutional and discriminatory policy,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “We are committed to doing all we can as legislators to protect our residents, and those who come to this great nation seeking refuge and a better life for themselves and their families. Our bill will prohibit the agency from supporting the federal effort.”
“We consider President Trump’s executive order to be unconstitutional, illegal and immoral – an affront to the principles upon which our nation was founded – to the principles that made, and continue to make, America great. The Statue of Liberty, with Emma Lazarus’ invitation to the refugees ‘yearning to breathe free,’ literally stands at the very center of the Port Authority region, and it would be unconscionable for the Port Authority to in any way participate in a heinous policy that arbitrarily discriminates against refugees based upon their religion or their nation of origin,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We look forward to the swift passage of this legislation in both New Jersey and New York, and to its enactment into law.”
“We are sending a message today that the entryways to our states, our cities and our communities will not serve as checkpoints for religious tests,” said New Jersey Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson). “We will not allow the agencies that serve New Jersey and New York to be used to advance discrimination. I am pleased to support this effort and to help make sure that those who call America and this area home have a voice and feel safe.”
“Across the nation the people have rallied and made it loud and clear that they are fundamentally opposed to the President’s executive order. We as legislators must push back against divisive actions that are a flawed representation of America’s core values,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows). “On the local level, New York and New Jersey are poised to stand up against hate and ensure that state resources will not be used to carry out misguided orders to turn away those seeking refuge.”
The legislation would prohibit the Port Authority from supporting the federal effort in any way, including through supporting personnel, the use of airport facilities under its control or the provision of electricity and climate control in areas of the airport being used for the detentions.
Senator Gianaris introduced legislation Monday that would apply only to New York facilities. Assemblywoman Rozic carries the bill in the State Assembly. The new bi-state legislation would apply to both states.
Last month, Senator Gianaris introduced legislation to add immigration status to the list of protected classes in New York’s human rights and civil rights laws, which would make it illegal to discriminate against immigrants.