New York State gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon appealed to members of Brentwood’s Hispanic community Sunday, calling for the state to offer stronger protection and better opportunities for immigrants.
“We’re at a terrible moment in our country’s history because of [President] Donald Trump, and because of the villainization of so many groups, immigrants, women, LGBT people, Muslims,” Nixon told members of the media at the voter meet-and-greet event.
“If we had a really progressive governor, we could do a much better job of not only combating the Trump agenda, but offering protections and supports for our people here in New York State, from single-payer health care to fully funding education, to making housing affordable, to becoming a leader in renewable energy.”
Nixon, an actress who is challenging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, met with about 50 Latino community members at a backyard cookout hosted by Make the Road Action, the political arm of the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York.
“While we appreciate Cynthia Nixon’s newfound concern for New York’s immigrant community, Governor Cuomo was standing up and fighting for immigrants across this state when Ms. Nixon was practicing her lines and sipping cosmos,” Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in an emailed statement. “Fiction might be her genre, but the facts show that Governor Cuomo led the nation with his immigration reforms, including establishing a first-in-the-nation legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation, suing to stop ICE’s abusive tactics, and fighting the administration on their inhumane family separation policy.”
Nixon Sunday made a number of campaign promises, including pledging to increase education funding and make it more equitable — an issue she has championed in the past.
The majority of her speech revolved around immigration issues, as the national dialogue on that issue continues to intensify with the Trump administration clamping down on those who entered the country illegally.
The immigrant community needs help, Nixon said, “not just with rhetoric, but with real policy.”
She called for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “ICE was created ostensibly to make the United States safer from terrorists, from people coming in that wanted to do harm, but they have strayed so far from that mission,” Nixon said.
If elected, Nixon said she would sign an executive order expanding access to drivers licenses to all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status. She also said she would push for the passage of the New York State Liberty Act, which would make New York a “sanctuary” state, prohibiting law enforcement from questining, investigating or arresting a person based on perceived immigration status. The bill also would prohibit the detention of individuals based on administratively issued immigration detainers.
Nixon further called for the passage of the DREAM Act in New York State, which would extend state tuition assistance to undocumented students. Cuomo has backed the passage of the DREAM Act, but it has for years failed to make it through the Republican-led state Senate.
Nixon spoke with members of the media about Trump’s visit to the Island in late May during which he put a spotlight on brutal acts of violence attributed to the MS-13 gang, and promoted his immigration reform agenda.
While Nixon agreed that the gang issue needs to be addressed, she stressed the need to support youth in the community.
“We need to really invest in their education, invest in jobs, invest in a whole host of supports that will ensure them that they know that they have a bright future, rather than just constantly loading up with law enforcement and more and more cops in schools and metal detectors,” she said.