Rashed Mian

1254 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: rmian@longislandpress.com. Twitter: rashedmian

Does Schumer Have What It Takes to Challenge Trump? These LIers Hope So

Almost a hundred outspoken opponents of President Donald Trump demonstrated outside Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Melville office Thursday, urging the U.S. Senate Minority Leader to hold Trump accountable for his controversial polices and conservative cabinet nominations that have already sparked large-scale protests across the country.

Schumer has drawn both criticism and praise for his handling of Trump’s cabinet picks since he’s taken on the role as the de-facto leader of the Democratic opposition in Congress. New York’s senior Senator has voted for a handful of Trump’s nominees and has vowed to oppose eight others, including Trump’s beleaguered Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican mega donor.

“We want to make sure that Chuck Schumer stands with New Yorkers, stands for our environment, stands with our students, stands with New York values, and stands up to Trump,” said Blanca Villanueva of Brentwood, representing the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

The crowd outside Schumer’s Melville office along Pinelawn Road roared when drivers honked, as speakers rebuked Trump and chanted under a cloudy sky. Demonstrators here were far more optimistic about Schumer’s ability to spearhead the anti-Trump movement than those gathered outside his Brooklyn apartment earlier this week who shouted, “What the fuck, Chuck?!?” while holding signs that read “Show some spine, Schumer.”

The hot topics ranged from environmental causes to immigration and the potential for Trump to escalate tensions abroad.

“The election of Donald Trump has been horrific. There’s so many issues that we have to bring out—especially the environment,” said John Moore, 67, of Farmingdale. “And the important point is, right now, Republicans and Democrats are not saying anything about the environment.”

Moore was on the same page as 51-year-old Donna McCarthy of East Meadow.

“What’s going on with the DPL pipeline is unacceptable,” McCarthy said, referring to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which Trump intends to revive, after President Obama had stopped its construction because it threatened the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation’s drinking water. “It’s an indication of this administration’s stance on the environment and it’s very distressing.”

McCarthy, like many Americans, has paid close attention to Trump’s frenetic first two weeks in office in which he signed executive orders on immigration, the Affordable Care Act and halting Syrian refugee resettlement.

“It’s all troubling. It’s not what this country stands for. It’s not what it was built on,” McCarthy said. “We should be celebrating diversity and not clumping people together as we’ve done so many times throughout history.”

For 71-year-old Martin Lilly of Long Beach, the father of two sons in the military, he’s worried about the country’s being drawn into another conflict.

“I never thought we would go nuclear, but with this guy I’m not convinced that he wouldn’t unleash some bombs,” Lilly said. “It might sound silly to say that.”

Chuck Schumer
Demonstrators rallied outside U.S. Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Melville office Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, calling on him to stand up to President Trump. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

Protesters on Thursday want Schumer to block as many of Trump’s proposals as he can. But the senator’s record has been wishy-washy.

To the consternation of some progressive groups, Schumer has joined about a dozen other Senate Democrats to support the nomination of Trump’s new CIA Director, Mike Pompeo. The Republican Congressman from Kansas has called torturers “patriots” and has not ruled out using torture—illegal under international law—on detainees. He also said the US should revive the National Security Agency’s program of bulk collection of metadata, which was shuttered as a result of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures.

Schumer has been vocally opposed to some of Trump’s cabinet nominees, saying he would “vote against nominees who will be the very worst of this anti-immigrant, anti-middle-class, billionaires’ club cabinet.”

On Thursday, some demonstrators said they’d judge Schumer on his actions, acknowledging that they were willing to give him a chance.

“I’m 71, I’ve been watching politics all these years, and I like Schumer,” said Lilly of Long Beach. “I think he’s a politician, but he knows how to pick his fights, and I think he’s on his way to doing that, and I would encourage him to do what he can as the leader to change minds where he can and certainly try to impact the way things are going in Congress. I think Congress has a unique capability right now, even though Schumer is in the minority, to make what I call the ‘rigorous right’ own what they’re doing.”

“I think a lot of people like Schumer are doing what they can,” said McCarthy, adding that it’s important for voters to frequently contact their representatives to have their voice heard on most major issues. That’s what she’s been doing.

Crystal Woods of Medford, another member of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, called on Schumer to serve as a barrier between Trump and policies she considers most troubling.

“You’re in office right now because people voted for you. It’s not so hard. Protect your people!” Woods said.

Asked whom she supported during the presidential election, Woods sighed wistfully: Bernie Sanders. When it was suggested that perhaps Sanders’s perspective might influence the minority leader, she said, “That would be really nice.”

“Everybody has their own beliefs and their own policies, and you can’t push anything on anyone,” she added. “But if you can have them have an ‘aha’ moment, then you know you’ve done your job. And that’s what we’re asking for—for him to have an ‘aha’ moment.”

Helping her anchor the yellow banner proclaiming Long Island Progressive Coalition’s name was Villanueva, who reminded Schumer—and his colleagues—that voters have a long memory.

“Elected officials work for us,” she said. “We are the ones that elect them and we are the ones that can replace them as well. Our elected officials are supposed to represent us and represent what’s best for us, and this is why we’re standing in front of Chuck Schumer’s office and saying: Stand up against Trump and stand up for climate and all the other issues we care about.”

Leslie Aiuto of Great Neck offered a more pragmatic view about the senator’s stance.

“I think we don’t have much choice in the matter,” she said. “I think he’s listening. I think he’s growing a pair, as it were, so hopefully he can lead the fight. He’s in the best position to.”

Sam, a PhD student at Stony Brook University who didn’t want to give his last name, said he was participating in his third demonstration in four days. He said his housemate is marrying an Iranian man whose parents will now be prohibited from flying in for their wedding because of Trump’s travel ban. He was inspired on Sunday to protest the president’s refugee and immigration restrictions. Following a march in Manhattan that began at Battery Park, Sam offered rides to strangers he met in the protest. He ended up driving to JFK Airport with three Muslim women who were in the US on student visas and protesting there too.

“This is totally beyond the pale of what is acceptable in a democratic, open society,” he said, “and we’ve got to stand up to it now before it gets worse.”

The Stony Brook graduate student hopes elected Democrats will demonstrate as much conviction as the people who poured into the nation’s airports last weekend to protest Trump’s ban.

“Trying to compromise, trying to save their firepower for later, trying to save their credibility with the Republicans, whatever that means, it’s just not going to work at this point,” Sam observed. “If they try to resist, as we’ve seen in just the past day…the Republicans will change the rules. I think the Republicans are really going for full one-party power at this point. Just trying to compromise with them is not going to get us anywhere.”

Sam had an ultimatum for Sen. Schumer.

“My message to him would be we, your constituents, are counting on you to represent us, to stand up for us,” he said. “And if you can’t manage to do that, if you can’t stand up now, of all times, then we’re going to leave you behind, and you can expect a challenger in the primary.”

Schumer won’t be up for reelection until 2022.

(Featured photo: Chuck Schumer/Facebook)

Do This: Long Island Concerts & Events February 2 – 8

Sebastian Maniscalco
Comedic warlord Sebastian Maniscalco will be cracking up audiences at The Paramount during a 10-gig residency through Feb. 7! (Photo: Sebastian Maniscalco official Facebook profile)

Peter Hook
Legendary Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook will be signing copies of his new book Substance: Inside New Order. Head down there and ask him about his time in both groups, his collaboration with the late, great Ian Curtis, and where the hell he got that melodic, high-noted style from! Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 7 p.m. Feb. 2.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Rotating music collective Postmodern Jukebox is known for reworking popular music into vintage music forms, most notably swing and jazz. With weekly YouTube videos covering songs from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry, mostly filmed in arranger/pianist founder Scott Bradlee’s Queens basement, the group has featured 70 different talented performers and performed on four continents. Here is that special chance to catch them up close and personal. Not to be missed. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com  $39.50-$99.50. 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

Daddy Long Legs Blues Band
New York firebrand blues band Daddy Long Legs has whipped up a lot of fervor since 2010 with its albums Evil Eye On You and Blood From A Stone. Fusing Robert Johnson-esque darkness with raw punk rock, the band presents a thrilling joyride, with guttural yells from main figure Brian Hurd accompanied by riffs from Murak Akturk and Keith Richards (no, not that Keith Richards but no slouch, either). Must-see. Treme Blues and Jazz Club, 553 Main St., Islip. tremeislip.com $10. 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

Sebastian Maniscalco
Italian-American actor, writer and stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is best known for his comedy specials What’s Wrong with People?, Aren’t You Embarrassed? and Why Would You Do That? Maniscalco has also appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He was one of five comics chosen to be in Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show. He’ll be doing a run of 10 shows launching his Why Would You Do That? Tour. Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $69.75-$250. Feb. 2-7.

The Last Waltz 40 Tour: The 40th Anniversary Of The Last Waltz
Muddy Waters’ longtime music director Bob Margolin, longtime The Radiators singer/guitarist Dave Malone, Dumpstaphunk jamband leader Ivan Neville, the trombone backing of Mark Mullins and Levee Horns fame join forces for “A Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz.” In addition to the newly announced performers, the first leg of the national tour will feature the great Warren Haynes, Michael McDonald, Jamey Johnson, John Medeski, Don Was and Terence Higgins. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd.,Westbury.  venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com  $69.50-$99.50. 8 p.m. Feb. 3.

The Bollywood Musical Revue
Taj Express explodes with the sounds of India and Bollywood, using film, dance and music to capture the vibrant, expressive spirit of the world of Bollywood movies that have been entertaining millions of people in India and elsewhere for generations. Besides all the extraordinary music, there will be free Bollywood-style belly-dancing lessons beginning at 6:30 in the venue’s Goldsmith Atrium for ticket holders, sponsored by Inner Spirit Yoga Center. Shake it, don’t break it! Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville. tillescenter.org $30-$65. 8 p.m. Feb. 3.

The Human Condition
That’s the existential title of the juried exhibit of powerful photos now on display at the Huntington Arts Council‘s Main Street Gallery. The show features the work of some 34 photographers. It runs through Feb. 25. You can meet the artists at the opening reception, enjoy some libations and get an eye full of the world we live in. Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington. Free. 6-8 p.m. Feb. 3.

The Lox
New York hip hop group The Lox consists of rappers Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss, who are known for platinum album Money, Power, and Respect as well as being featuring in JLo’s “Jenny from the Block,” Mariah Carey’s “Honey” and “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa.” With the albums Wu Block, a collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan, The Trinity and Filthy America…It’s Beautiful, the trio has spread their success through world tours and the creation of their own label, D-Block Records. Definitely a gig for the books! The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $40-$50. 11 p.m. Feb. 3.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with these traditional Chinese celebrations for the recently celebrated Lunar New Year. Start off with Chinese food and crafts. Then catch the New York Chinese Chorus sing Chinese folk music and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company showcase “The Art of Chinese Dance.” Be prepared to be absolutely mesmerized! Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main St., Port Washington. landmarkonmainstreet.org Free. 11 am. Feb. 4.

Twinkle Tames A Dragon, The Musical
From Katharine Holabird, the author of the classic book series Angelina Ballerina, comes a brand new show for all those who love fairies, friendship, dragons and fun! Twinkle has always wanted a pet, and she is thrilled when her Fairy Godmother finally grants her wish. Her friends got cute little pets, but receiving a naughty pet dragon named Scruffy is not what Twinkle had in mind! Can Twinkle tame her dragon in time for Fairy Pet Day? That is the question. This production is recommended for children ages 2-8 and their families. Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (AUPAC), Concert Hall, 1 South Ave., Garden City. aupac.adelphi.edu $20. 2 p.m. Feb. 4.

Under African Skies
Presented by East End Arts and Peconic Landing, “Under African Skies” is a documentary film chronicling Paul Simon’s emotional return to South Africa to face the music, so to speak, first set in motion long ago by his Grammy-award winning album, Graceland, released in 1986. To record with South African musicians like the Boyoyo Boys, Ladysmith Black Mumbazo, guitarist Phiri and bassist Bakithi Kumalo meant Simon ostensibly broke the UN cultural boycott intended to hasten the end of the racist apartheid system. He ended up unleashing a political backlash that reverberated loudly, almost drowning out the beautiful sounds of Graceland. On hand for this special screening will be Kumalo, who played bass on the recording and appeared in the documentary. He’ll answer questions and share his memories of an historic cross-cultural collaboration. It promises to be a very entertaining evening on the North Fork. Peconic Landing, 1500 Brecknock Rd., Greenport. 631-477-3800. Free. 4-7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Kerry Kearney
This Long Island blues legend, New York Blues Hall of Famer and slide-guitar master works his six-string to its virtuosic limits, creating sounds that amaze even the most seasoned musician or jaded music fan. His music features wailing upbeat styles of blues, guitar riffs and infectious rhythms–everything you need to get up out your seats and movin’ and shakin’ to the insane sonic licks. This 20th-anniversary performance special features a pre-show Q&A interview with Kerry. Not to be missed! YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main St., Bay Shore. boultoncenter.org $15-$20. 7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Judy Gold
Comic, actor, writer, host and self-described “Big Mouth” Judy Gold has written and starred in two critically acclaimed off-Broadway shows, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother and My Life as a Sitcom, as well as appeared on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Inside Amy Schumer, The View, The Today Show and The Wendy Williams Show. With two Emmy Awards, a popular podcast called Kill Me Now, and an edgy wit, sharp timing and infamous crowd work, Gold is popular throughout New York City and active in the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. Get ready to laugh, uncontrollably. The Brokerage Comedy Club, 2797 Merrick Rd., Bellmore. brokerage.govs.com $25. 7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Half Step
Established in 2004, Long Island Grateful Dead tribute band Half Step has studied the Dead’s music endlessly in order to create a truly authentic fan experience. Mimicking the traditional show format with sets of tunes in sequence played by the Dead years ago, the group uses similar instruments, effects and amplifiers to mimic the Dead’s live sound. So while Jerry may only be there in spirit, his soul lives on through this extraordinary band! “China Cat Sunflower,” indeed! The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $20-$35. 8 p.m. Feb. 4

Ricky Nelson Remembered
This multi-media entertainment event features live renditions of Ricky Nelson’s hits, including “Hello, Mary Lou,” “Garden Party” and “Travelin’ Man,” played by his twin sons Matthew and Gunnar, and accompanied by never-before-seen footage of the Nelson Family. The Nelsons are also in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only family in history with three generations of No. 1 Billboard hitmakers, because Matthew and Gunnar’s band Nelson has hit the spot for their self-penned hit “Can’t Live Without Your Love and Affection.” NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury.  venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $35-$99.50. 8 p.m. Feb. 4.

Winterfest
A celebration of the coldest season is fun inside historic Hempstead House, where the fireplaces roar, and the mansion is filled with exciting family activities. A special demonstration, winter-themed crafts, and reading room, and a snowy “I Spy” scene will make the frosty season enjoyable for all. Bach to Rock will perform throughout the afternoon, Dolphin Books will have a pop-up shop, and Serendipi-Tea will serve an assortment of teas. Winterfest is also an opportunity to find out more about two after-school programs: My Style Camp and Book Blossoms. Sands Point Preserve, Hempstead House, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point. sandspointpreserveconservancy.org $10-$20. 1 p.m. Feb. 5.

Ernie “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison
Ernie Morrison became the first African-American performer to be signed to a Hollywood studio contract at the ripe old age of 7! After supporting roles in features starring Baby Marie Osborne, Hal Roach signed him and he began working with leading comedians like Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard. In 1922, Roach created the Our Gang (aka Little Rascals) series with “Sunshine Sammy” as the leader. Morrison made 28 films in the series, and his roles were rarely, if ever, stereotypes. This program will include clips from Harold Lloyd comedies Morrison appeared in, as well as the Our Gang silent films Firefighters, The Champeen and Dogs of War. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $11-$16. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

Year By The Sea
After 30 years as a wife and a mother, an empty-nester retreats to Cape Cod rather than follow her relocated husband to Kansas. Supported by her literary agent and a host of locals, including a sexy fisherman, our liberated heroine learns to embrace the ebb and flow of life—ultimately discovering the balance between self and sacrifice, obligation and desire. A Q&A with writer/director/composer Alexander Janko follows the screening. Soundview Cinemas, 7 Soundview Marketplace, Port Washington. goldcoastfilmfestival.org $15-$20. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
This is the first film to be made about the incomparable Maya Angelou. It gives a touching and moving tribute to her legacy as a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer who inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American poetry, prose and performance that pushed boundaries. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon. This is one evening you most definitely do not want to miss! Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org  $11-$16. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

Chris Edwards
Retired FDNY Firefighter and author Chris Edwards will be signing copies of his new memoir Coming Through The Flames. What is it like to run through a burning building searching through the thick smoke and searing flames for the source of someone screaming ever so faintly? What’s the most dangerous call he’s ever responded to? How heavy is all that body gear, anyway?! Head on down and ask Edwards all the things you’ve always wanted to know about this honorable and heroic profession. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 7 p.m. Feb. 8.

DNCE
Funk pop/dance rock band DNCE, known for the infectious single “Cake By the Ocean” and their disco-funk hit style, had a cameo in Grease: Live and appearances in Selena Gomez’s Revival Tour. With lead singer Joe Jonas’s star power, the band has shown they are shooting for more than just one Billboard hit with the release of their debut album DNCE in November 2016. Opening the show is The Skins. Get ready to be floored! Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com$25-$40. 8 p.m. Feb. 8.

Featured Art: Comedic warlord Sebastian Maniscalco will be cracking up audiences at The Paramount during a 10-gig residency through Feb. 7! (Photo: Sebastian Maniscalco official Facebook profile)

-Compiled by Ellie Schoeffel, Timothy Bolger & Zachary B. Tirana III

New York Joins Other States Challenging Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’

Muslim Ban lawsuit

Count New York among the states challenging President Donald Trump’s “un-American” immigration ban.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said his office has joined a lawsuit originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations that are taking a stand against Trump’s executive actions restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.

“As I’ve made clear: President Trump’s executive action is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“I will continue to do everything in my power to not just fight this executive order, but to protect the families caught in the chaos sown by President Trump’s hasty and irresponsible implementation,” Schneiderman continued. He noted that his office would press upon the federal Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to release a complete list of travelers currently detained.

Trump’s executive actions have unleashed a torrent of lawsuits across the country. Washington state was the first to bring a suit against the White House, followed by Virginia and Massachusetts. Also suing Trump is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which on Monday filed a complaint in federal court in Virginia stating the order fulfills Trump’s “longstanding promise and boasted intent to enact a federal policy that overtly discriminates against Muslims and officially broadcasts a message that the federal government disfavors the religion of Islam, preferring all other religions instead.”

The measures signed by Trump on Friday temporarily halt refugee resettlement in the United States, ban Syrian refugees, and suspend immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Not impacted by the ban are religious minorities who live in the listed countries, most notably, Christians. The White House has argued that the restrictions are not a ban and don’t target Muslims, although when he was campaigning for president, Trump did indeed propose a sweeping ban of all non-citizen Muslims trying to enter the US.

Trump’s stringent immigration orders, which many Muslim advocacy groups view as Trump’s proposed Muslim ban taking shape, have represented a flashpoint for his days-old administration. Protesters have descended upon airports across the country and taken to the streets in the nation’s capital to demonstrate against the measures—which also impacted green card holders legally residing in the United States.

Criticism of Trump has come from far and wide.

Adding to the chorus on Wednesday was a group of United Nations human rights experts who, in a collective rebuke, expressed concern about the global risks posed by the ban.

“Such an order is clearly discriminatory based on one’s nationality and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants in a statement.

“The US recent policy on immigration also risks people being returned, without proper individual assessments and asylum procedures, to places where they risk being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” the statement continued.

Muslim Americans have expressed fear of increased Islamophobia here as a result of the immigration ban as they mourn the loss of six of their faithful in a terror attack by a right-wing student fanatic at a mosque in Quebec City last weekend. Canadian officials have reported an upswing in hate crimes following the fateful incident.

“His policies are threatening who we are as Americans,” CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said at a press conference on Monday, referring to Trump. “Those refugees who are fleeing war, persecution and violence; they need us the most.”

The lawsuits still have to wend their way through the judicial system. The ACLU, however, scored a victory for immigrants Saturday evening when a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a temporary injunction preventing travelers arriving at JFK from being deported.

Is There Room For Dissent Within The Trump Administration?

dissent channel

The White House’s press secretary this week hinted at a hostile atmosphere toward diplomats and government workers who disagree with the new administration’s policies—a point punctuated late Monday with the firing of the country’s top law enforcement officer.

Foreign Service workers and diplomats were put on notice Monday when President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, criticized the leak of a dissent memo critical of the administration’s travel ban.

The draft memo states that the temporary refugee ban and suspension of visas from seven Muslim-majority nations would only serve to alienate those countries, make America less safe, and is anathema to American values. The memo, which currently has 1,000 signatures, is still being circulated through the state department and hasn’t officially been sent to the aptly named “Dissent Channel”—the official conduit for Foreign Service employees and diplomats to voice opposing opinions on governmental policies.

Warning that the executive order signed by Trump last week would increase anti-American sentiment, the memo states: “Instead of building bridges to these societies through formal outreach and exchanges and through informal people-to-people contact, we send the message that we consider all nationals of these countries to be an unacceptable security risk.”

When asked about the release of the memo, Spicer said there’s no room for dissenting opinions.

“These career bureaucrats have a problem with it?” Spicer said. “I think they should either get with the program or they can go.”

The blunt remark could be seen as an attack on those with contrasting viewpoints, a former U.S. State Department official said.

“I think there is an implicit threat in that statement and, unfortunately, it seems like the latest example of…a series of attacks that this new administration has made against career professionals, against experts,” Jon Finer, former chief adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, told NPR.

The White House has forcefully defended its travel ban amid protests and legal challenges across the country. Trump’s move on Friday to block refugees and temporarily halt immigration from those nations set off a firestorm of criticism and sparked a fresh wave of protests at airports across the country.

After a weekend marked by chaos at airports, where border officers were sometimes caught flatfooted and green card holders legally residing in the United States were detained or prohibited from flying to the United States, acting US Attorney General Sally Yates issued a letter to the Justice Department in defiance of Trump’s executive order.

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” she wrote.

By Monday evening she was fired, and a new acting attorney general was sworn in.

Yates’ dismissal opened the administration to scrutiny after CNN circulated a video of Trump’s attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) grilling Yates during her confirmation hearing two years ago about her role in defending the Constitution.

“You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things and you need to say no,” Sessions said. “If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?”

“Senator, I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” Yates responded. That conviction proved to be her downfall.

Spicer’s rebuke of the draft of the dissent memo and Yates’ firing came at a particularly sensitive time for the administration as it defends its controversial immigration actions.

The memo’s assessment, although incomplete, does present a worldview at odds with the current administration’s goals. However, it doesn’t shy away form offering alternative policies, including a “continuous vetting program” scrutinizing all visa holders as opposed to “specific nationalities.”

“We do not need to place a blanket ban that keeps 220 million people—men, women, and children—from entering the United States to protect our homeland. We do not need to alienate entire societies to stay safe,” the memo states. “And we do not need to sacrifice our reputation as a nation which is open and welcoming to protect our families. It is well within our reach to create a visa process which is more secure, which reflects our American values, and which would make the Department proud.”

The criticism of Foreign Service workers and diplomats using the dissent channel to express differing opinions is perhaps the most shocking because the channel is intended to be a virtual pipeline for dissenting opinions.

“Recognizing that our members are thoughtful professionals who may find themselves in honest disagreement with a policy matter or may want to share an alternative point of view, AFSA [American Foreign Service Association] encourages Foreign Service employees to utilize the Dissent Channel in expressing constructive dissent,” the office’s website states.

The Dissent Channel is managed by the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff, which is mandated to distribute the content to State Department officials.

The agency’s policy guidelines “clearly mandates that those utilizing the Dissent Channel will not be subjected to reprisal, discipline action or unauthorized disclosure of its use,” according to the Dissent Channel’s website.

The Dissent Channel was established after the Vietnam War to improve the circulation of various opinions regarding serious policy matters.

The most recent high-profile use of the Dissent Channel was last June, when 51 State Department employees urged former President Barack Obama to order strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in his final months in office. In response, then-Secretary of State John Kerry met with some of the dissenters to hear their grievances. Like the memo critical of Trump’s immigration actions, it was also leaked.

Still, Kerry’s visit with the State Department employees is not to suggest the administration was not annoyed by the leak. Vice President Joe Biden rushed to defend the administration’s Syrian policy, saying he supported the channels by which diplomats can express contrasting viewpoints.

“But there is not a single, solitary recommendation that I saw that has a single, solitary answer attached to it—how to do what they’re talking about,” he told CBS Morning.

The channel is said to be used infrequently, and only in the most serious of cases. That such a memo was being disseminated so early in Trump’s tenure likely rubbed the White House the wrong way.

The Women’s March on Washington and sporadic protests against many of Trump’s policies—including his immigration ban—indicates a new level of public dissent in America—one that already seems to be spreading from the streets to the halls of Washington and diplomatic circles abroad.

And this White House is only 12 days old. Stay tuned.

Vindictive Sands Point Cardiologist Sentenced in Murder-for-hire Plot

Sands Point

A 56-year-old Sands Point cardiologist who was the mastermind behind a brazen arson and murder-for-hire plot targeting a rival doctor was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

A Nassau County Supreme Court judge also ordered the cardiologist, Anthony Moschetto, to five years of post-release supervision. His medical license will be suspended and many of his illegal weapons—including some eccentric medieval-style daggers—will be destroyed. The judge issued a more lenient sentence than the 12 years prosecutors had recommended.

Moschetto’s sentencing came three months after he pleaded guilty to various charges, including conspiracy, arson, and one related to the sale of prescription drugs.

“This defendant was once a respected doctor, but he destroyed that legacy with his incredibly dangerous behavior and desire to murder a rival,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. “Our county is much safer with this defendant behind bars.”

A multi-agency investigation into Moschetto began in December 2014 with the first of six undercover drug purchases from him that resulted in the sale of more than 400 oxycodone pills and 198 bags of heroin.

It was during the course of that investigation, which included the Drug Enforcement Administration, that undercover officers linked Moschetto and two men he hired to an office fire in Great Neck earlier that year. The target of the blaze was a fellow doctor and former business partner who grew estranged from Moschetto following a professional dispute. Moschetto was also seen on video soliciting an undercover officer to murder the doctor. No one was injured in the fire.

At the time of his arrest, authorities said Moschetto was prepared to pay the officer posing as a hit man $5,000 to badly injure the rival doctor and $20,000 to have him killed. Blank prescriptions and guns were also offered as payment, authorities said.

Authorities also revealed that Moschetto went back and forth about whether to have the doctor injured or killed. During one conversation he insinuated that the victim’s wife should be assaulted if she were present during the encounter.

When authorities executed a search warrant at his Sands Point home in April 2015, they found a cache of weapons, including many that were discovered behind a switch-activated bookcase revealing a hidden room in the basement. Stored inside the secret room were ornate daggers and swords and brass knuckles resembling “X-Men” character Wolverine’s blades.

In court, Moschetto admitted to providing money for the arson and assault as well as owning illegal weapons.

During his sentencing Tuesday, the judge issued orders of protections for the two targets.

Joe Saladino Appointed Oyster Bay Town Supervisor

Joe Saladino
Assemblyman Joe Saladino was sworn in as Oyster Bay Town Supervisor on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa) was appointed Tuesday as the new Town of Oyster Bay supervisor to replace his longtime predecessor who resigned this month after being arrested on federal corruption charges.

The board voted 5-0 with one abstention during a special board meeting to give Saladino the job ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto had held for two decades before he stepped down to focus on his defense.

“I will work to gain the faith and trust of our residents, by providing transparency and improving efficiency, as well as looking to provide affordability and fiscal integrity,” Saladino said. “We will make Town government live within its means, while continuing to deliver top notch municipal services, the kind of services Town of Oyster Bay residents have come to expect.” 

Venditto resigned Jan. 4. after he pleaded not guilty in October to an alleged kickback scheme. Venditto held out for more than two months before relinquishing his seat.

Saladino has served as assemblyman for the southeastern corner of Nassau County and southwestern corner of Suffolk County since 2004.

The veteran assemblyman takes the reins of a town that has been beset by fiscal woes and whose former supervisor became the focus of a federal corruption probe that extended to the county seat.

Venditto, along with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife, Linda, was charged in an alleged bribery scheme. Authorities alleged that Mangano and Venditto conspired to back loans and award contracts to a businessman in exchange for kickbacks. Linda allegedly received a $450,000 no-show job. Ed and Linda also pleaded not guilty.

On the morning of their arrest, a handful of Republican New York State Senators called on both Mangano and Venditto to resign. Mangano steadfastly refused, while Venditto was more ambiguous about his intentions until Venditto released a statement announcing his resignation earlier this month.

The turmoil in Oyster Bay is not exclusive to Venditto’s corruption probe. The former supervisor was at the helm when Moody’s Investors Service last year withdrew its credit rating for failing to provide a previous year’s audited financial statement. Last week, Moody’s assigned a Baa3 rating to the town’s $29.45 million in general obligation bonds, citing the town’s “weak fund balance and cash position following years of structural imbalance, a sizeable and diverse tax base, and an average debt burden with elevated fixed costs.”

It now falls on Saladino to pick up the pieces. 

Trump Travel Ban & Quebec Mosque Attack Has Long Island Muslims On Edge

 

 

President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order targeting refugees and citizens of Muslim-majority nations overshadowed what was already a frenzied first week for the new administration, sparking mass airport demonstrations, heart-pounding moments for separated families, and hurried court interventions.

Capping what was a fusillade of executive actions, Trump, with the stroke of his pen, temporarily banned most refugees from entering the United States and suspended immigration of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations—in what civil rights groups have deemed Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” taking shape. The restrictions halted travel for citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—all majority Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa.

The order inflamed what appears to be a new era of discontent in America—one defined by near-daily mass protests. It also caused confusion at airports across the country. Dozens of travelers had been denied entry into the United States for a range of factors, which included green card holders who legally reside in the country.

There were reports of border officers defying federal court orders halting the deportation of travelers who had entered the country shortly after the executive actions were signed. Among those held for hours after landing was an American passport holder who was reportedly asked: “Do you love your country?”

Attorneys descended on the nation’s airports to intervene on behalf of stranded travelers, turning waiting areas into makeshift law offices. On Monday, there were reports of lawyers being removed from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“This is a new era of unprecedented events,” said Sister Sanaa Nadim, Stony Brook University’s Muslim chaplain. Wherever Americans fall on the issue of immigration, Nadim’s statement appeared to accurately sum up a weekend of resistance—both by demonstrators and the new Trump administration’s unapologetic show of force at America’s borders.

Further unsettling Muslims was an attack on a mosque in Quebec City in Canada that left six people dead Sunday night that is being investigating as a terrorist attack against Muslims. A man in police custody has been sympathetic to far-right causes, according to reports in the Canadian press. Late Monday it was announced the suspect had been charged with six counts of first-degree murder.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in reaction to the massacre, said the country stands by the Mulsim community: “We will defend you. We will love you. We will stand with you.”

The shooting prompted police in New York City and Long Island to increase patrols near mosques.

The travel bans also brought former President Barack Obama back to the fore. In his first statement since leaving office on Jan. 20, Obama said he was “heartened” by the weekend’s demonstrations.

On Long Island, Muslim Americans are tense.

“We’ve never been through anything like this,” said Nadim. “We’ve been through wars…but the country was never divided on the principles of our forefathers. It’s a different world… My heart is felt for all the good people that come to this country to contribute, to flourish, to participate in this great democracy of ours.”

Among those impacted by the new immigration measures was Vahideh Rasekhi, president of SBU’s Graduate Student Organization, who was detained at JFK airport after returning from visitinghis family in Iran on Saturday. The linguistics student was released Sunday afternoon, but not after fellow students and friends rushed to her support.

The university released a statement advising students from any of the impacted countries not to travel unless “absolutely necessary.”

“Even after the 90-day period is complete, we are not sure how the visa or port of entry requirements may change, and we are urging caution,” the university said.

Others living on Long Island may also be reconsidering their travel plans, Muslim leaders said.

Imam Muhammad Abdul Jabbar of Masjid Darul Quran in Bay Shore said at least three congregants who traveled to India and Pakistan—countries that are not on the list—are nervous about what to expect upon their return to the United States.

“They were asking us to keep them in prayers, that they can go safely and come safely,” Jabbar told the Press.

Trump is so unconventional that some LI residents are worried that their home countries will be added to the list while they’re away.

“They don’t want to take any risks,” he said.

 

 

Despite what some Muslims saw as an attack on their religion, many were heartened by the show of support from people of all backgrounds.

One family who is active at Masjid Hamza Islamic Center of South Shore Valley Stream was so inspired by the demonstrations that they delivered about 40 pizza pies to feed protesters at JFK Saturday.

“I think a lot of the policies that our president is now bringing about are not necessarily there just for our safety but have something that’s much more greater than that,” said one member of the family, who asked that he not be named. “I really feel by proposing and having all these executive orders, that he’s really sacrificing the sense of humanity for a false sense of security.”

Habeeb Ahmed, president-elect of the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, said he received a deluge of emails from religious leaders across the Island who have pledged support, including a Rabbi from Port Washington, who inquired about joining the ICLI’s worshippers for Friday prayers.

“Strangers are coming to you and saying that they were with you,” added Ahmed.

Community outreach and signs of solidarity cannot alleviate all the pain some are feeling, however. The slayings at the mosque in Quebec City by a gunman whose motives remain unclear ignited fears of copycat attacks.

Imam Jabbar said his mosque has a new security guard and alarm system, but acknowledged that such measures may not be enough.

“I think it’s horrific,” said the Valley Stream mosque leader. “It just goes to show you that, you know, the idea of terrorism, it affects all of us. In this case the Muslims were the victims of terrorists…Sometimes it’s an unfortunate thing but here in the West the terminology of terrorism has become synonymous with Muslims…Terrorism affects all.”

In the days to come, local mosque officials say they’re going to provide the community with information about the travel restrictions and how it may impact them. Long Island’s Muslim population is diverse, including families from the blacklisted countries.

“It’s all so new and all just so fluid that the community right now really doesn’t know what to think or how to react or how it’s exactly going to effect them,” said the Valley Stream mosque leader. “It’s kind of somewhat chaotic.”

“You have many foreign students, many people who feel unsettled,” added Nadim of Stony Brook University. “No one really knows what tomorrow brings. And you have some of the most brilliant people who come in and want to participate in our research, and we also need their contributions. And instead of thinking about how to contribute to things that help our country progress, and in many different scientific fields or medical fields, they are worried about if they can get in or if their families can come visit them or if they can go and visit home.

“It’s new grounds that have never been walked on before,” Nadim observed.

How California Cops & Idaho Crisis Center Helped Save Suicidal Woman on Long Island

Alameda County Sheriff's Office dispatchers who helped save suicidal woman in Rockville Centre. (Photo credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

A remarkable cross-country intervention from Idaho to the Bay Area of California and finally to Long Island allowed police to save a woman streaming her suicide attempt on Facebook Live from a car in Rockville Centre earlier this week, authorities said.

The surreal rescue began with a phone call from an Idaho crisis center on Wednesday morning to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in California, saying they had spoken to a woman on the phone and via Facebook who revealed she wanted to end her life.

Dispatchers with the sheriff’s office immediately found the woman’s Facebook live stream and observed her activity as they tracked her cell phone, Sgt. J.D. Nelson told the Press.

The sheriff’s office “pinged” the woman’s cell phone to a street in Rockville Centre, and then passed off that information to Rockville Centre Village police. When police arrived they found the woman unconscious inside her car outside St. Agnes Cathedral.

In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said they were able to narrow the search to the specific street in which the woman’s car was located and used Google maps to identify the nearest building.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Nelson said, adding that the woman had been cutting herself live on Facebook.

The woman was not identified and her current condition is unknown. According to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the woman moved from China to Idaho and then eventually to California. Why she was on Long Island was still unclear. A Rockville Centre police spokesman was not available for comment.

“Due to the hard work and determination of the ACSO dispatchers, this woman was located across the country and her life was saved,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “She will be getting the help she needs.”

Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban an ‘Overreaction,’ Says Extremism Expert

Of the nearly four-dozen Muslim Americans involved in terror plots in 2016, only nine had familial ties to the seven countries listed in President Donald Trump’s purported Muslim immigration ban and none successfully carried out attacks, a new study on violent extremism released Thursday revealed.

Researchers with the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University also discovered that the 46 cases involving Muslim Americans marked a 40-percent drop from 2015, though the number of investigations remained higher than the annual average since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Among the study’s additional findings: of the nearly 46 cases, 23 were associated with plots directed at targets in the United States, 17 of the individuals were monitored by law enforcement before turning violent and the number of Americans killed by Muslim extremists rose to 123 since 9/11. During that same period, 240,000 people died on American soil.

“This is a dramatic and misdirected overreaction to a relatively small-scale problem,” Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of the study wrote in Huffington Post.

While Trump said Friday that his new immigration measures were necessary to “ensure we aren’t admitting into our country the very threats that our men and women are fighting overseas,” the study found that descendants from the very nations included in his immigration ban have not caused a single death on American soil since 9/11.

More aggressive policies directed at Muslim immigrants was a core piece of then-candidate Trump’s appeal to Americans during last year’s acrimonious presidential campaign. As Trump espoused populist rhetoric, he often keyed in on Muslims by calling for a ban on all non-US Muslims entering the country. Under pressure from members of his own party, Trump backtracked and proposed a scaled down policy that he described as “extreme vetting” of immigrants from predominantly Muslim nations.

Now in office, Trump will be signing an executive order effectively closing off America’s border to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee resettlement, except for religious minorities, such as Christians. Muslim advocacy groups condemned Trump’s reported Muslim immigration ban and were troubled by his prioritizing of one religious group over another.

“This is happening because of xenophobia and Islamophobia, this is not happening because of national security reasons,” Abed Ayoub, national legal and policy director for the Washington, D.C. based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), told the Press.

Muslim Americans make up less than one percent of the entire US population but are often the targets of controversial law enforcement tactics. In the past, mosques have been under surveillance by undercover officers and informants and Muslim student groups and Muslim-owned business have been scrutinized despite no evidence of wrongdoing.

As the study noted, Muslim American extremists have been responsible for 123 of the nearly a quarter of a million who have been killed in the US since 9/11—accounting for less than one percent of all slayings that occurred. Last year alone, 188 Americans were killed in mass shootings that did not involve Muslim extremists.

Still, the issue of extremism focused heavily on the Muslim community last summer after Omar Mateen, who spent part of his childhood in Westbury, murdered 49 partygoers inside an Orlando nightclub. The horrific slaying was the largest mass shooting by a lone gunman in US history and caused the most deaths of any terror attack since 9/11. Months later, Ahmad Khan Rahami planted an explosive that injured 31 people in the New York City neighborhood of Chelsea; luckily, no one died.

One common thread throughout the study was the influence of the so-called Islamic State. Many of the plots disrupted by law enforcement last year “appear to have been inspired at least in part by the ideology of” ISIS, the study said. Similarly, 65 Americans who law enforcement identified as having traveled overseas attempted or did join the Nursa Front, a former al Qaeda affiliate, or ISIS.

As for those with connections to the seven nations impacted by Trump’s immigration ban, the study found that only nine of the 46 Muslim extremists identified in 2016 had such ties, as did less than a quarter overall since 9/11. Those countries include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The study also found that immigrants were not significantly more predisposed to violent extremism than those born in the US. In fact, converts accounted for the highest percentage (35) of Muslim-American extremism cases since 9/11 as opposed to 24-percenet of Muslim-born immigrants or the nearly 18-percent born in the US.

The findings indicated that “it is not accurate to suggest that Muslim-American violent extremists have a distinct demographic profile,” the study said, noting that similar conclusions have been made by law enforcement.

Reports of Trump’s Hard-Line Immigration Actions Prompt Condemnation

Russia spy ship

Call it what it is: a Muslim ban.

That was the response from Muslim American advocacy groups disturbed by President Donald Trump’s plan to stall refugee resettlement in the United States and suspend visa access to immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations, including Syria and Iraq.

“We see it as a Muslim ban,” Abed Ayoub, national legal and policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), told the Press. “Effectively they’re circumventing calling it a Muslim ban by just listing the countries.

“This is what he promised during his campaign, and this is the direction they’re going,” he added.

Trump is expected to announce this week new executive orders restricting immigration. The directive, according to Reuters, would force a temporary ban on “some refugees” and curb visas for nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—all majority Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa.

The president’s executive order would satisfy, to some extent, one of his most controversial campaign promises: banning people from Muslim countries from entering the United States.

During the rancorous presidential primaries, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Democrats vociferously attacked the proposal as intolerant, unfair and un-American. Even some top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, spoke out against it. Trump later softened his stance on Middle East immigration, pivoting to what he called “extreme vetting” of those seeking entry into the country.

The new administration had also been considering reinstating a widely criticized and dormant immigration tracking system that the Department of Homeland Security ended in 2011 after officials determined it to be redundant and ineffective. The program had not led to one terror investigation, but did cause the deportation of thousands from Muslim nations. In his final weeks in office, President Barack Obama dismantled the legal framework for the program, effectively killing it.

Although Trump and his fellow Republicans have been outspoken about Obama’s relatively modest resettlement of Syrian refugees here (13,210 as of Nov. 1, 2016), humanitarian groups have said the United States maintains the most arduous program of any nation, including multi-layered screenings from various law enforcement agencies.

The reaction to Trump’s plan to stall Muslim refugees and suspend visas was swift.

“This sends a message that the current administration sees the Muslim community and their faith as a threat to America’s national security,” Rabiah Ahmed, director of media and public affairs for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told the Press. “It criminalizes our faith by having a ban on immigration policies by targeting Muslim majority countries.”

Trump’s new policies reportedly would not impact religious minorities from the listed countries. Ahmed called that exception “code language for anybody but Muslims.”

“The facts show that communities that are impacted the most, that are victims of ISIS, are Muslims themselves,” she added, referring to the so-called Islamic State currently fighting to hold onto its territory in Syria and Iraq. “But facts don’t seem to matter much with this current administration. It’s a world view that they have, and they construct it as they see it.”

ADC’s Ayoub said advocacy groups such as his have been preparing for harsh immigration actions since Trump was elected.

“This is what we expected, unfortunately,” he said. “This is a long-term fight. This is not an administration that is going to bow down to pressure or change their mind overnight. So it’s going to take aggressive advocacy and aggressive legal work to address these issues. We’re in it for the long haul.”

Besides exploring legal action, ADC is engaged in conversation with a coalition of civil rights groups to better explain how Trump’s executive actions could impact all immigrants in the United States. Besides targeting Muslims, the president said Wednesday that he signed an executive action leading to the “immediate” construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico, which was a big crowd-pleaser at his campaign rallies.

“We’re in the middle of a crisis on the southern border,” Trump said during an appearance at the Department of Homeland Security. “A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.”

Trump’s executive actions would also end “catch and release” at the border and impose a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration measures. He also promised to bolster the ranks within DHS by the thousands.

An announcement about his plans for travel and refugee bans from Muslim nations could reportedly come on Thursday.

While Trump’s supporters are likely to cheer his immigration actions, the majority of the country opposes the construction of a wall (63 percent) and a ban on Muslim immigration (68 percent), according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

“This is not only an attack on Arabs and Muslims. It’s an attack on all immigrants,” Ayoub said. “And we need to work together and tell them: No ban, no wall, and do what we can to prevent these actions from taking place.”

Albert Cahn, director of strategic litigation for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the organization is currently evaluating “a range of legal responses” to the expected immigration actions.

“We believe that the proposed orders are being driven primarily out of bigotry and discrimination, not out of any evidence-based approach to making the country safer,” Cahn told the Press. “The anticipated restriction on travel from individuals in several Middle Eastern countries will not do anything to improve the safety of this country and will reinforce the worst forms of anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination.”

In response, CAIR-NY plans to hold a rally at Washington Square Park Wednesday night to oppose the expected actions on curtailing entry for citizens from Muslim nations and to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants, Cahn said.

Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a non-profit group based in Brooklyn that supports Latino immigrants, also questioned Trump’s actions.

“As we hear about Donald Trump’s plans to attack immigrant communities, we reject Trump’s xenophobia and his efforts to vilify immigrant families,” said Valdés in a statement. “We know from decades of experience that efforts to invest more money in rogue enforcement agencies that delight in causing human suffering and depriving people of their Constitutional rights will be a grave and costly mistake. We have one message for the President: We are here to stay, and we will stand firm in our effort to keep families together.”

hofstra transfer day today
hofstra transfer day today