The xenophobia and hatred spewing from Trump’s White House these past four years has had real world consequences, from an increase in hate crimes and attacks on immigrant families, to ICE agents setting up shop at our Courthouses, to families heartlessly torn apart. We may have gotten rid of Trump, but we need to do more here in New York to affirm our City’s legacy as a place that is welcoming for all immigrants. We must continually provide new arrivals and longer-term non-citizens with the opportunities to help our city state and nation thrive while fulfilling their own hopes to achieve the American dream. Rafael Salamanca believes that we need to help students who are English Language Learners get the resources they need to succeed and bring immigrants out of the shadows so they can live their lives and contribute to our communities without fear. Our diversity is our strength, but we must be committed to fostering and celebrating it.
Like the nation itself, immigrants are the people who made the Bronx the borough that it is. During an era of historic disinvestment, immigrant-led community-based organizations stepped up to fill the void of government funding, creating community havens, parks, housing, schools and medical facilities. In the City Council, Salamanca has consistently supported pro-immigration measures that protect New York City’s status as a safe city for people of all backgrounds. One of the strongest supporters of the CUNY Citizenship Now! program, Salamanca has provided work space in his district office for CUNY lawyers to provide immigration services to Bronxites. Salamanca’s steadfast support of the program has led to his office being the most visited office among those council offices who participate in the program.
When the Trump administration launched an effort to remove immigrants from being counted in the U.S. Census, Salamanca spoke out against the blatant attempts to punish diverse communities like his own. Jumping into action, Salamanca partnered with NYC Census 2020 teams on numerous occasions to raise awareness and promote the importance of filling out the census, resulting in countless Bronx families being tallied in the latest count. Furthermore, Salamanca has strongly advocated for closing the language barriers that impact so many Bronxites. Whether it was pushing for more interpreters at polling places, ensuring students and their families have the proper school resources, or hosting tenant resource fairs so that immigrant tenants know their rights, Salamanca firmly believes the only way to have a more equitable city is to ensure no one is disadvantaged because of the language they speak. Furthermore, Salamanca unwaveringly funds a vast number of community-based organizations who provide essential services to immigrants. As the federal government has turned its back on immigrants, Salamanca understands it’s the organizations he funds who people trust and rely on to receive services ranging from medical care, to education, to workforce development.
Salamanca's Plan to Support Immigrants in the Bronx
Immigrants are vital parts of our community and as the Trump years have taught us, local government is critical to protecting immigrants from bigoted policies at all levels of government. Rafael is committed to standing up to bigotry to ensure the Bronx is welcoming to all:
• Ensure materials produced by the City Council are available in all languages spoken by significant numbers of district residents
• Work to expand access to citizenship classes and pathways to documentation
• Partner with Legal Aid Society to host free “Know Your Rights” seminars so all members of our community know their rights, regardless of their status.
• Work with community partners to ensure children of undocumented parents are able to access the technology they need for remote learning.
• Continue practice of dedicating office space for meetings with CUNY lawyers and immigrants seeking legal counsel.