By Elise Adams
On Wednesday morning New York City council members joined together at City Hall and called for federal action to support Syrian refugees and people who are displaced by the earthquake in Ecuador. They urged the Obama Administration to help these vulnerable groups by allowing more refugees into the United States.
The Committee on Immigration proposed two resolutions that afternoon. The first, resolution 1105, calls on the President and the State Department to fulfill its promise resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of fiscal year 2016 and to increase this number to 65,000 by the end of fiscal year 2017. Resolution 1103 calls on the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate Ecuador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to provide temporary immigration relief to eligible Ecuadorian nationals in the wake of a devastating earthquake.
Resolution 1105 was introduced in response to the five-year civil war in Syria, which has taken an estimated 250,000 lives and has caused more than 11 million people to flee their homes. “In a political climate increasingly hostile to immigrants, we must stand up for the rights and dignity of all people—especially the most vulnerable in our global community,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, co-prime sponsor on Resolution 1105.
An April earthquake in Ecuador killed 660 people, injured more than 16,000, and displaced upwards of 28,000 individuals. The country is struggling to recover and the Ecuador government requested the U.S. government to grant TPS for undocumented Ecuadorans who cannot return home due to the devastation. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues Councilmembers Menchaca and Levin to ask the Department of Homeland Security to grant them TPS. New York City has always and will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees – from Ecuador to Syria – with open arms,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
The council members were joined by members of displaced communities to deliver their messages outside of City Hall.