During a press brief in Puerto Rico Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) compared the current administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration to Islamic Jihad.
“They are on a Jihad to deport as many people as they can who they believe are not in the United States legally,” Cuomo said.
“This administration is on a crusade against people who they do not consider original Americans, which is specious and hypocritical at best [because] unless you’re a member of a Native American tribe, then you’re really an immigrant to the United States.”
Cuomo said the Trump administration is deporting individuals based on their past criminal history.
“One of the rationales they use is people who have committed crimes in the past, even if they have no criminal activity, even if they are now leading productive lives.”
Cuomo also told reporters that his administration is committed to “doing everything we can to frustrate their efforts” when it comes to deportations.
On Tuesday, the Muslim Democratic Club of New York’s board secretary, Sadaf Mehdi issued a statement requesting an apology from Cuomo for his misuse of the word jihad.
“Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is rooted in white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia. Governor Cuomo’s comparison of it to a ‘jihad’ only perpetuates the Islamophobic trope that acts of violence are somehow a Muslim invention,” the statement said.
In order to aid them in avoiding deportation, Cuomo pardoned seven people on Monday who held minor criminal convictions.
“At a time when President Trump and the Federal government are waging a war on our immigrant communities, New York stands firm in our belief that our diversity is our greatest strength,” a statement by the governor read.
“While President Trump engages in policies that rip children out of the arms of their mothers and tries to ramp up the deportation of New Yorkers to advance his political agenda of hate and division, we will protect our immigrant communities.”
“With the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, New York will always stand against the hate coming out of Washington and instead serve as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all,” he concluded.
However, in remarks on July 6 at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters, Vice President Mike Pence said “The truth is, the statistics really don’t tell the tale, but they’re worth repeating.”
“In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 4,818 gang arrests, including — they took from the streets — 796 members of the MS-13 gangs. And our communities are safer as a result.”
“There were nearly 33,000 arrests by ICE personnel — criminal arrests, individuals who came into this country illegally and then pursued crime against our people,” Pence continued.
“And most touchingly to me, as a father, ICE agents rescued 518 human trafficking victims, and 904 children subject to child exploitation were rescued by ICE agents all across America. We are enforcing our laws and protecting the most vulnerable.”
Pence hit back at critics who want to abolish ICE, calling the campaign “outrageous” and “irresponsible.”
“Abolishing ICE would mean more illegal immigration, people being able to come into our country. Last year, ICE actually removed 226,000 illegal immigrants from our communities and our country. Abolishing ICE would mean more violent crime.”
“The truth is that the arrests that were made by ICE represented an 83 percent increase from the last full year over of a previous administration. That is real progress that’s making a difference for the safety and security of our families and our communities,” he concluded.