Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake—a top organizer in President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign—looked to assure African immigrants that Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim registry plan will be met with widespread backlash and ultimately collapse.
On the campaign trail, Trump has said he will ban Middle Eastern immigration to the United States and that he would require Muslims to register themselves. He was heard discussing a network that would register and track Muslims throughout the country in a November 2015 video.
“I think it would be very difficult for him to go down that road,” Blake said on a community conference call on what a Trump presidency means for the African community. “I think he would probably lose the community for generations for the party and I think they will rationally try to walk him back from that.”
Trump’s spokesman, Jason Miller, has denied that such a plan is or ever was being considered.
Blake asserted the best strategy that Muslims can employ is to collect anecdotes of the impact such an action will have on communities, saying that there’s “really no way for us to effectively prepare otherwise.”
“To the question of the registry, look, I think it is hard for us to actually have a strategy to convey to the African community of exactly what will president-elect do,” Blake said. “I think, again, I think the approach being one of being as proactive as possible.”
And the plans for a Muslim registry are not the only unknown in the Trump era, according to Blake—he says the future of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is unclear.
“We know the president-elect has conveyed that some parts will stay, some parts may not,” Blake said. “We don’t know what that will be. It’s important for everyone to know that you can continue to enroll in the Affordable Care Act now.”
Ditto for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive order shielding people who arrived in United States illegally as children from deportation—an initiative that covers nearly 800,000 youth, including 50,000 in New York, and which Trump has promised to repeal.
“[I don’t know] if any of us know what DACA looks like moving forward,” he said. “It would be very difficult for us to ascertain what a Trump [administration] would do.”
Blake stressed the importance of having a Democratic State Senate to ensure protection for immigrants, speaking about the need for the passage of the DREAM Act, which would grant state tuition assistance to undocumented students. He said that the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus was convened yesterday and that there is unanimous support to move forward and to be very active and clear.
“We’re hopeful that the bills that we move forward will get this done,” Blake said.
The lawmaker commended Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the positions they have taken in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, insisting that the city and the state remain committed to protecting all residents but also indicating that they may be able to find common ground with Trump on some issues. And like the mayor, he said that he will fight against Trump’s pledge to institute more aggressive stop-and-frisk policing throughout the country as a federal policy.
The assemblyman himself filed a complaint against the NYPD in August after he said he was slammed into a gate by a police officer.
“Be very mindful of the rhetoric of stop and frisk as a national policy,” Blake said. “We say absolutely that we are in opposition of that being a national policy.”
The assemblyman said during the call organized by the African Leadership Project—who included residents, advocates and community leaders—that they should interact with elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.