Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a warning to President-elect Donald Trump in an address given at Cooper Union this morning: if he goes forward with his plan to establish a Muslim registry, the city will take legal action to fight it.
Speaking with an assemblage of faith leaders seated behind him, de Blasio sought to reassure the hundreds of people in attendance Trump’s proposal to require Muslims to file their personal information with the federal government won’t go through without a stiff court fight. De Blasio expressed similar sentiments to the incoming commander-in-chief during a private meeting last week.
“We don’t consent to hatred and we will fight anything we see as undermining our values,” de Blasio said, the crowd clapping and cheering loudly as he spoke. “And here’s my promise to you as your mayor: we will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people. If all Muslims are required to register, we will take legal action to block it.”
He also sought to dispel fears of New Yorkers who have applied for the city’s municipal identification program, which is open to undocumented immigrants. He urged people lacking formal paper work to keep applying, because the city won’t hand over their records to Trump’s planned deportation force.
At his second press conference on the election results two days after the election, de Blasio told reporters in City Hall’s Blue Room that Trump would be in for “a real fight” if he tried to access the IDNYC files across the political aisle.
“Anyone who does not yet have an IDNYC, it’s time to sign up for one,” de Blasio said. “And we will never turn over the paperwork to the federal government.”
And those aren’t the only measures the city will resist, de Blasio vowed. He pledged the city will ensure women get the healthcare and family planning assistance if there are cuts to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and will provide any undocumented New Yorkers with lawyers to protect them and their families if the federal government attempts to round them up and remove them.
“We ain’t changing,” de Blasio said, saying that the city is the greatest in the world and should lead by example. “We are always New York. Somos siempre Nueva York.”
He also said the city won’t comply with the Justice Department if it orders local police to resume the stop-and-frisk policy, that the NYPD will arrest and prosecute anyone who attacks or victimizes Jews, Muslims, sexual minorities and any other vulnerable communities. He added that New Yorkers should immediately sign up for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Trump has threatened to repeal.
And though he acknowledged that the city is committed to addressing the economic anxieties Americans feel, the mayor reiterated that his former boss Hillary Clinton won the popular vote—a sign that Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail didn’t resonate with the majority of Americans.
“As of this morning, Hillary is winning the popular vote by 1.5 million people and that is important to recognize because it reminds us that this has just begun,” de Blasio said. “That there is not a mandate in this election for division or for undercutting opportunity.”
Public Advocate Letitia James—who rolled out a legislative, policy and legal agenda to protect fundamental rights yesterday—told the Observer as she was leaving the venue that de Blasio’s speech helped to unify New Yorkers “without a doubt.” She said her office “will join with him” in his effort to block Trump’s Muslim registry plan.
“We need to stand strong,” James said. “We need to work with the administration when necessary but at the same time whenever they attempt to disrespect our rights, we need to stand up and fight back and that was the message here today.”
Comptroller Scott Stringer told reporters outside Cooper Union following the speech that his office is currently analyzing the fiscal impact of Trump’s programs on the city, saying that he will be able to roll out the results in one or two weeks.
And when a reporter asked him about City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s analysis of how much Trump’s immigration policies would cost the city, he said his office is looking at all the reports but does its own research. He added that his office has the advantage of “having some good fiscal data” and noted that budget season is coming up soon.
“I think we’ll be able to do some pretty good data snapshots about what’s at stake both in terms of what’s going to happen in Washington, how that will trickle down on the state and then how that can affect New York City,” Stringer said. “But we are definitely on it. It’s something that we are already doing work [on], I just can’t tell you what our findings are ‘cause a lot of this is still on charter orders.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.