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Murphy, Police Chief Reassure Fearful Immigrants At Stamford Meeting

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy speaks to immigrants and immigrant supporters Thursday afternoon in Stamford.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy speaks to immigrants and immigrant supporters Thursday afternoon in Stamford. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. — After Donald Trump was elected president, an undocumented immigrant in Stamford said that her 7-year-old American-born son turned to her and asked whether it meant she would be returned to her Central American homeland.

"The day that the president was elected he asked: 'Why was he picked? He's a bad man, he's going to send you back,' " the woman said through an interpreter at a Thursday meeting in Stamford. "That made her cry and every time she remembers it, she cries."

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, attended a meeting held by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., at the immigrant resource center Building One Community at 75 Selleck St. He was joined by prominent Democrat elected officials at the local, state and national level who all reassured those in attendance that they will do everything they can to protect immigrants. 

U.S. Rep Jim Himes (D-4th District), state Reps. William Tong and Dan Fox, and Stamford Mayor David Martin attended as did  Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau.

The fear of families being broken up as the Trump administration moves to crack down on illegal immigration and the move to prevent refugees from seven Muslim countries from coming to the country has caused tremendous concern for those groups.

Murphy brought assurances to his audience that he and others would do what they can to help immigrants.

"We are going to do everything possible within our power and under the law to protect you from harm," he said. 

While he said Trump has tremendous power, that power has its limits and can be curbed by the courts. He also said Trump doesn't have authority over state and local law enforcement agencies.

Fontneau also assured the audience, which included two families from Syria, that Stamford Police enforce the law but will not be asking people when they are stopped about their immigration status.

Martin said the city doesn't work for Trump or for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Instead, he said the city wants to have a good relationship with all communities.

"We are not going to ask for your national origin. We are not going to ask you about your immigration papers, none of that stuff," he said. "We are here to protect you."

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