The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #6
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Responds to President Trump’s First Address to Congress
Congressman Serrano released the following statement in response to President Trump’s first address to Congress on Tuesday this week:
“President Trump tried to sell us a vision that we all know will lead us nowhere.
“In his first address to Congress President Trump spoke of more of the same, the same empty promises and misguided approaches to our economy, our government, and our people. His speech attempted to sow more fear, and blame the most vulnerable people in our country for problems they did nothing to create. Here in Congress many of us, from both sides of the aisle, remain opposed to his ideas, particularly as they pertain to our budget and the investment of our resources. We will be steadfast in our resistance to many of these initiatives in Congress.”
Congressman Serrano on Implementation Memo and Details of President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order
Last week, Congressman Serrano responded to the immigration enforcement implementation memos released by the Trump Administration:
“The implementation memos released by the Trump Administration allows it to enact a mass deportation and detention agenda and essentially undoes decades of guidance to protect vulnerable populations while keeping our country safe.
“It takes away the whole system of prioritization in immigration enforcement- every non-citizen immigrant is at risk of deportation now- documented or undocumented. Unlike President Obama’s prioritization efforts, which sought to primarily go after criminal aliens, this memo includes anyone who is undocumented or who is a legal permanent resident with a decades old minor violation. There is no priority in the process and no one is exempted from potential deportation.
“The rules also potentially widely increases the use of expedited removal- which basically allows the removal of an individual without an immigration court hearing. This policy was previously restricted only to areas near the border and for individuals who have been in the country less than two weeks. These memos plan to apply the policy to the whole country and remove length of time limitations. This means that anyone can be deported, separated from their family immediately, without due process. These efforts are unconstitutional.
“These rules not only lack common sense, they have serious implications for public safety and federal spending. Going after immigrants aggressively and indiscriminately will create more fear in immigrant communities and push individuals into the shadows. These enforcement efforts will also undermine public safety in communities with large numbers of immigrants, many of whom will be too scared to report crimes or cooperate with local law enforcement.
“It is also going to be very expensive to implement this expansion of deportation services, which require the hiring of at least 10,000 additional immigration agents. President Trump has failed to provide a clear and sensible answer on how he intends to pay for building the wall and implementing his Executive Orders on immigration- he seems intent on wasting resources that we should be investing elsewhere as a nation. As a member of the Appropriations committee and Dean of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I will object and obstruct the allocation of any funding for the implementation of a misguided set of policies that fail to address the fundamental problems in our immigration system."
Congressman Serrano Calls for Resignation of AG Sessions Investigation of Trump-Russia Connections
Yesterday, Congressman Serrano joined Leader Pelosi and other colleagues in Congress in calling for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
“Attorney General Sessions has lost all credibility before the American people and it is clear he is not fit to serve as the country’s top law enforcement officer,” said Serrano. “Not only did he lie under oath about communicating with Russian officials in 2016, but his ties make him incapable of being a trustworthy, non-partisan authority in any oversight investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. Jeff Sessions’ ties to Russia must now also be investigated. We need an independent entity to scrutinize and get to the bottom of Trump’s and his acolytes’ connections to Russia.”
Congressman Serrano also cosponsored Representative Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry to investigate the Trump/Russia connection and possible violations of the law.
Serrano Hears Bipartisan Testimony From Lawmakers Supporting Programs Endangered by Trump
On Tuesday, Congressman José E. Serrano, the Ranking Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, responded to testimony from Members of Congress in support of a number of programs contained in the CJS bill:
“I want to thank the Members who testified in front of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee today. They demonstrated the importance of the many programs that we fund in this subcommittee. In particular, I want to point out the bipartisan commitment to a number of programs rumored to be endangered under the Trump Administration- including funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the COPS program, and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).”
“Given the news yesterday that Donald Trump will propose dramatically slashing domestic spending, there is no doubt that important priorities are in danger. We will likely hear more about President Trump’s radical and destructive views tonight. However, at today's hearing, we heard a powerful rebuttal of his harmful plan to essentially gut spending in important social and economic programs to primarily boost our defense. Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike support programs that invest in our future, ensure public safety, and protect vulnerable populations."
Last month, press reports indicated a number of programs under the CJS subcommittee would be proposed for elimination under Trump's budget.
Congressman Serrano Re-Introduces Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act
On Tuesday, Congressman José E. Serrano reintroduced the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act of 2017. Originally introduced in the 109th Congress, the bill seeks to change administrative cost provisions within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to increase its financial capacity to assist underserved communities facing hunger insecurity.
“There is no reason why any child or individual should go hungry in a country like ours, where resources are plentiful and tons of food go to waste every year. The Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act seeks to promote the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resources, and to allow food pantries, soup kitchens, and other charitable feeding programs to expand their services and to provide more meals in communities that face food insecurity- like the Bronx. Every household should have access to basic necessities, including nutritious food, regardless of their economic background. These changes will help achieve that goal,” said Congressman Serrano.
This legislation would:
• Establish the Beyond the Soup Kitchen Grant Program to provide funds to community-based and faith-based charitable feeding organizations to expand their grassroots anti-hunger activities. These activities include providing nutrition education and helping individuals enroll in federal food assistance programs.
• Expand the number of hours supplemental nutrition assistance offices are open and reduce wait times at SNAP offices.
• Remove burdensome and duplicative requirements that deter eligible Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients from applying.
In the Bronx
Serrano and Espaillat Host Dominican Heritage Month Celebration in the Bronx
Last week, Congressman José E. Serrano and Congressman Adriano Espaillat hosted a Dominican Heritage Month Celebration in the Bronx with local community groups and advocates. The event honored Dominican individuals that have been leaders in the Bronx and New York City. This year’s honorees included the Sussie Lozada, Political Director of UNITE Here Local 100; Eddie Cuesta, National Executive Director of Dominicanos USA; Jaime Vargas, Former Ambassador of the Dominican Republic; and Dr. Hugo Morales, Psychiatrist and Civic Leader.
“The annual Dominican Heritage Month celebration is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the countless contributions that Dominicans have made to our country, city, and borough. The Bronx has been home to countless Dominicans who come here every day and make our borough better than it already is. This is why it is so important for us to host an event and recognize the work and invaluable contributions of the individuals who are making history every day.
“This year, we had the great honor of recognizing Sussie Lozada, Eddie Cuesta, Jaime Vargas, and Dr. Hugo Morales, all of whom have made great contributions to our borough and our city. Each of these individuals’ achievements and desire to give back stand out and serve as an example for others to follow. Their commitment to making the Bronx a better place to live for everyone is something we should be thankful for,” said Congressman Serrano.
Serranos Host Annual Black History Month Celebration in the Bronx
On Monday, Congressman José E. Serrano and NY State Senator José M. Serrano hosted their annual Black History Month Celebration in the Bronx with local community groups and advocates. The event honors individuals that have been advocates and community leaders in the Bronx and New York City. This year’s honorees included the Honorable Letitia A. James, New York City Public Advocate; the Honorable Darcel D. Clark, Bronx County District Attorney; Bervin Harris, CEO of Renaissance Youth Center; and Naimah Bilal, Bronx Community Activist.
“Every year we have the chance to honor and celebrate the countless contributions that African-Americans have made to our country, city, and borough. The Bronx has been home to some of our nation’s most important African-American and civil rights leaders, including for instance, Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., whom we lost last year. This is why it is so important for my son and I to host an event and recognize the work and invaluable contributions of the individuals who are carrying on this legacy.
“This year, we had the great honor of recognizing the New York City Public Advocate Letitia A. James, Bronx County District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Bervin Harris, CEO of Renaissance Youth Center; and Naimah Bilal, respected Bronx community leader. Each of these individuals’ achievements and desire to give back stand out and deserve our appreciation. Let us follow their example of leadership, service, and brotherhood and sisterhood. We’re thankful for their commitment to making the Bronx a better place to live for everyone,” said Congressman Serrano.
Congressman Serrano Applauds NOAA Decision Including Hudson Canyon in Inventory For National Marine Sanctuary Designation
This week, Congressman Serrano applauded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ss (NOAA) inclusion of the Hudson Canyon in its inventory of sites being considered for National Marine Sanctuary status. The inclusion was a result of the advocacy efforts of local elected officials, including Congressman Serrano; private sector stakeholders; and environmental groups. The coalition’s efforts will now focus on NOAA’s sanctuary designation process, which includes public engagement and input opportunities to craft regulations that will protect this natural resource.
“As someone who has made environmental renewal and preservation in urban areas a priority as a member of Congress during the past two decades, I am thrilled that the Hudson Canyon has been placed into the inventory of sites being considered for designation as a National Marine Sanctuary. This is an important step forward in preserving this natural wonder. Although not widely known, the Hudson Canyon is larger than the Grand Canyon and houses diverse marine wildlife crucial to the quality of New York’s environment and local economy. Its designation as a National Marine Sanctuary will help ensure its resources are utilized in a sustainable manner and protect its biodiversity so that our local population and visitors can enjoy the beauty and bounty of this marine treasure for generations to come,” said Congressman Serrano.
In November 2016, Congressman Serrano led a letter signed by 13 Members of Congress in support of the including the Hudson Canyon in NOAA’s inventory of sites being considered for National Marine Sanctuary status.
Congressman Serrano Announces $100,000 in Funding to Hostos/Lehman to Help Minority Students Acquire Quantitative Reasoning Skills
Congressman Serrano announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded Hostos Community College and Lehman College in the Bronx $103,020 in funding for research how to apply quantitative reasoning (QR) – the use of numbers and data using critical thinking skills – into different college courses and help underrepresented minorities learn these skills to help them attain professional and personal success.
“Having solid quantitative reasoning skills is critical for those aspiring to STEM careers and to successfully carry out personal responsibilities like managing their finances. This funding will allow two local educational institutions that primarily serve underrepresented minorities to demonstrate how QR skills can be incorporated into a wide a range of courses to help minority students strengthen their abilities. Thanks to this initiative our youth will have the skills they need to succeed both professionally and personally in the future,” said Congressman Serrano, who is the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee overseeing funding for the National Science Foundation.