With Undocumented 9/11 Workers In Danger Of Deportation, These Lawmakers Are Taking A Stand

When a 9/11 volunteer worker was in danger of getting deported, New York lawmakers stepped in to help.

Despite New York City's Sanctuary City status, undocumented immigrants living in the Big Apple still face the possibility of being deported. Just ask Carlos Cardona, an undocumented immigrant from Colombia who volunteered to clean up wreckage at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks. According to NY 1, Cardona was arrested and detained in February 2017 for a nonviolent 27-year-old drug offense.

As Daily Kos points out, Cardona's arrest came just one month after President Trump's inauguration, and followed one of the many routine Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) check-ins he's participated in as a result of his 1990 conviction.

The 48-year-old was released from custody late last month and pardoned by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, and now Queens Congressman Joseph Crowley and three other New York Democrats are on a mission to protect additional undocumented people who played a role in the 9/11 cleanup. 


Per The Hill, Crowley, who is the head of the House Democratic Caucus, will introduce legislation sometime this week that would allow undocumented workers who toiled at Ground Zero to pursue citizenship.

In a press conference at City Hall on July 9, Crowley and the trio of other politicians explained the proposed legislation would provide workers with legal permanent resident status. As Crowley mentioned, this has previously been done for others who served in the armed forces or as overseas translators, so allowing 9/11 workers to do the same is common sense.

"These workers provided critical services in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and suffered from exposure to airborne toxins and other hazards," Crowley said in a statement when announcing the bill. "Yet many of them still lack legal immigration options and have lived in fear of deportation from the country they served."

According to Congressman Crowley's office 1,000-2,000 people stand to be impacted by his proposed legislation, which no Republicans have expressed interest in backing.

Despite the current administration's insistence that enforcement efforts are focused on undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes or pose a threat to public safety, Mr. Cardona's case indicates ICE is cracking down on undocumented immigrants of all backgrounds.

In fact, ProRepublica reported last week that ICE enacted a policy back in February (around the same time Mr. Cardona was detained) clarifying no one who came to this country illegally is safe from deportation. So as compassionate as it may seem to offer citizenship to undocumented 9/11 workers, (many of whom are battling health issues related to their involvement in the clean up efforts) Crowley clearly faces an uphill battle in getting his legislation passed.

Though Cardona's case is still pending, he's thrilled to be back home in Queens with his family. "'I'm very lucky, one of the lucky ones," he told Daily Kos at the time. "I feel very privileged to be able to come back home to my family."


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