Each week since Queens native Donald Trump was elected president, the scorecard has shown his approval ratings stuck at 40 percent but consumer confidence rising to a now 17-year-high.
In Queens, the country’s most ethnically diverse borough where nearly half the residents are foreign-born, there is palpable relief that judges far west of the Mississippi have declared his travel ban against Muslims unenforceable. But many immigrants living in Queens — documented as well as undocumented - fear they will be targeted by ICE agents and deported.
The borough’s elected officials have held meetings to inform the newcomers of their rights, but a sense of unease mixed with uncertainty grips neighborhoods where some parents are supposedly keeping their children home from school and skipping church to avoid immigration officers.
After Homeland Security raided a Long Island City bakery recently, nearly 30 workers faced mass firings unless they could produce papers validating their immigration status.
Trump’s anti-immigrant push has produced relatively few arrests outside of the travel ban busts at JFK, but it has created widespread anxiety in Queens as some residents return to their home countries.
New York takes pride in its stance as a sanctuary city, where officials from the mayor on down have pledged not to release information about undocumented immigrants to federal officials.
As U.S. Attorney General Jeff sessions threatened to crack down on sanctuary cities by withholding federal grant money for law enforcement, legislators from 30 urban centers met in New York Monday and vowed not to bend to the Trump agenda. They fine-tuned strategies to defend immigrants instead.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York, the nation’s top terrorism target, would fight any federal attempt to cut police funding in court. It was not lost on New Yorkers that Trump’s efforts to pare down funds for the NYPD followed his stinging defeat at the polls in his hometown, which now has to shell out $600 million a year to protect him and his extended family.
Trump appears to have been chastened by the GOP’s disastrous campaign to torpedo Obamacare, which tarnished his reputation as a deal maker. But he can always fall back on his dismantling of President Obama’s climate change policy and his predecessor’s protections for Internet browsers. And Wall Street still loves him.
In less than 100 days Trump has turned America upside down where corporate interests count more than the people and fear is a federal instrument of cruelty. It’s a real shame.