Kohut: Himes Should Declare His District A Sanctuary

Himes, Young Dems
Himes speaks to a group of Young Dems in Bridgeport.

All this talk about sanctuary cities has Bridgeport policy wonk Jeff Kohut thinking about a broader approach. He writes, “If Congressman Jim Himes (a vocal critic of Trump Administration immigration policy) and the Democratic political apparatus of the Fourth District is serious about resisting injustices threatened against benign immigrants by the Trump Administration, then the Congressman can help his Fourth District constituents (including his own home town of Greenwich) to protect our immigrant population by using his office to take the lead in forming a Fourth District Alliance of Sanctuary Municipalities.”

Himes, by the way, will conduct a town hall meeting February 22, 6:30 pm in City Council chambers. From Kohut:

Bridgeport as a Sanctuary City. Now here is an issue that screams out for a “regional” approach.

While I am in sympathy with the plight of all immigrants in this country who are law-abiding and striving to make a positive contribution to their community and this country, and while I would never cooperate with any effort to disrupt the lives of such persons (and would support efforts to protect them from all levels of harassment), I don’t believe Bridgeport is in any position, as a municipality, to play chicken with the federal government in a stand-alone manner in this regard.

That being said: If all the towns and cities of the Fourth District/Fairfield County were to adopt resolutions, in a deliberate, cooperative, unified manner, for sanctuary status for immigrants in solidarity with each other, with the proviso there would be regional support and cooperation to offset any punitive actions the federal government might take against any of the allied cities and towns on an individual or collective basis, then I would be willing, as a citizen of Bridgeport, to support a “Sanctuary City” resolution by the Bridgeport City Council. (Indeed, if a majority of the towns of the Fourth District would act in solidarity in this regard, I would be willing to support a Bridgeport resolution/Fourth District sign-on.)

Truly: The Fourth Congressional District, Fairfield County, benefits hugely from the labor and contributions of immigrants (legal and undocumented). It undeniably behooves the affluent municipalities of the Fourth District to stand up and protect the immigrant population of the District (the majority of which resides in Bridgeport) from unfair, unjust treatment by all levels of government that might seek to use this population as scapegoats in this context.

If The Fourth District is truly a politically and morally righteous place and is grateful for its affluent, safe, comfortable lifestyle, which is derived largely from the availability of “affordable” labor, much of which is definable in terms of the word “immigrant,” then the beneficiaries of this lifestyle (municipalities/citizens) should be willing to take official measures to show their gratitude to the immigrants (and other labor, and the cities that host this labor as well as essential, regional social services and infrastructure), and stand up, officially, as individual members of an official union/political entity/alliance of cooperating sanctuary cities and towns. In this latter regard, the political leadership of the Fourth Congressional District should undertake to enlist all the municipalities of the Fourth District (to the extent of reaching out to the portion of Fairfield County not included in the District and even beyond, to include the adjacent congressional districts) in becoming cooperating members of a unified coalition/alliance of “Sanctuary” municipalities that will cooperate politically, economically, and functionally/supportively, in a formal, strategic, codified manner toward providing sanctuary for all benign, law-abiding, non-citizen residents of the District/alliance region, in regard to mutual support/protection regarding punitive actions by higher levels of government that might be taken in retaliation for such a pro-immigrant stance.

This would be the highest form of “regionalism” for which the Fourth District/Fairfield might be able to hope.

If Congressman Jim Himes (a vocal critic of Trump Administration immigration policy) and the Democratic political apparatus of the Fourth District is serious about resisting injustices threatened against benign immigrants by the Trump Administration, then the Congressman can help his Fourth District constituents (including his own home town of Greenwich) to protect our immigrant population by using his office to take the lead in forming a Fourth District Alliance of Sanctuary Municipalities, per the above description.

The wealth and power of the Fourth District/Fairfield County, as a unified force, represents the type of political/economic entity that can successfully resist the potential tyrannical retaliation of the Trump Administration against “sanctuary” municipalities, such that the Fourth District could (as a unified alliance of municipalities) realistically speak in terms of protecting its immigrant population and ensuring economic justice for its cities and towns in this regard.

Would Congressman Himes be willing to use his office to take the lead in this regard?

It behooves the proponents of a Bridgeport City Council “sanctuary city” resolution to reach out to Congressman Himes (et al.) in this regard. (This writer would be willing to work toward the goal of a “Sanctuary District” in this context.)

It would be greatly uplifting in these troubling political times to see a successful effort involving all the municipalities in the Fourth District in a cooperative, mutually supportive effort to ensure safety and justice for our benign, law-abiding immigrant population. It would truly be a positive sign for the future of this region, in all regards.



    1. The picture may not depict the current members who are part of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats, but what it does depict are members of the community who are in support of this organization. The age to be a member varies from 14 to 35.

  1. I believe the Young Democrats age limit is 35 years old. So, what’s the issue, what’s the big deal? This group is called the “millennial.” and we should support and honor their involvement instead of knocking them down and ridiculing them. How about the AARP Democrats (50 and over) getting back involved with on-the-street political activities? Whether you are 18, 35 or 65-plus, honor those who get involved.

    1. Frank, what seems to be your problem? If Donald Day and I said right then you’ll come back and say left, so what’s the problem? I asked a question after looking at the picture and knowing a lot of those in that picture and knowing they are way over 35. Who ever said anything about not honoring those who get involved at any age?

      1. Ron Mackey, I am not an automatic opposite of what you (or Donald Day) believe in. I will admit I tried to answer the direct question (age of Young Democrats) but stream of consciousness took over and I expanded my thoughts on citizen involvement even if grouped by age.

  2. BTW, this whole idea of Fairfield County (or even Bridgeport itself) as being a sanctuary community is taking our eyes “off the ball.” The question remains, “How do we turn around all aspects (economic,social etc) of this community we call Bridgeport?”

  3. Frank: If you do a little analysis and consider the issue of the Bridgeport political/socioeconomic dilemma in a circumspect manner, you’ll realize addressing the “sanctuary cities” issue in the suggested manner can only help to elucidate and address the underlying socioeconomic distress of Bridgeport.

    In any event, you and others are putting way too much energy and focus on fixing our problems internally when they have an external origin. I’ve watched Bridgeport chasing its tail for most of my life, with good Bridgeporters blaming themselves and local politicians for our problems; and then, through the gift of the larger lens presented by regional resistance to the idea of a Bridgeport casino, per the related, blatant statement of claim on Bridgeport’s labor and economic development rights by down-county interests in this regard [by Chris Bruhl, president of the then-Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce (now Business Council of Fairfield County)], I was forced to realize local politicians claiming to have a plan, means and wherewithal to resurrect Bridgeport from within, using our frayed, failing bootstraps, were simply either delusional or full of $#!^. This latter situation applies now more than ever. Only when we use our political leverage to change the exploitative regional/state policies sucking the life out of Bridgeport will we be able to regenerate Bridgeport prosperity. (And then, we will need a real economic development plan for the city, which provides for several $billion in high-value tax base and tens of thousands of living-wage jobs. We currently have nothing on the economic-development drawing board even remotely resembling such a plan.)

    Only when we assert ourselves regionally, to the extent we exact the respect and due economic consideration of the region/state will we be able create real Bridgeport prosperity.

    Regional cooperation on behalf of our vulnerable immigrant population (per its importance with respect to the crucial regional labor it provides) is not only morally indicated; it is also economically indicated and could provide a means toward creating the type of regional regard and cooperation required for Bridgeport’s renaissance.

    In any event Frank, don’t be mesmerized by the myopic delusions of local “reformers” pretending if just given the opportunity to wave their magic, anti-corruption wands, they are going to be able create a magical, yellow brick road to socioeconomic Oz for Bridgeport. Do some critical thinking about our situation. (Start off by reading the latest edition of “Only in Bridgeport.” Don’t skim the years between G1 and G2.)


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