Council Member Williams is a proud child of Caribbean parentage, with his family hailing from the island of Grenada. With a district that has one of the largest immigrant populations in New York City, he has made sure to make his office a valued resource for this community.
In January 2010, following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, Jumaane quickly helped mobilize volunteers and contributions to deliver to reputable relief organizations. As the elected representative of one of the nation’s largest Haitian populations, he was designated as an appointee to a task force created by former Governor Paterson to address the effects of the crisis in New York City and beyond; this led to his creation of the 45th District Haitian Relief Effort, a mobile clinic to provide various types of support for Haitian immigrants and their families, in conjunction with the Haitian American Business Network (HABNET). He was a leading voice in calling for the extension of temporary protected status for Haitian nationals, and he has repeatedly lobbied federal leaders to ensure its extension while the nation recovers.
As a member of the Council’s Committee on Immigration, Jumaane has played a key role in the citywide debate on the local implementation of the Secure Communities program, which he feels has had a chilling effect on the immigrant community. He helped pass legislation limiting the use of detainers by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New York City, and has pushed for the passage of the DREAM Act as well as comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship. Jumaane also worked directly with City Hall and advocates to bring light to the needs of international teachers recruited to work in the United States with the promise of permanent residency.
Jumaane annually funds an immigration attorney from CUNY Citizenship Now!, free of charge to the community, to assist with citizenship applications and related matters. He has also directed thousands of dollars in his expense budget to cultural institutions that directly serve his Caribbean-American constituency and celebrate their rich heritage, including his annual Haitian Flag Day celebration.