Debating The Immigrant March
April 11th, 2006

The immigration debate has brought people out into the streets in a way that has not been seen since the anti-war protests and civil rights marches of the `60s and `70s, writes
El Diario, which labels yesterdays immigrant demonstration a loud and powerful call for fair and just immigration reform. The Daily News says the outpouring should give pause to those politicians who have taken the hardest anti-immigrant line. No, illegal immigrants cannot voteBut America’s Hispanic citizenry is a growing and engaged segment of the electorate. Post columnist John Podhoretz argues just the opposite, saying the massive demonstrations are a mistake politically: Whatever illegal aliens are – and I think they are, on balance, a positive presence – they are still in violation of the laws of the United States. The more people demonstrate on their behalf, the more the illegality of their actions is highlighted.

By on April 11, 2006, 7:29 am
In category: Immigrants | 1 Comment »

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Sun To Senators: Keep NYC An Immigrant City
April 3rd, 2006

An editorial in the New York Sun urges both of the U.S. Senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, to help prevent the watering down of the immigration bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The current bill would strengthen the Border Patrol while also expanding legal immigration and offering new opportunities for those in the United States illegally to change their status. The Sun fears efforts to push for a bill that only cracks down on illegal immigration. New York is too dependent on immigration to countenance anti-immigrant measures masquerading as reforms, says the editorial, which is entitled Immigrant City and recounts at some length the importance of immigrants to New York City, both past (the editorial lists 22 illustrious immigrants to the city, from Alexander Hamilton to Dr. Ruth Westheimer) and present (without immigrants, New York would be home to 2.9 million fewer people and thus be less healthy economically.)

By on April 3, 2006, 7:28 am
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NYC And The Immigration Debate
April 1st, 2006

Among the many entries in the DMIBlog about the recently-heightened debate over immigration, there are several that in effect ask the question: Where has New York been?

Adrianne Shropshire of New York Jobs with Justice is explicit: As the immigration debate heats up and large scale protests mount around the country, one can’t help but hear the whisper, “where is NYC?” She hopes that New Yorkers will be involved in great numbers in a mass protest here in coordination with cities around the nation on April 10th, but doesnt sound too optimistic. We may in fact hit numbers in the hundreds of thousands on April 10th (if not more) but if we do not the measure of our success should be the diversity of representation and the numbers of people who continue to engage in the fight after the banners come down.

(A comment points out the demonstration today from the Brooklyn Bridge to Federal Plaza.)

In a different entry, Elana Levin reports on a City Council hearing to condemn one of the bills proposed in Congress. Now I know what you’re thinking, Levin writes, that the NY City Council can’t do anything about the bad immigration legislation that the Congress seems amped to pass. But she says the city doesn’t have to be a helpless victim of bad policy directives coming out of Washington it can take the lead by serving as inspiration, and a role model. Better enforcement of workplace safety laws especially in construction jobs would be a great place to start.

In another entry yesterday, Levin praises comments by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said “We’re not going to deport 12 million people, so let’s stop this fiction…
Levin writes: I never thought these words would pass my keyboard but Bloomberg’s hit the nail on its head.

By on April 1, 2006, 11:44 am
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The "A" Word
March 29th, 2006

To say that the immigration reform bill, passed by Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, is an amnesty is like taking [a cow] into the woods in hunting season, paint the word deer on it and stand back, writes the New York Times Editorial.

The bill provides the path for undocumented immigrants to leave or stay in the country legally. But it would take 11 years, a clean record, a steady job, payment of a $2,000 fine and back taxes, and knowledge of English and civics for an immigrant to become a US citizen. That’s not amnesty,said the Times.

Michael Goodwins of the Daily News, meanwhile, pointed out the shocking truth that no one in Washington has a plan to stop the flow of people coming into country illegally.

The biggest illusion, he said, is that America must somehow first legalize the 11 million-plus illegals here before closing the borders. Right, let’s clean up the water on the floor before we plug the leaky pipe.

By on March 29, 2006, 4:49 pm
In category: Gotham City,Immigrants | 1 Comment »

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Immigration Reform: Irish Perspective
March 15th, 2006

A Daily News guest columnist argued that a cruel and discriminatory American immigration law has reduced the flow of Irish legal immigration to the United States and left thousands of Irish in New York City without proper documents.

Prior to 1965, virtually any qualified Irish citizen who wished to immigrate to the U.S. was allowed to do so, wrote Brian O’Dwyer, an immigration attorney who heads up the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. In 1965, the quota system gave way to a new rule, which gave preferences only to those immigrants who were able to be sponsored by members of their immediate family.

Irish immigrants are not alone in this struggle, there are at least 400,000 undocumented immigrants in the city. He went on to say that the proposed McCain-Kennedy bill will put an end to the problem. “[The bill] – which would allow immigrants to work here legally for either three or six years – will once and for all restore equity to our fractured immigration policy, he said. Until then, Irish eyes will be weeping, not smiling.

By on March 15, 2006, 3:26 pm
In category: Immigrants | 1 Comment »

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Translation Bill Vetoed
January 24th, 2006

Advocates for immigrants criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his having vetoed last Friday a bill passed by the City Council that would require report cards and other school papers to be translated into up to eight different languages.

“Shame on you, Mr. Bloomberg!” Queens City Councilman Hiram Monserrate said yesterday at a City Hall news conference attended by dozens of supporters.

In his veto message, Bloomberg contended the City Council was trying “to regulate a strictly educational subject” that can only be done by the state.

The New York Immigration Coalition called the mayor’s veto “a grave mistake that signals to immigrant parents that their involvement in their schools is not a priority for the mayor.”

Andrew Friedman of the community group in Bushwick, Make the Road By Walking, writes in DMIBlog: “After spending more than twenty million dollars to advertise to New Yorkers who don’t speak English during his Mayoral campaign, Bloomberg denies these same New Yorkers’ children an equal chance of succeeding in school by vetoing the Educational Equity Act at the end of last week. Disgraceful.”

By on January 24, 2006, 3:40 pm
In category: Education,Immigrants | 3 Comments »

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Protesting Lack Of Translations In The NYC Public Schools
January 11th, 2006

In its editorial today, El Diario urges Mayor Michael Bloomberg in both Spanish and English to change his mind on the Educational Equity Bill (sometimes called the Education Equality Act), which (as the newspaper explains in the English version) “guarantees that the city Department of Education will translate important documents and provide interpreters for the parents of students in the New York City public schools.”

The City Council passed the bill last month. Bloomberg has said he will veto the bill on the grounds that the City Council does not have the legal authority to pass the legislation, and also because of the cost. “We can`t demand that parents get involved, ” El Diario writes, “then speak to them in a language they don`t understand.”

In an effort to lobby the mayor to pass the bill, the New York Immigration Coalition will hold a rally tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. on the steps of City Hall, holding signs with the slogan “Open the Schoolhouse Door: Pass Intro. 464” in English and Spanish.

By on January 11, 2006, 6:13 pm
In category: Education,Immigrants | 2 Comments »

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Immigration Debate
December 14th, 2005

An editorial in The New York Post argues that “immigrants practically can’t work legally in the sectors where there’s greatest demand for their labor.” Skilled immigrants can apply for a temporary permit but unskilled immigrants can’t. “We get a lot of calls for nannies,” says Nilie Pajoohi, an immigration attorney in New York, “but there is no temporary category for that. People would go through the legal means to hire them but there is no category for foreign-born unskilled labor.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week on legislation that would severely increase penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It would eliminate the rights not only of undocumented immigrants but also legal residents to immigration hearings and due process before they are detained or deported.

“It is foolish to pretend that we have somehow solved our immigration or security concerns by making it harder for people to come or stay here. That is not immigration reform, ” writes Congressman Joe Crowley in the Irish Voice.

By on December 14, 2005, 4:29 pm
In category: Immigrants | 12 Comments »

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Advice for Paris
November 10th, 2005

After nearly two weeks of riots in the suburbs of Paris, some local commentators are suggesting that the French look to New York City for advice on how to deal with racial and ethnic tensions.

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (via argues that Paris must open itself to young immigrants looking for an education. “The Big Apple offers a lesson for France,” writes Joel Kotkin. “An analysis of recent census numbers indicates that immigrants to New York are the biggest contributors to the net growth of educated young people in the city. Without the disproportionate contributions of young European immigrants, New York would have suffered a net outflow of educated people under 35 in the late ’90s.”

In the Daily News, Jason Lim, a Korean-American graduate student at NYU, argues that “successful assimilation” is the duty of immigrant parents, who must teach their children the “nobility of the liberal societies that they were born into, instead of focusing too much on just the visible socioeconomic ills.”

By on November 10, 2005, 8:59 am
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