Long Island Wins: Long Islanders Mark National Voter Registration Day

Long Islanders Mark National Voter Registration Day

by Kevin Fung - Online Editor [Original article here]

As the 2012 elections showed us, our communities let their votes do the talking. We turned out in droves to vote for who we thought best represented our communities and who would do what’s right for the people.

That’s why on this day, September 24, Long Islanders united at the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola to mark National Voter Registration Day, a national initiative devoted to ensuring that all eligible voters have the opportunity to register. Here on Long Island, our allies have registered more than 9,000 new voters, who are sure to make a difference during this year’s local elections.

We called on our elected officials to take action on the issues that are most pressing for Long Islanders, including passing comprehensive immigration legislation that keeps families together.

“For those aspiring Americans who are allowed to fulfill their dreams of becoming citizens, being able to vote is key to their participating in civic life,” said Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, executive director of Long Island Wins. “So we thank those who are working in the trenches every day to make that possible.”

“It was a privilege registering hundreds of people in my community, many of whom live in areas that politicians have ignored,” said Carlos Reyes, member of Make the Road New York. “Most of the 800 people that Make the Road New York registered support comprehensive immigration reform, and I’m thrilled that these voters will be able to select candidates who support reform, as well.” Carlos Reyes is among the estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants on Long Island, and he continues pushing for immigration reform so he can one day be among those who can vote in the place that he calls home.

Long Island Wins joined together with more than a dozen organizations on Long Island in a “Vote for Respect” campaign to register voters of color in advance of November’s municipal elections, with voters clamoring for politicians to pass comprehensive immigration reform and protect vital county services. It was part of a larger effort in which we joined hundreds of groups around the country in marking National Voter Registration Day.

Long Island Wins joined a host of organizations from across Long Island, including Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Central American Refugee Center, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Local 32BJ (SEIU), La Fuente-Long Island Civic Participation Project, NAACP, SEPA Mujer, Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Planned Parenthood Nassau County, Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Choice for All, Every Child Matters, and Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County.

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Comunidad y Trabajadores Unidos: Campaña para Aumentar El Voto Latino

Campaña para Aumentar El Voto Latino

CyTUnidos / August 21, 2013 [Artículo original aquí]

¿Qué podemos hacer como comunidad para aumentar la representación política de la población hispana en Est ados Unidos?, ¿Qué estamos haciendo para motivar a la comunidad latina para participar más en las elecciones? Estas son algunas de las preguntas que Daniel Altschuler, de La Mesa Cívica de Long Island, responde en este capítulo. Conversamos con él acerca de la menor participación que está teniendo la comunidad latina en las elecciones políticas locales en comparación con las nacionales, y de cómo podemos revertir esta situación. A continuación, conversamos con Martha Maffei de Sepa Mujer, organización sin fines de lucro que busca ayudar al desarrollo de la mujer latina. Martha Maffei nos cuenta de qué se trata esta labor y de cómo la llevan a cabo.

Michelle Berstein escritora del blog

Puedes escuchar el programa en vivo el Domingo a 7am EST en La Fiesta a 98.5fm o en el sitio de web de La Fiesta

Tambien, si tienes algun consejo sobre historias para el programa tu deberías enviar un mensaje a [email protected]

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August 21, 2013 in Familia, Gobierno, Participación Cívica.

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Newsday: Bellone, advocates unveil immigration reform ad campaign

Bellone, advocates unveil immigration reform ad campaign

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joined immigrant advocates unveiling an advertising campaign at the Brentwood railroad station Tuesday to back their push for registered status and eventual citizenship for those living in the country illegally.

In his year and a half in office, Bellone has praised immigrants' contributions and ordered that key county documents be translated into six languages. But Tuesday's event marked the first time he waded into the debate over federal immigration policy.

"Immigration is good for our country . . . and it doesn't matter what group of immigrants or what time period it is, they have the same hopes and aspirations and dreams of every other immigrant group," Bellone said. "It is time for us to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The time is now. It is good for our county. It is good for our country."

Advocates took his remarks as a welcome change from the previous county administration. Immigrant rights groups had challenged former County Executive Steve Levy over his opposition to "amnesty" for residents living in the country without legal permission and the handling of the 2008 hate killing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, director of immigrant advocacy group Long Island Wins, said Bellone's backing "represents an important change in tone."

Bellone described his approach as a departure from "the politics of division" to "diversity and inclusiveness."

Levy, now a consultant, said that he "wouldn't wear it as a badge of honor that advocates for illegal immigration are holding you up as a poster boy."

The new billboards will be displayed at Long Island Rail Road stations on the Ronkonkoma and Babylon lines, advocates said. The ads, paid by the SEIU 32BJ labor union, urge voters to ask Congress for "immigration reform with a path to citizenship."

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Public News Service: One Time Opponent: Rep. Peter King Gets Kudos from Immigrants

One Time Opponent: Rep. Peter King Gets Kudos from Immigrants

August 5, 2013 [Original article here]

NEW YORK - Many local immigrants admit this would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, but today they are celebrating the summer-recess return of Republican Congressman Peter King. Rep. King was once a thorn in their sides, but now, according to Liz O'Shaughnessy, president and program director of the Long Island day-laborer advocacy group CoLoKI, Rep. King deserves recognition, especially for supporting a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

"We believe Peter King has become more moderate in his views on immigration, and that's a very positive thing for everyone," O'Shaughnessy declared. "So, what we'd like to do is show our support and hopefully encourage him to continue on this path."

King will be greeted by a welcoming party of local immigrants and their supporters at his district office today. Meanwhile, he's not to be confused with another U.S. Rep. King, Iowa Republican Steve King, who continues to take flak, including some from fellow Republicans, for likening DREAM Act immigrant students to drug mules.

Omar Angel, director of programs for La Fuente, said the changing makeup of his Long Island district and changing attitudes on immigrants are likely factors in moderating Peter King's views on immigration.

"Representing a huge portion of immigrant community in his district, that's one thing, and I this also reflects the change in our society; 80 percent of Long Island residents support immigration reform."

The welcome home is likely to be less warm for Representative Steve King of Iowa, with GOP leaders condemning his now-infamous statement. Liz O'Shaughnessy described it as outrageous to be putting DREAMers in the same category as Mexican drug mules.

"That is just a ridiculous statement and nothing like that should ever be said in Congress; and it's very important the politicians distance themselves from that kind of demagoguery," she stated.

The celebration gets going at Representative Peter King's office in Massapequa Park at 5 p.m. today.

Copyright © 2013 Public News Service


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Newsday: Nassau translates documents to 6 languages

Nassau translates documents to 6 languages

The order, which is expected to be implemented within the year, encompasses a wealth of public service records, including medical health, emergency assistance and public safety. Social service applications are already available in six languages.

Documents, the order states, will be available online and in person in the most commonly spoken non-English languages in Nassau: Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Persian, Korean and French Creole. "This project ensures that all residents have access to information regarding government programs and services and, most importantly, has the potential to save lives," Mangano said.


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Levittown Tribune: From Long Island Wins

From Long Island Wins

Written by Maryann Sinclair Slutsky Thursday, 18 July 2013 00:00 [Original article here]
A Troubling Alternative 

I prefer thinking positive thoughts. But not everyone has the same mental habits. There are some folks who just love thinking through the absolute worst-case scenarios. What if the LIE shuts down and I can’t get home? What if Long Island beaches became infested with sharks and all are closed for the summer? What if the Mets never get their act together? 

Those are all pretty crazy, right?

But now it’s worth taking a look at a possibility that seems just as crazy if it were to happen – that the House of Representatives doesn’t pass immigration reform, and our federal system stays broken.

At first thought, that possibility seems even weirder and more unlikely than that shark thing. The basic outlines of immigration reform are widely and bipartisanly popular – people across the spectrum support an accountable bill that increases border security, cracks down on businesses who try to game the system, makes sure that immigrants who pay taxes and learn English have a chance to earn a path to citizenship, and have future immigration levels tied to our economic needs.

A whopping 80 percent of Long Islanders support a bill with those outlines, according to a recent poll by Long Island Wins and the Long Island Civic Engagement Table.  And even our decidedly dysfunctional U.S. Senate, which doesn’t agree on anything, passed an immigration bill by a 68-32 margin.

With all that support for change, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives drops the ball and fails to pass a bill, what does that mean?

It would mean that our broken federal immigration system would stay broken. That would mean no improved border security system. That would mean no accountability for businesses that take advantage of the law, which would affect wages for all Long Islanders. That would mean no way for hard working immigrants to earn a path to citizenship so they can pay local and federal taxes and be a full contributor to our community.

And that, frankly, would mean a poorer Long Island. We all have a stake in fixing our broken immigration system.

Long Islanders get it. A majority of people agree that immigrants generally come to Long Island to work hard and provide for their families. 

History is happening now. The Senate vote was an important step in moving millions of immigrants into a responsible system. That’s good news for Long Island and good news for America. However, we know that nothing gets done -- or gets done right -- in Washington unless people keep speaking out until the fight is won. There’s a debate coming up in the House, and some politicians have set out to make this bill meaner, more punitive, and more counterproductive; or not to pass a bill at all. Our voices need to get louder and clearer: fix our immigration system now.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins, a communications organization promoting commonsense policy solutions that work for all Long Islanders. 


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Noticia: Senado aprueba proyecto de reforma migratoria

Senado aprueba proyecto de reforma migratoria

Con el visto bueno del Senado, los ojos de la comunidad inmigrante se posan sobre la Cámara de Representantes

Redacción Noticia [Artículo original aquí]

El Senado de Estados Unidos aprobó la semana pasada el proyecto de reforma migratoria que beneficiaría a más de 11 millones de personas que viven sin un estatus legal dentro del país. 

La idea inicial escrita por un grupo bipartidista de ocho senadores pasó la prueba del Comité Judicial del Senado, luego de ser sometido a algunas enmiendas, e hizo igual recorrido en el pleno antes de ser aprobada por un voto de 68 contra 32.

Pero aún con los adjetivos de "histórica" y la fuerza bipartidista que ha conseguido hasta ahora, la medida aprobada en el Senado es solo el primero de los pasos en camino a su adopción, ya que la reforma pasa ahora a consideración de la Cámara de Representantes, con mayoría republicana.

El proyecto aprobado contiene fuertes medidas de seguridad fronteriza que incluyen la construcción de un muro de 18 pies a lo largo de la frontera, así como mayor número de agentes fronterizos, quienes estarán posicionados a mil pies de distancia.

De acuerdo con la versión del Senado los inmigrantes indocumentados podrían legalizar su estatus en el país a la par de que se pongan en vigor las nuevas regulaciones para la seguridad fronteriza, pero sólo obtendrían la residencia permanente cuando ese proceso haya concluido. 

“Quiero agradecer a los líderes de ambos partidos que trabajaron juntos de buena fe para producir una legislación bipartidista fuerte que optimiza nuestro sistema migratorio, mantiene a las familias unidas y le da a nuestra comunidad inmigrante, particularmente a los jóvenes soñadores que no conocen otro hogar diferente a America, una oportunidad para obtener su ciudadanía”, indicó frente a la aprobación del proyecto la senadora Kirsten Gillibrand. “La Casa de Representantes ahora debe hacer su trabajo para aprobar este proyecto que fortalecerá a nuestra economía”

Lo que sigue

Frente a las posibilidades de presentar el proyecto ante la Cámara Baja, el líder de la mayoría, John Boehner, ya anticipó que no piensa someter a votación el proyecto en la Cámara a menos que la mayoría de los republicanos así lo quiera.
“Vamos hacer nuestro propio plan en el orden estipulado, y será una legislación que refleje a nuestra mayoría y al pueblo estadounidense. Cualquier iniciativa, incluso una consulta, para ser aprobado en la Cámara, tiene que ser un proyecto que tenga el apoyo de la mayoría de nuestros legisladores. La reforma de inmigración tiene que estar cimentada en una seguridad fronteriza real”, dijo Boehner.

En un evento realizado la semana pasada, los inmigrantes de Long Island, junto a organizaciones locales que incluyeron a la Mesa Cívica de Long Island, Se Hace Camino NY, Central American Refugee Center, Comunidades por el Cambio NY, Long Island Wins, New York Civil Liberties Union (Capítulos de Nassau y Suffolk), Local 32BJ (SEIU), Long Island Jobs with Justice, SEPA Mujer, y el Empire Justice Center, pidieron pronta acción por parte de la Cámara de Representantes para la aprobación del proyecto.

Los inmigrantes presentes compartieron sus historias personales de inmigración y representantes de las organizaciones expresaron su compromiso de alcanzar una legislación que asegure la unidad de las familias inmigrantes, el final de las deportaciones, y un camino rápido a la ciudadanía para los 11 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados, que incluyen a alrededor de 100,000 inmigrantes en Long Island.

“La Casa de Representantes debe utilizar el proyecto del Senado como la base de la reforma migratoria. El proyecto del Senado responde a las preocupaciones de los conservadores sobre la seguridad fronteriza y cualquiera que vote en contra de él claramente solo quiere mantener a los inmigrantes indocumentados en las sombras”, aseguró durante el evento Pat Young, Director de Programas de Central American Refugee Center CARECEN. 

“Con la aprobación del proyecto de reforma migratoria en el Senado, el tiempo ha llegado para que nuestros representantes apoyen la reforma”, indicó María Hernández, residente de Bay Shore. “Como ciudadana e inmigrante, quiero ver el liderazgo de nuestros representantes para aprobar la reforma y ver resultados rápidamente. Long Island necesita una reforma con un camino a la ciudadanía que incluya la unificación de las familias, y menos deportaciones”.

De acuerdo a un informe emitido por la Oficina de Presupuestos del Congreso (CBO), la aprobación del proyecto de reforma migratoria conocido en el Senado con el nombre de Ley de Seguridad Fronteriza, Oportunidad Económica y Modernización de Inmigración, reduciría el déficit nacional en 197 mil millones de dólares durante los próximos 10 años, y en cerca de 700 mil millones entre los años 2024 y 2033, además de que promovería el crecimiento económico del país en años venideros

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Public News Service: Independence Day Provides Spark for Registering Immigrant Voters

Independence Day Provides Spark for Registering Immigrant Voters

July 2, 2013 [Original article here]

NEW YORK - As the nation gets ready to celebrate Independence Day, a voter registration drive is getting under way today to get immigrants registered and remind New Yorkers of their patriotic duty to be ready to vote. 

Denisse Giron, voter registration fellow with the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, is one of those who will be knocking on doors from now until October in hopes of registering 3,000 new voters on Long Island.

"The registration itself takes less than a minute," she said. "It's only one page; we're all together celebrating our country and so we should register; it's the patriotic thing to do."

The effort, which is being coordinated by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, aims to register new working-class and immigrant voters so that they can engage in the fall elections on key issues such as comprehensive immigration reform and protecting vital local services.

Similar efforts registered 5,000 new voters on Long Island last year, but Ana Chireno, Long Island organizer with Make the Road New York, noted that that was a presidential election. Organizers expect to register a comparable number this year, when the stakes may be higher for many Long Island voters, especially those from immigrant communities.

"When it comes to things that are important to families, things like vital services and local schools, policing; all of those things really happen on the local level," Chireno said. "For Long Island it's important, because actually we are re-electing our entire Legislature."

Joining in the voter drive are dozens of local organizations including 1199SEIU, the local NAACP, Planned Parenthood and the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. Organizers are holding a news conference at noon today to discuss the voter-registration drive. It will be at the Nassau County Executive and Legislative Building, 1550 Franklin Ave, Mineola.

Copyright © 2013 Public News Service


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Newsday: Kallick: For true immigration reform, hire labor inspectors, not border guards

Kallick: For true immigration reform, hire labor inspectors, not border guards

Thursday, the Senate took a big step forward for the kind of immigration reform that a large majority of Long Island residents say they support. A recent poll by Harstad Strategic Research showed that 80 percent of Long Island residents support the "gang of eight" proposal with its four pillars: border security, employer verification of Social Security numbers, legalization of immigrants here illegally, and new visa guidelines going forward.

As the debate heads into the House of Representatives -- where reform faces even greater hurdles than it did in the Senate -- there undoubtedly will be a renewed focus on how to make enforcement work. The right answer, though it's rarely voiced, is that effective enforcement will require more labor inspectors, not more border agents.

It's tempting for politicians to thump their chests about border security. We saw this in the last-minute Senate amendment to add a $30-billion "border surge" to the immigration bill. Yet, there is more than enough enforcement at the border already. As a report this year from the Migration Policy Institute showed, the United States already spends more on immigration enforcement than on all the other main federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined.

Even a 2,000-mile moat filled with alligators will not solve this. An estimated 11 million immigrants are already in the country illegally; as many as 45 percent of them came across the border legally and then overstayed a visa. No amount of border security is going to be enough by itself.

Meanwhile, there's not nearly enough enforcement ensuring that people who work here have legal authorization to do so. It is, after all, the chance of getting hired that attracts most immigrants to the United States to begin with.

The Senate bill does address one piece of this puzzle: Tamper-proof Social Security cards, and the expansion of E-Verify from a voluntary system to one that is mandatory for all employers, should prevent people without work authorization from using false Social Security numbers to secure employment.

But it doesn't take an evil genius to figure out a way around these tightened processes: Employers could just hire workers off the books. Paying people off the books is, of course, illegal. But does it happen? We know it does.

The good news is that there's no great mystery about how to stop it. Labor departments -- at the state and federal level -- are responsible for enforcing workplace standards. They are the ones who can ensure that employers are paying employees on the books, withholding payroll taxes, and paying into state unemployment insurance and workers' compensation funds.

Unfortunately, as the number of border patrol agents around the country has soared in recent decades, the number of labor inspectors has shrunk -- by 31 percent between 1980 and 2007, even though the labor force grew. At the same time, not coincidentally, the number of people being paid off the books -- both immigrants who lack the proper documentation to work and others -- has dramatically increased. There are now only around 1,000 labor inspectors to cover the entire country.

So, before we get drawn into spending ever-bigger sums to militarize the border, here's a better suggestion for our political leaders. If you care about making enforcement work, let's spend a small fraction of that money replenishing the ranks of the country's labor inspectors.

That would not only prevent people from being hired off the books, it would stop employers from avoiding payroll taxes, build up state unemployment insurance and workers' compensation funds. It would make sure that a minimum floor for labor standards applies to all workers. And it would address the complaint -- commonly heard across Long Island -- about businesses that do the right thing having to compete against others that don't.

David Dyssegaard Kallick is senior fellow of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank based in Albany and New York City. He directs FPI's Immigration Research Initiative.

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Public News Service: NY Advocates calling for “Speedy Action” on Immigration Reform

NY Advocates calling for “Speedy Action” on Immigration Reform

June 27, 2013 [Original article here]

NEW YORK CITY - It's a vote that will likely make history on the sometimes heated issue of immigration reform. Today, local advocates are calling for speedy action by the U.S. Senate. Westbury resident Joan Sanjuan said he has been active on this issue with the group Make the Road New York for many years, and he is now optimistic that Congress is hearing the message that the time has finally come to act.

"It's very important. There's a lot of immigrant families that have been separated," Sanjuan said. "Also, there's a lot of young kids who want to better their lives, get a better education, but unfortunately they can't do it because of their legal status."

Reform opponents have stressed the need for more border security. A recent poll by the Harstad Research Center found that 80 percent of Long Islanders now support comprehensive immigration reform.

Coordinator Daniel Altschuler, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, said the legislation affects at least 11 million people nationwide, including hundreds of thousands in New York and communities all across the state where they live and work. 

"On Long Island, there are approximately 100,000 undocumented immigrants," Altschuler said. "Across New York State, there are over 600,000. There needs to be a way to get folks out of the shadows to be able to participate fully in our economy and our society."

The main goal, according to Altschuler, is to get the best measure possible by the Senate. He agreed with groups that are critical of some of the amendments that were recently added, which call for a "surge" in border security.

 Copyright © 2013 Public News Service


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