Long Island Press: King: Central Islip Murders Show Need for Gun Control

King: Central Islip Murders Show Need for Gun Control

By Timothy Bolger on May 31, 2013 [Original article here]

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) suggested Thursday that federal legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases nationwide would help stem deadly violence such as the three fatal shootings in Central Islip this week.

Long Island’s lone Republican congressman was responding to a question from Tyzier King, a resident of that community, who asked how the veteran lawmaker could address the murders during a town hall meeting at the Brentwood Public Library, where King also shared his views on immigration, terrorism and the economy.

“Most of the crimes committed with guns in New York are committed with guns that are from out of state, where other states have virtually no background checks or little background checks,” said King. “Having a background check in no way infringes on the Second Amendment.”

Gun Control Debate Ricochets on Long Island

A groundswell has been forming to reintroduce new gun control measures in Congress after a background check bill failed in the U.S. Senate in April. But, getting the most attention of late has been an immigration reform bill being negotiated—an idea King told LI’s largest immigrant community he supports, as long as it also adds border security.

“After the last mass immigration legalization on [LI]of 20,000 Salvadoran war refugees, a study found a 40 percent increase in earnings by the newly documented and a direct contribution in increased state and federal taxes paid by the formerly undocumented,” said Pat Young, an immigration attorney and program director of the Central American Refugee Center who served as one of the panelists. “These individuals also shifted towards homeownership and became citizens in large numbers.”

A member of The Muslim Center of Long Island in Bay Shore—the largest mosque on LI—said the congregation is concerned about the Muslim radicalization hearings that King held, hate crimes they have suffered and Islamophobia.

King defended the hearings he held when he was chairman of the Homeland Security Committee as “fair and objective,” said Muslims aren’t victimized by hate crime perpetrators more than other religious groups and said he is willing to meet with Islamic community leaders.

The nonprofit Long Island Civic Engagement Table and Islip chapter of the NAACP organized the meet-and-greet for King to get to know the Bay Shore, Brentwood and Central Islip communities that he absorbed during redistricting last year.

The congressman noted that he’s discussed the recent Central Islip murders with Suffolk County police, who he said suspect gang involvement in the first two slayings. Homicide Squad detectives have said the third fatal shooting does not appear to be linked to the first two.

Pastor Roderick Pearson, president of the Islip chapter of the NAACP, who lead an invocation to open the meeting and the benediction to close it, asked the about 200 people in attendance to join hands and pray together for peace in the community.

“There are three families mourning,” Pearson said. “We may not agree on every issue, but…I ask that we the people seek justice and love in one another.”

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Long Island Herald: Changing demographics demand new thinking

Changing demographics demand new thinking

5/9/13 [Original article here]

No doubt, Nassau County’s –– and, specifically, the Town of Hempstead’s –– demographics are a-changin’. For 10 years, Hempstead has seen a steady increase in its immigrant population, particularly in Valley Stream, Elmont, Floral Park, Hempstead, Roosevelt, North Woodmere, Inwood and North Wantagh.

As Bob Dylan sang, “Your old road is rapidly agin’.”

The Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group working to ensure that fair election maps are drawn throughout the county, including in the Town of Hempstead. Member groups include Common Cause, La Fuente-the Long Island Civic Participation Project, Latino Justice, the League of Women Voters, Long Island Civic Engagement Table and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

In many parts of Hempstead, more than a third of residents are foreign-born, coming primarily from Central and South America, according to the coalition. Those statistics should be no surprise. From 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic voting-age population grew across the county by more than 45,000, or 48 percent, to nearly 138,500. Hispanics now account for 13.5 percent of Nassau’s voting-age population, up from 9.3 percent in 2000.

A number of South Shore neighborhoods now have Hispanic majorities. The largest population subsets are Salvadorans and Guatemalans, many of whom have escaped abject poverty and brutal war.

Most first-generation Hispanic immigrants are legal, documented workers, United Redistricting says. They come wanting to make a better life for themselves and their families, and so they are willing to work hard building new roofs and cleaning homes, contributing to the local economy.

These newcomers are literally changing the face of southern Nassau County. In a recent analysis, United Redistricting wrote, “Many parts of Nassau increasingly resemble the socio-economic profile of outer-borough New York City: urban density, lower-middle- to middle-class income households, a workforce concentrated in the blue-collar and service sectors, and an increasing core immigrant population.”

Overall, Nassau’s voting-age population is now nearly 24 percent black and Hispanic –– up from 18 percent in the 2000 census. The Asian population is on the rise as well, having grown by more than 30,000 –– a 68 percent increase –– from 2000 to 2010, according to the census. Much of the western half of the county is no longer majority white, United Redistricting says.

There has also been a slow but steady decline in the white population in Garden City, Lynbrook and parts of Merrick and Massapequa, United Redistricting notes.

Nassau’s population remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2010. Without immigrants, however, the county actually would have lost population, according to the coalition.

And, we might add, without immigrants, there surely would have been a far greater drop in property- and sales-tax receipts than we’ve seen, which would have created even bigger budget deficits for our local governments.

All of this implies that we should welcome immigrants, rather than scorn them, as is too often the case. And we should celebrate the growing diversity around us. The U.S. is a strong nation, in part, because we are a blended society that welcomes people from around the globe. In many ways, the Town of Hempstead has become a microcosm of our larger society, and is certainly no longer the lily-white suburb it was when segregation was enforced in certain communities by restrictive covenants in the 1950s and ’60s.

Full integration, though, is a long way off. In the Town of Hempstead, minorities make up 40 percent of the population, but hold only 14 percent of Town Board seats. Both Republicans and Democrats should consider selecting political candidates who reflect the changing face of the county.

At the same time, the Town of Hempstead should consider any and all smart-growth initiatives to encourage developers to construct affordable housing –– meaning small apartment houses in our downtown business districts, near public transportation –– to provide low-cost homes for young people and the construction and service-sector workers who are playing an increasingly important role in the local economy.

It’s a simple formula, really: With more affordable apartments available, more people will move here. They will spend money, and property and sales tax receipts will rise, helping to relieve the tax burden for us all.

Over the next 10 years, local governments could ignore the powerful forces at work, the ever-changing demographics that are shaping and reshaping our communities. They could carry on as usual, pretending the waters around them have not grown, as Dylan might say.

We suggest, though, that they start swimmin’, or they’ll sink like stones.

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Long Island al Día: Organizaciones de Long Island celebran presentación de proyecto de reforma migratoria

Organizaciones de Long Island celebran presentación de proyecto de reforma migratoria

Organizaciones comunitarias y laborales celebran acuerdo bipartidista, trabajarán juntos para una ruta más rápida a la ciudadanía sin condiciones que mantenga a todas las familias juntas. [Artículo original aquí]

El jueves, los inmigrantes en Long Island y sus aliados realizaron una conferencia de prensa en la que elogió la “Banda de los Ocho” y al senador de Nueva York Charles Schumer, por introducir un proyecto de ley y dar el primer paso para iniciar este debate legislativo largamente esperado. Inmigrantes y activistas expresaron su voluntad común de lograr una legislación que haga todo lo posible para garantizar la unidad de las familias inmigrantes, el fin de las deportaciones y una vía rápida a la ciudadanía a once millones de inmigrantes indocumentados de la nación, que incluyen aproximadamente 100 000 habitantes de Long Island.

Carlos Reyes, miembro de Se Hace Camino Nueva York, dijo: “Este proyecto de ley es un primer paso hacia la justicia para nuestra comunidad, hemos votado en noviembre para hacer la reforma integral de  inmigración una realidad, por lo que nos alegramos que la “Banda de los Ocho” haya  presentado este proyecto de ley. Sin embargo, sabemos que este proyecto de ley no es lo ideal, y vamos a seguir trabajando para un mejor proyecto de ley que mantenga todas las familias juntas, incluidas las familias LGBT, que no se base en asegurar la frontera para iniciar el camino hacia la ciudadanía, y que no sean necesarios 13 años para que este proceso puede lograrse. Esperamos con interés trabajar con el senador Schumer y la “Banda de los Ocho” para lograr un proyecto de ley final que refleje los valores y las necesidades de nuestras comunidades “.

Patrick Young, director del programa del Centro de Refugiados Centroamericanos, declaró: “100.000 inmigrantes indocumentados de Long Island están dispuestos a convertirse en socios de pleno derecho en el desarrollo de nuestra región, y este proyecto ayuda a comenzar ese proceso.”

Lorraine Jackson, de Comunidades para el Cambio de Nueva York, dijo: “Estoy muy emocionada de ver un plan de inmigración que se centra en mantener unidas a las familias y dar un camino a la ciudadanía para los 11 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados. Tengo la esperanza de que este plan puede pasar a través de la Cámara y el Senado y proporcionar una vía para que las familias permanezcan juntas “.

Otoniel Figueroa-Durán, Representante para Long Island de la Unión 32BJ, dijo: “Estamos decididos a hacer todo lo posible para aprobar una reforma migratoria este año. Los inmigrantes de hoy son los profesionales y empresarios del mañana si les ayudamos a conseguir este proyecto de ley aprobado. Puede significar el final de una mano de obra de segunda clase que está llevando los salarios hacia abajo para todos y el principio de una economía más fuerte “.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, Director Ejecutivo de Long Island Wins declaró: “La introducción del proyecto de ley de inmigración del Senado es un paso histórico, sin embargo, es un primer paso de muchos por venir. El impulso de una reforma migratoria responsable de sentido común sigue creciendo. Este anuncio representa un nuevo paso clave para arreglar nuestro roto sistema de inmigración federal y su sustitución por una ley en la que, finalmente, se pueda sacar a los inmigrantes de las sombras y maximizar sus contribuciones a Long Island y los Estados Unidos “.

Anita Halasz, organizadora de Trabajos con justicia de Long Island, afirmó: “Estamos muy contentos de ver por fin un proyecto de ley . Damos las gracias a los ocho senadores por incluir disposiciones firmes para los trabajadores, la protección contra el robo de salarios, la protección de las personas que necesitan hablar sobre los abusos, y garantizar que todos los trabajadores, independientemente de la ciudadanía reciban un trato de igualdad en el lugar de trabajo “.

Miralia González, miembro de los Servicios para la Promoción de la Mujer (SEPA Mujer), dijo: “Estoy encantada de que se haya presentado este proyecto de ley. Quiero que todos en mi comunidad puedan tener documentación para que sus familias puedan estar todas juntos y verse unos a otros “.

Amol Sinha, el Director del capítulo de Suffolk de la Unión de Libertades Civiles de Nueva York, dijo: “La concesión a los indocumentados de un camino a la ciudadanía es un paso en la dirección correcta para tantas familias inmigrantes en Long Island. El sistema de inmigración ha sido disfuncional durante demasiado tiempo, y si bien esta propuesta no es perfecta, es un buen primer paso para arreglar nuestro sistema roto. La NYCLU espera con interés trabajar con legisladores y defensores para lograr una reforma migratoria sensata que respete los derechos civiles de todos los estadounidenses “.

Los Grupos representados son: Se Hace Camino Nueva York, Comunidades para el Cambio de New York , el Centro de Refugiados Centroamericanos, el Local 32BJ SEIU, Trabajos con Justicia de Long Island, Long Island Wins, Servicios para la Promoción de la Mujer (SEPA Mujer), Unión de Libertades Civiles de Nueva York , el Comité de Acción Política haitiano-estadounidense, el Consejo de Salud y Bienestar Social de Long Island y Defensores de Estudiantes inmigrantes de Long Island.

Estas organizaciones realizarán una serie de eventos y acciones para continuar con la educación,  participación y  movilización de los inmigrantes y sus aliados en Long Island en el proceso de adopción de una reforma migratoria.

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Newsday: Immigration bill raises hope, concern on LI

Immigration bill raises hope, concern on LI

The immigration bill making its way to the U.S. Senate this week stoked the hopes of millions of immigrants awaiting legalization as well as the concerns of those who found its enforcement provisions lenient.

For tens of thousands of Long Island immigrants, though, the proposal represents a chance to pursue long-term goals as legal residents.

Juan Medina, 17, a Uniondale High School senior who has lived in the United States since age 10, said he doesn't mind that under the plan he would wait five years to gain full legal residency, or that his parents would pay penalties and wait 10 years, as long as they get a chance.

"It's something positive that it's going to help many of us," said Medina, a Honduras native. "The wait could have been shorter but I'll take this." He plans to attend community college while he waits, with hopes of enrolling in the Marines as soon as he has full legal status.


Wide range of provisions

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act -- a proposal put together by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators dubbed the "Gang of Eight" and summarized in a memorandum obtained from congressional aides -- drew fire from both camps in the legalization-versus-enforcement fight.

President Barack Obama, briefed on the bill by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), recognized the difficulty of crafting a workable plan. "This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me," he said.

The bill includes a wide range of provisions to secure the border, grant documentation to immigrants living in the country illegally and open legal paths for future immigrants.

At the proposal's core is the establishment of a yearslong road to eventual citizenship for many of the 11 million to 12 million immigrants who overstayed visas or entered illegally. An estimated 705,000 live in New York.

Most immigrants seeking to stay legally would pay $500 registration fees, back taxes and processing costs as they become "registered provisional immigrants." After 10 years and a $1,000 penalty, they could gain permanent residency, entering the citizenship queue.

"Dreamers," those brought as minors, and agricultural workers would be exempt from the penalties and would land on faster citizenship tracks. Only those here before Dec. 31, 2011, would qualify.


Some disappointment

The bill represents "a historic step forward," said Patrick Young, of the Central American Refugee Center, a nonprofit with offices in Hempstead and Brentwood.

Immigrant advocates are concerned about the long wait, costs, the 2011 cutoff date and the exclusion of LGBT families, but see the plan as progress.

"We are happy and encouraged to see that, finally, we have an immigration bill," said Luis Valenzuela, of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance.

Enforcement proponent Barrett Psareas, of the Nassau County Civic Association, sees the bill as "horrible, totally horrible" because "it's unfair to the taxpayers of this nation" because it rewards illegal activity.

Ira Mehlman, of the pro-enforcement Federation for American Immigration Reform in Washington, D.C., called it "amnesty" that "provides lots more labor for business interests in spite of the fact that we have high levels of unemployment."

There also is disappointment in immigrant communities.

Janet Farfán, an Ecuadorean immigrant in Bay Shore, didn't expect the kind of reform that could cost thousands.

"The income of many of the affected families on Long Island is very low," said Farfán, 59.

With AP

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Reform Immigration FOR America: Why I Fight on April 10th

Why I Fight on April 10th

[Original article here]

On April 10th, I will make my voice heard loud and clear for comprehensive immigration reform.  I will travel from the wee hours of the morning to rally at our nation’s capital and demand that Congress fix our broken immigration system.

Thirteen years ago, I came to this country from El Salvador because I knew that in America, it doesn't matter where you come from, but where you're going. I fled a violent civil war that ravaged my native land to come to this country in search of a better life for my family. I came to work hard and in search of the American dream.

After years of hard work, I am now months away from becoming a naturalized citizen and currently an active member of Make the Road New York, a community organization that builds the power of working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, education, and survival services.

Although the road has not been easy for me, I can proudly say that I have achieved the American dream. I live in a country where the impossible is possible, a nation of opportunity, of immigrants, of hope.

But not everyone has enjoyed the same opportunities. While I may be close to becoming a citizen, I am tired of seeing families needlessly torn apart by deportations. Too many of my neighbors and relatives live in fear. We need to make sure that all of our families can remain together.

That’s why we’re demanding real and just immigration reform that provides a realistic path to citizenship and preserves family unity. My community has suffered for too long, and I can no longer stay silent. My name is Maria Flores and I will make my voice heard on April 10th—can I count on you to join me?

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Noticia: Respondiendo al llamado

Respondiendo al llamado

Steve McFarland* [Original article here]

La semana pasada en estas páginas, la Editora de Noticia, Eliana López, escribió sobre la necesidad de cultivar latinos que representen nuestra comunidad en organizaciones y posiciones políticas. Los latinos conforman un creciente sector del electorado de Long Island y una parte esencial de nuestra cultura y economía local. 

En noviembre hicimos escuchar nuestras voces en las mesas electorales como nunca antes, pero aún vemos pocos candidatos locales latinos. En referencia a los asuntos que afectan nuestra vida diaria, desde derechos civiles a servicios locales, muchas veces dejamos que otros hablen por nosotros, o no hablamos en lo absoluto.

En esta temporada de nuevo crecimiento, es tiempo de que nuestra comunidad aproveche el momento para fortalecer nuestras voces y prepararnos para tomar el liderazgo: ya sea trabajando por un mejor vecindario o por un mejor sistema migratorio.

En las próximas semanas, La Mesa Cívica de Long Island estará ofreciendo oportunidades para dicho crecimiento. El sábado 6 de abril, en Hempstead, estaremos entrenando a voceros comunitarios por una reforma migratoria comprensiva. Nuestras historias son una fuente de fortaleza en el movimiento a favor de un cambio progresivo. El entrenamiento de voceros enseñará a los residentes cómo enfocar sus historias para los medios de comunicación y los oficiales electos, antes de la marcha nacional por la reforma migratoria en Washington DC el 10 de abril.

Posteriormente, el 27 y 28 de abril, estaremos realizando un entrenamiento de dos días de duración para desarrollar las habilidades de liderazgo organizacional y de defensa de derechos en nuestras comunidades. Para más detalles o para confirmar su participación en estos entrenamientos, comuníquese al (516) 366-0259.

Noticia escribió “Se buscan líderes” la semana pasada, pero no debemos esperar por otros para dar un paso adelante. Nuestras comunidades lograrán más poder cuando cada uno de nosotros pueda reconocer su poder. Hay muchos líderes potenciales entre nosotros, ahora solo debemos identificarlos, entrenarlos y fomentar su crecimiento. 

*Oganizador de La Mesa Cívica de Long Island en el Condado de Nassau.

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Comunidad y Trabajadores Unidos: Lineas en la tierra por Inmigración y distritos electorales

Lineas en la tierra por Inmigración y districtos electorales

[Artículo original aquí]

Las ultimas elecciones crearon una gran ola para empujar por una reforma migratoria, pero los legisladores quieren cambiar las reglas del juego, para marginar el voto minoritario. En este programa tenemos la noticia de ultimo minuto en cuanto a Inmigración, con la participación de un analista legislativo del National Council of la Raza. Luego escucharemos como el Condado de Nassau esta cambiando el mapa de los Distritos Electorales, el cual va a marginar a la comunidad minoritaria.

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Newsday: Time to recognize strengths of LI's immigrants

Time to recognize strengths of LI's immigrants

Immigrant-rich Elmont pulled off the almost-impossible two years ina row.

First, the multiethnic community, home to Haitian, Asian, East Asian and other immigrants, pulled behind newcomer Carrié Solages to defeat a veteran county legislator in 2011.

One year later, the community did it again, making another newcomer, Solages' sister, Michaelle, the first person of Haitian heritage elected to the state Assembly.

The community's political prowess was likely one reason why it was divided in a new redistricting map signed last week by NassauCounty Executive Edward Mangano.

The new map was drawn to give Republicans -- as it had been a decade earlier to give Democrats -- an election advantage in a county where the immigrant population is booming.

But did Republicans do themselves harm by ignoring requests fromElmont -- and a host of other Nassau communities -- that wanted to remain the same?

The answer is no, unless residents turn their anger into votes.

"Angry doesn't do it," Michael Dawidziak, a political consultant who has worked on campaigns for Republicans and Democrats, said in an interview as we stood outside a forum in Patchogue. "Angry and turning out to vote against what made you angry does."

Dawidziak was one of many -- including a Suffolk County lawmaker and a Babylon town board member -- attending the forum called "The Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform."

The discussion, mostly about immigration and its impact on Long Island, was especially relevant as the nation -- finally! -- begins the process of refashioning a failed immigration policy.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times Monday, a bipartisan group of senators have agreed on a path to legal status for millions of illegal residents -- although it's too early to know specifics of what that would entail.

The moves in Washington may have provided a backdrop to Monday's discussion in Patchogue, but on Long Island, when it comes to immigration, several things already are clear.

Immigrants -- such as those who voted in Elmont, and those who spoke up against the redistricting proposal in Nassau -- are changing the region.

Legal and illegal, they account for the fastest-growing population, and that's important because without immigrants, Long Island likely would have lost a congressional seat after the last U.S. census.

Immigrants are opening businesses, providing a needed boost to communities such as Hicksville; and they are essential to farming and other portions of the local economy.

According to a Sunday Newsday report, the number of students is declining in many local school districts -- except in communities where immigrant populations are growing.

If the projections of falling student enrollment hold, there could come a time when it will cost twice as much to educate half the current number of students in some of the region's wealthier school districts.

Would that make the idea of countywide school districts -- which, even now, would provide significant property tax relief -- palatable?

Such are the policy and economic challenges the region will have to grapple with as immigrants grow in number, economic strength and political power.

Long Island's strength is in its present -- with immigrants who are increasingly essential to the region's well-being and future growth.

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Patchogue Patch: Immigration Reform Forum At Congregational Church Monday

Immigration Reform Forum At Congregational Church Monday

Forum to include Congressman Tim Bishop, representatives from various organizations.

A forum on the economic benefits of immigration reform will be taking place at the Congregational Church of Patchogue Monday morning at 10:30 a.m.

According to a release, panelists include Congressman Tim Bishop and representatives from Long Island Association, Long Island Federation of Labor, Long Island Farm Bureau, Local 32BJ (SEIU) and Local 1102 (RWDSU).

The forum is being hosted by David Dyssegaard Kaillick of the Fiscal Policy Institute.

The event is part of the "Growing a Diverse Long Island" series organized and co-hosted by Long Island Civic Engagement Table (LICET), Noticia and Long Island Wins (LIW).

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Newsday: Nassau lawmakers approve redistricting maps

Nassau lawmakers approve redistricting maps

The approval means that hundreds of thousands of residents may find themselves in new districts with new legislators. (3/5/13)

MINEOLA - Lawmakers in Nassau have voted along party lines to approve redistricting maps.

The approval means that hundreds of thousands of residents may find themselves in new districts with new legislators on their ballots. The maps split up the Five Towns and parts of Hempstead. Elmont is also now in the same district as Inwood.

Democrats say Republicans purposely split up and diluted heavily Democratic and minority districts to give themselves a political leg-up. Republicans say the new map is fair and represents the changing population according to the latest census.

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