Thursday, March 15, 2007

Working Families Oppose Anti-Immigrant Bill

Working Families is fighting proposed anti-immigrant legislation in the Suffolk County Legislature. Suffolk County Working Families Chapter Co-Chair Brian Schneck called out the bill's supporters,
"Legislators need to know that working families are looking for real solutions to the problems facing us here on Long Island, not useless political grandstanding,"
The Suffolk County legislature's Public Safety committee is meeting today for a public hearing on the bill, at which we'll distribute a letter opposing the bill signed by us and SEIU Local 32BJ, UNITE HERE, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Asbestos Lead & Hazardous Waste Laborers Local 78 and Mason Tenders/Demolition Laborers Local 79.

Here's the letter:
Dear Legislator:

As affiliates of the Working Families Party, we write to register our strong opposition to Intro. Res. No.1022-2007, the so-called anti-soliciting bill. This legislation is the worst kind of political grandstanding: it exploits anti-immigrant animus while accomplishing exactly nothing of value.

The net effects of Res No. 1022 would be to (1) move day laborers from county highways to local roads, (2) score political points for its proponents with rabid nativists, (3) hurt labor’s ability to hold collective job actions, and (4) possibly infringe on the civil liberties of New Yorkers engaged in grassroots political activity.

The congregation of day laborers raises real problems. This bill solves none of them. Constructive solutions like regulated work centers would.

As affiliates of the political party to which the bill's co-sponsor belongs, we are particularly galled that this legislation is now being associated with Working Families.

Comments by the bill's prime sponsor, Legislator Eddington, make clear the intent of the legislation:
Eddington . . . told reporters that the problems of rising taxes and illegal immigration were "two sides of the same coin," and warned illegal immigrants, "You better beware." "If you're here in Suffolk County illegally, you will not stay here," Mr. Eddington said. "If you are on the street looking for work and causing unsafe conditions, you will not stay. Suffolk County residents will not be victimized anymore."
There are many victims of our nation's inadequate immigration policies, as well as the failure of government to enforce labor laws. But this bill only fuels the flames of misunderstanding and intolerance.

We've got a good chance of beating this bill, Newsday runs down the vote count. More on this as it develops.

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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for covering this important issue.

Unfortunately, the bill was reported out from committee today. It goes for a vote before the full Suffolk County legislature on Tuesday, March 20th at the RIVERHEAD location of the Legislature.

Key people to lobby: Wayne Horsley (DEM) who has been on the fence (and absent to vote today), and Ed Romaine (R) who says he will vote against the bill. His vote is greatly needed.

I am blogging on this, too at:
www dot onthewilderside dot net