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The Diversity Dilemma
The Fire Department has made major progress in the recruitment of minorities. In the filing period that just closed, nearly half of the applicants were minorities. Of the 61,439 who applied to take the test, 30,429 were either black, Latino, Asian or native American.
City Councilman Leroy Comrie and FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano deserve credit for their efforts to promote the FDNY in the city’s minority communities.
But this is just the first step. The question now is how to make certain that an equally high percentage of minorities do well enough on the written and physical tests to be among those who get hired.
In June, the Council unanimously passed a bill, introduced by Comrie, that asked the state Legislature to consider a measure that would give more credit to FDNY applicants who are New York City residents with high school diplomas or equivalent degrees.
The test must be neutral with every applicant having an equal chance. There will be a temptation to create quotas to achieve racial balance at the FDNY. That would be unfair to people of all races and we hope that does not happen.
In the same week that former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet urged graduates of LaGuardia Community College to become “global citizens,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security threatened to deport a brilliant college student and her mother back to Bangladesh.
Are we the city that encourages its young people, in the words of Bachelet, to “remember their roots and improve humanity,” or are we part of a nation that is fearful and desperately trying to protect its borders even if it means deporting the best and brightest?
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has agreed to review the case of Nadia Habib, 20, a Queens student who is facing deportation along with her mother. Nadia was a toddler when she came to America with her parents. Her father had a green card and an immigration attorney was supposedly helping Nadia and her mom. He did not.
Nadia graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and is a junior at SUNY Stony Brook. After dealing with illegal criminals in this country, ICE can start looking at the Nadias.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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