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State Assemblyman Francisco Moya took a bold stand.
“Just because someone is undocumented doesn’t mean they don’t have rights,” he said.
He made his declaration at his annual Immigrants Connect event last week at Make the Road New York. He is the author of the Assembly’s Dream Fund bill, which would provide financial assistance to the children of immigrants for higher education. He also sponsored a bill that would allow anyone with a taxpayer ID number to open a state family tuition account, designed to help immigrant families save for college.
Make the Road New York is a nonprofit that advocates for immigrants’ rights.
Not everyone in Queens will agree with him. There are those who want U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws, to take a tough stand. They want all undocumented aliens rounded up and deported.
It is estimated there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. ICE does not have the manpower to go after a fraction of them. ICE has instead chosen to focus on drug dealers, sex offenders and the like.
This is a city of immigrants. Throughout the state, nearly 30 percent of small businesses are owned by immigrants, according to the state Department of Labor. In the city, immigrants make up more than one-third of the population and almost one-half of its workforce.
It only makes sense to make it easier for immigrants to find jobs and become taxpaying members of society. Those who oppose this are shooting themselves in the foot.
The concern parents and teachers have over aging florescent lights in IS 204 in Astoria is understandable. The lights installed before 1979 contain PCB, a chemical that has been linked to cancer.
At a rally, IS 204 parent Nancy Nizza said, “We need to get the Department of Education to move.”
Before the concern turns to hysteria, some facts should be considered:
• There is no evidence anyone has been harmed. Removing the lights can be more dangerous than sitting in a classroom where they are in place and covered.
• These lights are in 800 city schools.
• The city has a 10-year plan to replace the lights and has set aside nearly a billion dollars to get this done.
Weighed against the risk, the city DOE’s response seems adequate.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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