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Archive for June, 2010

Bloomberg Wants Legal Status for Illegal Immigrants

Posted by admin On June - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Power of the Mayor

Several high powered executives have joined forces with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to force the vexing issue of immigration reform.

Chief executives of several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Disney and News Corp., have joined Bloomberg to form a coalition advocating for immigration reform — including a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants now living in the United States of America.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times, shake hands after speaking during the New York Forum, Wednesday, June 23, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The group which includes several other big-city mayors calls itself the Partnership for a New American Economy. It seeks to reframe immigration reform as the solution to repairing and stimulating the economy.

Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., appeared together Thursday on Fox News to discuss the effort.

“We’re just going to keep the pressure on the congressmen,” Murdoch said. “I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them.”

Bloomberg added, “Somebody has to lead and explain to the country why this is in our interest.”

The CEOs said Thursday in statements that their companies — and the nation — depend on immigrants.

“It’s our great strength as a nation, and it’s also critical for continued economic growth,” Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “To remain competitive in the 21st century, we need effective immigration reform that invites people to contribute to our shared success by building their own American dream.”

The group says it intends to make its point to policymakers by “publishing studies, conducting polls, convening forums and sponsoring public education campaigns.”

The tactics are similar to those used by Bloomberg’s coalition of mayors who support gun control.

Bloomberg has for years criticized the federal government for its immigration laws, proposing in 2006 a plan that would have established a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.

The billionaire mayor, a former CEO of the financial information company Bloomberg LP, also said at the time that all 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States should be given the opportunity for citizenship, saying that deporting them is impossible and would devastate the economy.

Lawmakers who wanted to deport all illegal immigrants were “living in a fantasy world,” he said.

He has recently taken up the fight again, declaring this week that U.S. immigration policy “is national suicide.”

“If you want to solve the unemployment prob in America, you have to open the doors to immigrants who will come here, create businesses, because when the tide comes in, everybody’s boat rises,” Bloomberg told reporters Thursday. “We need more immigrants, not less.”

William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Acton Committee, which supports strict immigration laws, called the CEOs “traitors” and said he and his supporters are discussing a possible boycott of the companies involved.

“What is it with these billionaires who want to betray Americans that have made them who they are?” Gheen said. “This country club doesn’t seem to care about anything but their money and power. Millions of Americans are unemployed and underemployed, and they want to turn millions of illegals into voters.”

The business and mayoral coalition’s main immigration goals are to secure the borders, develop an easy system for employers to verify work eligibility, hold companies accountable for breaking the laws and improve the use of technology to prevent illegal immigration.

It also wants more opportunities for immigrants to join the U.S. work force and a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants.

Immigration Works USA, a national federation of businesses that support immigration, welcomed Bloomberg’s group to the effort.  Tamar Jacoby, the organization’s president and CEO, said the coalition’s main contribution would likely be the extra attention and power it can bring to the debate.

“I don’t know that they’re going to be in the trenches everyday organizing grass roots, following the policy process,” Jacoby said. “It’s more a 30,000-foot approach — these big names adding their muscle to the push to get this on the table.”

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said no money has been spent on the effort yet, and he could not say whether the group will be a standard nonprofit, a political action committee or a group known as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which can operate outside the more strict limits governing political action committees.

The business leaders in the coalition employ more than 650,000 people and make more than $220 billion in annual sales, combined.

The effort marks Bloomberg’s return to national issues after he spent 2009 campaigning for a third term, focusing mostly on New York City’s municipal concerns.

The Republican-turned-independent spent about two years testing the waters for an independent 2008 presidential run, but ultimately he gave up the idea.

By recruiting business leaders and mayors into a national-issue coalition, he is highlighting his background in running a city and running a business, which could be seen as an early move to dust off his presidential aspirations.

He denied that Thursday, saying he is not running for president.

Bloomberg Battles Immigration Reform

Posted by admin On June - 29 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

NY Mayor Cries Shame on Congress

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has lashed out on Congress for its inability to address completely the Immigration Reform issue.

He cried “shame on Congress who can’t get it together,” in response to a

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at his City Hall office.

reporter’s question on Immigration Reform. He stressed that lawmakers should all look back on their history and “realise that if we had had the laws that they are proposing in many cases, they wouldn’t be here because their parents or grandparents would not have been here.”

He made the comment following a Memorial Day parade in Laurelton, Queens, a burgeoning Caribbean community.

He criticised the guest-worker programme proposed in the Senate bill which stated that immigrants would enter the country for three sessions of two years each, going home for one year between each session and returning home permanently after the third.

“The guest-worker program is a joke,” he said. “Nobody’s going to go home for a year and come back. Nobody could ever enforce that. Nobody in their right mind would ever try to do it.”

He reiterated his praise for the bill’s rejection of mass deportations of the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. About 400,000 undocumented immigrants are believed to reside in New York City.

“We don’t have an army big enough to deport them,” Bloomberg said. “It would destroy the economy if you deported them. They are here, yes, against the law, but they’re here with the complicity of the U.S. government. The U.S. government deliberately looked away since 1986, the last time we had immigration reform.”

He praised the bill’s citizenship provisions as a promising start. “Having something that gives them permanent status and some road to citizenship is a big step forward,” he said. “You don’t want that road to be so impossible that they can’t do it.

“On the other hand,” he added, “you don’t want to also make that road something that doesn’t include learning to speak English, learning the culture of this country, the laws of this country and the history of this country.”

Adrienne Gordon, 14, an eighth grader at Tri-Community Junior High School 231, asked the mayor three questions.

“How come,” she said quietly, “teachers these days in school, they don’t base their grades that they give the students on what they do in class? They base the grades on if they like the student or not?”

The mayor said: “I can’t promise that every one of our 80,000 teachers does it the right way. But I think that most of them base it on what you do in the classroom.”

Then she asked what he was doing to reduce class size. He replied that even with the largest school construction budget in municipal history, the city had been able to reduce class size by only a small percentage. “But what the teacher does in front of the classroom is more important than class size,” he said.

The in a barely audible voice she asked if he would take a picture with her and her friends.

Daisy and the First Lady

Posted by admin On June - 2 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Second-grader Puts New Spin on Immigration Issues

The innocence of a child cannot be faulted.

Had Daisy Cuevas known the precarious position she would have forced her parents into she may have asked U.S. first lady Michelle Obama something as mundane as if the white house was really white.

Daisy Cuevas far left questions first lady Michelle Obama on Immigration issue.

Instead the seven-year-old of Peruvian parents jumped on a thorny issue that brought a solemn look to the first lady’s face when she visited the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md, on May 19, 2010.

The visit carried live on television showed the brave second-grader sitting on the floor with classmates in a semi circle around the first lady. She immediately became a voice for the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the United States illegally — and a source of pride for Peru’s president, who visited Washington on Tuesday June 1, 2010.

When Mrs. Obama asked if anyone else had a question, little Daisy Cuevas’ hand shot into the air. “My mom says that Barack Obama is taking away everybody that doesn’t have papers,” she said.

“Well, that’s something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers,” Mrs. Obama replied.

Immigrants protest government policies on immigration reform.

“But my mom doesn’t have papers,” Daisy, a U.S. citizen by birth, persisted, hoping in her childish mind to perhaps here the first lady offer some sort of impromptu resolution to her mother’s illegal status.

Waiting in the wings to witness her daughter’s moment with the first lady, her mother was stunned by her query and her face paled. She burst into tears and ran from the room to call her parents in Lima, Peru, then fearful of being deported went into hiding.

Cuevas, thrilled at the idea seeing herself on television withfirst lady could not comprehend the worry on her parents’ face. She had no idea of the fear her undocumented Peruvian parents lived with every day.

“She laughed, she jumped up and down. She was excited,” her maternal grandfather, Genaro Juica, said.

The TV appearance made the pigtailed second-grader a voice of the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the United States illegally — and a source of pride for Peru’s president, who visits Washington today.

The situation is tenuous for immigrants like Cuevas’ mother. She was two months pregnant when she arrived in the U.S. with her carpenter husband. She has since found employment as a maid.

Cuevas’ parents are fearful of U.S. anti-immigration backlash, especially in the light of an Arizona law to take effect in July that gives police the right to demand ID papers of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it is not pursuing Daisy’s parents. Immigration investigations, it said, “are based on making sure the law is followed and not on a question-and-answer discussion in a classroom.”

Nonetheless, Daisy’s mother asked The Associated Press, which reported on the matter, not to name her or her husband.

And Juica, heeding an attorney’s advice, asked the news agency not to take photographs of him or other relatives in Peru.

Daisy, meanwhile, has become a celebrity in Peru.

“I’m really proud that a young girl of Peruvian origin is highlighting the enormous problem with Latin American immigration in the United States,” President Alan Garcia said, adding that be believed it would be scandalous if her parents were deported.

“Do you know how much President Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama would stand to lose?” he said.

Garcia called the Arizona law a “completely irrational response” to the illegal-immigration question, and said he would express his thoughts on the matter to President Obama during his visit to Washington.

An estimated 1.5 million Peruvians currently live in the U.S. Of those, three in five are either undocumented or in the process of legalizing their status, Peru’s consul-general in Washington, Cesar Augusto Jordan, said.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Belaunde said he considers Daisy a “successful ambassador” for compatriots in similar predicaments.

While Daisy has automatic U.S. citizenship and lives full time with her parents, her 9-year-old sister, July, is not as lucky. July was left behind with her grandparents when her parents moved to the United States to escape poverty.

The two sisters met for the first time last year when Daisy spent a month visiting her grandparents in the working-class San Juan de Lurigancho district of Lima.