Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Immigration wingnuttery: It’s not just a Red State thing anymore.

For all my red state and border state friends who think they hold a monopoly on anti-immigrant, wingnut politicos, I present the following from the bluest of blue states; NY - Long Island N.Y to be exact, where Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy organized a meeting of 100 local officials from 30 states — Democrats and Republicans, to discuss the growing immigration problem.

"Enough is enough," said Steve Levy, the Suffolk County Executive and co-organizer of the event. Mr. Levy became a sort of guiding light among local officials around the country after he decided last summer to help shut down boarding houses in Farmingville, N.Y., where hundreds of illegal immigrants lived in crowded conditions.

"The federal government has to adopt a sane immigration policy," Mr. Levy said.

The gathering, organized and convened here under the banner of the Coalition of Mayors and County Executives for Immigration Reform, called for border security and, most urgently, reimbursement to localities for the cost of dealing with a problem its members say the federal government has ignored.

"In recent polls, 88 percent of the people said that illegal immigration is a serious or 'somewhat serious' problem," Mr. Levy said. "Yet there just seems to be a disconnect between that and what the Congress and the media think."

New York Times

Coincidentally, the Mexican Consulate in Manhattan lists Long Island, and Suffolk County in particular, as the second most likely place in America for Mexican immigrants to experience violence, second only to the Arizona. Border … But I digress.

For good measure, because most illegal immigrants are Hispanic, the issue is loaded with racial and ethnic overtones, a reality that Mr. Levy had to face last summer when immigrant advocates in Suffolk County labeled his boarding house sweeps as racist.

"But this group has nothing to do with racism or bigotry," said Robert Vasquez, a county commissioner from Canyon County, Idaho. "We are here because we are elected United States officials, and it's our duty to uphold the laws."

Canyon County Idaho? Idaho has somewhere between 25,000 and 35,000 undocumented migrants in the whole state ranking it bellow 31 other states. But I digress again.

The officials raised many questions for the federal government. (like) Who pays for the shuttering of boarding houses like those in Farmingville?

Now, it’s not just our local officials here in the bluest of blue Long Island who are showing such concern over the growing “immigration problem”. It must be remembered that our most illustrious Congressman Peter King (NY-3) (my Congressman, I must add) was the co-sponsor, along with James Sensenbrenner of the immigrant challenged Wisconsin, of the House’s draconian immigration bill, HR 4437.

So there you have it friends. Anti-immigrant wingnuttery is no longer exclusively limited to sleepy little border towns, red states and southern backwaters. Here in the bastion of the liberal elite, where we sip our mocha lattes while driving BMW’s to our windsurfing lessons, all eat French cheese while discussing Noam Chomsky, and vote for the likes of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry … anti-immigrant wingnuttery prevails. Maybe someone will write a book “What’s the Matter with Long Island” … I’m sure it would be a bestseller.

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