Long Island’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric is Rooted in Lies

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The presidential election is one day away, and much misinformation about the immigrant community and the candidates that in some way support it remain. Let’s start by clarifying that we are not a community of rapists, thieves, or killers. We are in fact a multitude of peoples with distinct cultural values and backgrounds, who for the most part stay out trouble and work hard for our families and our fellow neighbors.

Our community is humble, and it is precisely for that reason that it is often used as a scapegoat by weak politicians who would otherwise not be able to mount credible campaigns. Indeed, they paint us as takers who enjoy services such as welfare and free education, among others, without paying taxes. They will even go as far as to accuse candidates and elected officials who support our community of plotting to make us eligible to vote. Absolutely none of those things are true. To begin, taxes are perhaps the most inescapable component of living in the United States. We all pay taxes: when we pay the rent, our landlords factor the property taxes they must pay into our rent fee; most goods we purchase are taxed; a great percentage of the immigrant workforce pay income taxes via social security numbers for those who are DACA Eligbile, or ITN numbers. In New York alone, undocumented immigrants pay over one billion dollars into the system, and in the country, that figure stands around 12 billion. A great percentage of the taxes we pay fund social security and other services indispensable to millions of U.S. citizens., none of which we get back.

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What’s sad to see is that these weak politicians will paint our community in such a negative way when their very constituents benefit from our presence here. What’s more, they scream bloody murder whenever a pragmatic representative recognizes our contributions and proposes aiding our community by supporting programs and bills essential to our community’s well being. Take for example the Dream Act. The New York State Assembly has passed the Dream Act several years but the bill has never become a reality because the New York State Senate has failed to pass it due to Long Island Senators spreading false information that it would unfairly burden New York State taxpayers. Now that we have candidates willing to support the Dream Act, our opponents have used this legislation, which has the quality of life of our young people in its hands, as a divisive tool for to increase anti-immigrant sentiment among voters on Long Island.  New York DREAM Act, a legislation that will cost the average tax payer 87 cents a year, will simply allow immigrant children to have the equal access to financial aid along their peers. It will not take away financial aid from citizens, and it is certainly not free tuition. It simply means, all residents of New York State who make under $80,000 a year will qualify  for financial aid- citizen and non-citizen alike.

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New York has over the centuries embraced waves of immigrants seeking a better life. They’ve all gone through a long process in order to obtain the rights and privileges they now possess. We are no different. A recent Newsday Article showed that Long Island leads in economic contributions by immigrantsm, and that one in three children on Long Island come from an immigrant household. Candidates who support the New York DREAM Act know that having more college educated workers means a more prosperous Long Island.  We ask for voters to go to the polls and vote with our youth and prosperity in mind, and not with sensationalized fear.

Sincerely,

The Long Island DREAM Act Coalition

 

REGISTRATION OPEN for Prayer Brunch

Each year in December, Long Island Jobs with Justice commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by honoring a champion of human rights right here on Long Island. This year, our event theme will focus on standing in solidarity with refugees.

This year’s honorees are: Rural & Migrant Ministry (RMM) and Boris & Uriel Martinez

In the Spring of 2016, Rural & Migrant Ministry requested the support of Long Island Jobs with Justice, along with many other Long Island organizations and individuals, in an effort to call for the release of Uriel Martinez, a 19-year-old brother of a Long Island farmworker leader, Boris Martinez, and a refugee from El Salvador, who was being held at the infamous Stewart Detention Center in Georgia for attempting to flee violence in El Salvador.

Uriel faced threats in El Salvador to join a gang. Other members of his family who refused to join gangs were murdered. The gangs were especially interested in Uriel because he is very good in karate. He has won various international competitions including, the Caribbean and Central American games.

While in detention, Uriel become ill and was not provided proper medical attention. Uriel’s brother, Boris, sought legal counsel and community support in his fight to get his brother released and gain custody him. Rural & Migrant Ministry was there with him every step of the way. Long Island Jobs with Justice supported by accompanying Boris to family court hearings and sat as Witnesses to his and Uriel’s case. After multiple court hearings justice was served and Uriel was released and reunited with Boris!

Individual Tickets: $25
Note: online ticket purchase includes a $1.50 processing fee

REGISTER & PAY ONLINE: http://bit.ly/2eltIg

or

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM

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**PRESS RELEASE**: Bus Riders’ Pleas Fall on Deaf Ears

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 10th, 2016

CONTACT:

Aaron Watkins-Lopez
Organizer, Long Island Bus Riders’ Union
awlopez.lijwj@gmail.com
516-724-6145

Bus Riders’ Pleas Fall on Deaf Ears

Suffolk County, NY— On Monday October 10th, Suffolk County cut 10 bus routes: the S71, 7D/E, 10A, 10D/E, S90, S35, 5A and 1A in an attempt to save $4 million, annually, and fill the $129.4 million county deficit. These cuts come after a month-long push from bus riders, bus drivers, Legislators, advocates and community members to postpone any cuts until 2017, citing a proposal from Suffolk County to get a system-wide onboard analysis done of all Suffolk County Transit routes.

In addition to calling on a Moratorium on the bus cuts, advocates brought several alternatives to the County’s attention, yet none were heeded. Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island, whose Smart Growth organization found monies that could have been used to stop the cuts had this to say:

“While the Suffolk County budget has structural deficits, there are offsets in the current County budget that could be have been made at the meeting last Wednesday, October 5th, to stave off these cuts. Unfortunately the legislature couldn’t reopen the budget at that meeting; only the County Executive could have. Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider was present at the meeting, and did petition the Legislature to act on a completely unrelated item. Several Legislators did say to the Deputy County Executive they felt that there were more important budgetary matters to address that day, including the bus cuts, however bus cuts were not brought up by the Executive’s office at the meeting.”

After weeks of public hearings, testimonies, press conferences, petitions and phone calls, many bus riders’ felt ignored and discarded by the current administration. Aaron Watkins-Lopez, Organizer of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union and Stony Brook resident, felt confused by the cuts and the obvious disconnect between Executive Bellone’s “Connect LI” platform:

“The only thing that is more disconnected than Bellone’s ‘Connect LI’ plan, is his understanding of the wants and needs of his constituents. Over 300 people testified publicly, called and emailed his office with the clear message that they needed these buses running but, instead of listening to their pleas, the County Executive decided that the county’s deficit should be shouldered by those who are barely able to survive in Suffolk,” Watkins-Lopez lamented, “It’s disgusting.”

Jon Siebert, a resident of Mastic Shirley and a 7D/E user voice his opposition to these cuts as well:

“If the County Executive had the power to postpone these cuts until a proper analysis is complete to better understand the impacts of cuts, what improvements can be made in order to have an efficient transit system, and to better serve riders, then he should have. There is a survey ready to go soon to analyze the bus system and see what should be changed, however it comes after cutting 10 routes! That makes no sense…”

On bus rider, Paul Pressman, felt that there is a lack of commitment and empathy from Suffolk politicians to public transportation and bus riders:

“One important point is that not one political officer of the county ever took a bus, so why would they worry how it works or runs? Because it’s their job to serve the citizens who rely on the service of public transportation. The same people who voted those politicians into office and whose hard earned money pays for these county services.”

Advocates also warned that an incomplete analysis of the overall impact those cuts would have on Suffolk Communities will come back in various negative ways: approximately 30 bus drivers were slated to lose their jobs along with the bus cuts; 8 different communities, all with plans of transit-oriented revitalization, will lose vital buses; many local downtowns will lose the commerce and workforce that the buses bring in. Long Island Jobs with Justice’s Director Anita Halasz commented on these unforeseen effects:

“Efficient transportation reduces public costs that local governments often have to finance, while inefficient transportation increases these costs, and adds to local deficits. Not investing in our County’s bus system not only segregates the most underrepresented communities, but it is also fiscally irresponsible.”

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Long Island Bus Riders’ Union is an organization of Nassau County bus riders and public transit advocates that supports affordable, equitable, and accessible mass transportation. The Bus Riders’ Union originated with the Coalition to Save Long Island Bus and is a project of Long Island Jobs with Justice.

SAVE THE DATE: Human Rights Day Prayer Brunch

Each year in December, Long Island Jobs with Justice commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by honoring one champion of human rights right here on Long Island. This year, we are proud to honor Rural and Migrant Ministry, an organization that has been standing with the rural and migrant communities of New York State, including farmworkers on Long Island.

Please save the date and join us on Friday, December 9th, from 10am-12pm, as we celebrate and honor the remarkable humanitarian work of Rural and Migrant Ministry. Location will be announced shortly.

Visit this link to pledge your participation and stay connected to upcoming announcements:http://bit.ly/2czNvcl

Hope you can come!

labor-faith-prayer-brunch-std-2016Download PDF flyer here.

Rally For Good Jobs at Best Yet Market

This past Labor Day, we celebrated the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our Long Island communities. However, because profitable companies have redefined what work looks like, many Long Islanders remain bound to unstable, unpredictable, and underpaid jobs.

Best Yet Market is one of those companies!

You might be familiar with this neighborhood supermarket , but did you know that despite priding themselves on being a team-oriented, family driven company their employees lack job security, a living wage, and affordable healthcare?

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This Friday, September 9th, we will rally for good jobs that truly support Long Island families, and we will call on Best Market to do better by their workers!

Will you join us?

We will gather at the Huntington Station Best Market (711 E. Jericho Turnpike) store at 10am.

See you there!