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N.Y. Senators Are Pushed on Immigration Print E-mail
From The New York Sun Times

Immigration advocates in New York are stepping up pressure on Senator Clinton and Senator Schumer, saying they have been disappointed in the lawmakers for their low profiles on the issue.

While members of Congress from across the country have weighed in on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, proposing legislation and speaking out against restrictive measures, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Schumer have been relatively silent, to the dismay of community leaders in New York.

"Immigrant communities in New York are looking for a lot more leadership from our senators when it comes to immigration reform," the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, Chung-Wha Hong, said. "Their being silent makes them tacit supporters of an enforcement-only approach."

Ms. Hong said the senators have been absent on more than one major piece of legislation. For example, she said, they did not speak out forcefully against the Real ID Act, which created national measures for driver's licenses earlier this year. Nor have they responded to an immigration enforcement bill that passed in the House last week.

"They have the symbolic importance of New York and the support of the country, and they are instead choosing to stay on the safe side, which is no side, showing a lack of interest and a total lack of leadership," the executive director of the Latin American Integration Center, Ana Maria Archila, said. "In the Senate they're just basically handing over the conversation to the right."

Mrs. Clinton's and Mr. Schumer's offices did not respond to requests for comment.

Another immigration bill popular with New York immigration advocates, the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, was introduced by Senator Kennedy, a Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator McCain, a Republican of Arizona. It would allow the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in America to have a chance for permanent legal residency after paying fines, passing a background check, and completing a period under a temporary visa.

Continued at The New York Sun Times

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