On February 26, Long Island Wins and the Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra will host “Long Island at a turning Point – It’s Everyone’s Opportunity,” a summit on immigration. Here we will aim to define the future direction of immigrant inclusion and integration for our region by building strategies for making the most of our region’s diversity as it relates to the opportunities presented by President Obama’s administrative relief program on immigration.Among the changes the President has enacted through his program are:
- A Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program for parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent resident children, which will allow these parents to be protected from deportations and to work legally.
- Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, opening up the program to many older “DREAMers,” by removing the top age limit.
- The discontinuation of the misguided Secure Communities (“S-Comm”) enforcement program, which eroded trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.
But these changes are not a long-term solution. “Deferred action” status is only temporary. However, these changes can mean as many as 70,000 Long Islanders will be protected from deportation, have an opportunity to work legally, remain united with their families and be full participants in their communities.
With opportunities also come challenges. Long Island will face the challenge of providing needed information and services to those who are eligible under the program. This will require a coordinated effort among state and local governments, community advocates, educators, legal service providers, healthcare providers, local businesses, and media and communication organizations.
Our summit on immigration will bring together thought leaders from seven key sectors—healthcare, immigration law, media, education, economy, government, and advocacy—which will highlight and discuss the importance of working together to build strategies to make the most of the opportunities administrative relief will bring. Doing so will lead to a more sustainable Long Island and establish Long Island as a regional leader in immigrant inclusion and integration.