With more than 1,200 of us heading to Albany on March 14 to support the New York State DREAM Act, now is the time to make your voice heard, even if you aren’t hopping on a northbound bus.
None of Long Island’s state senators has endorsed the New York DREAM Act. Not one.
We need you to call your state senator today, and every day, between now and March 14 to try to get them on board. Unless we can convince one or two of the Long Islanders to support the DREAM Act, it will die.
Today’s New York Times reports that at least two of our state senators, Lee Zeldin and Jack Martins, are open to your calls:
Mr. Zeldin, whose district is more than a quarter Hispanic, said he was keeping an open mind about the proposal but had questions about whether it would help some students at the expense of others. He said the government could also help immigrants by addressing areas like education, gang violence, foreclosures and property taxes.
“The fact is there are several issues we also are paying attention to,” Mr. Zeldin said. “I don’t see any one issue being an end all, be all to fix that community’s problems.”
Mr. Martins, whose district is 13.8 percent Hispanic, said he wanted to make sure the Dream Act was targeted at immigrants who arrived as children.
“The issue is far more prevalent and far more important,” he said, “when you’re dealing with younger children who’ve come to this country and are here for 10, 15 years and are literally as American as anyone else.”
This does not mean you shouldn’t make a call if you don’t live in those districts. Dean Skelos, the senate majority leader, is one of the most important people in Albany and Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) is the head of the State Senate Higher Education Committee.
Call your senator and ask that New York youth, regardless of their immigration status, be given access to the Tuition Assistance Program.
If you don’t have enough incentive to call already, get this: Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has become the principal spokesperson for the anti-DREAM crowd. Here is his take how young immigrants should be treated:
The Dream Act “sends the message that there’s no distinction between being here legally or illegally…It’s hard enough that the government doesn’t enforce its borders, but now taxpayers would be subsidizing the undocumented residents.”
Levy wants to make sure we brand these young people with an “I” so we can distinguish them and discriminate against them.
Here’s who to call:
Kenneth P. Lavalle (R)
325 Middle Country Road Suite 4
Selden, NY 11784
Sen. John J. Flanagan (R)
260 Middle Country Road Suite 102
Smithtown, NY 11787
Sen. Lee M. Zeldin (R)
4155 Veterans Highway Suite 5
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
Sen. Owen M. Johnson (R)
23-24 Argyle Square
Babylon, NY 11702
Sen. Carl L. Marcellino (R)
250 Townsend Square
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Phone: (516) 922-1811
Sen. Kemp Hannon (R)
224 7th Street, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
Senator Jack M. Martins (R)
151 Herricks Road, Suite 202
Garden City Park, NY 11040
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (R)
5550 Merrick Road Suite 205
Massapequa, NY 11758-6238
Senator Dean G. Skelos (R), Majority Leader
55 Front Street
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
Feature image by Julio Salgado.