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From Long Island Wins: July 18, 2013

A Troubling Alternative

I prefer thinking positive thoughts. But not everyone has the same mental habits. There are some folks who just love thinking through the absolute worst-case scenarios. What if the LIE shuts down and I can’t get home? What if Long Island beaches became infested with sharks and all are closed for the summer? What if the Mets never get their act together?

Those are all pretty crazy, right?

But now it’s worth taking a look at a possibility that seems just as crazy if it were to happen – that the House of Representatives doesn’t pass immigration reform, and our federal system stays broken.

At first thought, that possibility seems even weirder and more unlikely than that shark thing. The basic outlines of immigration reform are widely and bipartisanly popular – people across the spectrum support an accountable bill that increases border security, cracks down on businesses who try to game the system, makes sure that immigrants who pay taxes and learn English have a chance to earn a path to citizenship, and have future immigration levels tied to our economic needs.

A whopping 80 percent of Long Islanders support a bill with those outlines, according to a recent poll by Long Island Wins and the Long Island Civic Engagement Table. And even our decidedly dysfunctional U.S. Senate, which doesn’t agree on anything, passed an immigration bill by a 68-32 margin.

With all that support for change, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives drops the ball and fails to pass a bill, what does that mean?

It would mean that our broken federal immigration system would stay broken. That would mean no improved border security system. That would mean no accountability for businesses that take advantage of the law, which would affect wages for all Long Islanders. That would mean no way for hard working immigrants to earn a path to citizenship so they can pay local and federal taxes and be a full contributor to our community.

And that, frankly, would mean a poorer Long Island. We all have a stake in fixing our broken immigration system.

Long Islanders get it. A majority of people agree that immigrants generally come to Long Island to work hard and provide for their families.

History is happening now. The Senate vote was an important step in moving millions of immigrants into a responsible system. That’s good news for Long Island and good news for America. However, we know that nothing gets done -- or gets done right -- in Washington unless people keep speaking out until the fight is won. There’s a debate coming up in the House, and some politicians have set out to make this bill meaner, more punitive, and more counterproductive; or not to pass a bill at all. Our voices need to get louder and clearer: fix our immigration system now.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins, a communications organization promoting commonsense policy solutions that work for all Long Islanders.

News

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.

Diamond Fitness held its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 6. Members of the Historic Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce came out to meet Wendy Goldstein, her staff and her re-invented gym at 138 South St.

Goldstein said she was touched by the warmth of the people who came into the gym to welcome her, even before the official opening. “People came in to say hello, saying they had heard that the gym had changed hands. It warms my heart,” she said.

Goldstein attended a chamber meeting and is now a member. Nassau County Legislator Donald McKenzie helped Goldstein cut the red ribbon as chamber members Walter Imperatore and Michele Browner cheered the opening along with staff members and friends.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Plein Art Exhibit

Wednesday, Oct. 1

College Discussion

Monday, Oct. 6

Collecting Manuscripts

Thursday, Oct. 9



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com