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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

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, Long Islanders taking mass transit may find themselves caught up in the mad dash of the holiday rush. But on the Oyster Bay line, riders are lucky in that they don’t experience the same level of stress over parking as some of the busier lines do.

“The Oyster Bay station never seems to get that crowded, but we’ll see what happens during Thanksgiving holiday when a lot of people come to visit families. I don’t think I’ll have a problem commuting, though,” says Michael Miniero, an Oyster Bay resident who regularly commutes to work on the LIRR.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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