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Letter: Prejudicial Immigration Policies Hurt Local Government

The pandering rhetoric of politicians on the subject of immigration is a throwback to a time when slavery was the law of the land and later in the 1920s when we restricted immigration, establishing quotas based upon ethnicity and countries of origin. The Irish, Germans and Italians all successfully assimilated here but some candidates believe that we should expel the 11 to 15 million undocumented immigrants here, most arriving from south of the border.

They, like our forbearers, are just looking for better lives for themselves and their families. They live in an underground economy, forced to drive illegally because they cannot secure Social Security numbers or drivers licenses. They are packed into illegal substandard housing where they pay enormous rents in cash to absentee, unscrupulous landlords.

They work as day laborers, low-end jobs, which few citizens would accept. They have no medical insurance, Workmen’s Compensation or Disability. When they are injured in the often-dangerous jobs that they are compelled to take, they have no coverage. Without a bilingual education they are unable to secure better paying jobs; their children struggle in school and their assimilation into the rest of our society and culture is at a standstill.

While candidates for the presidency come up with impossible solutions, local governments are forced to balance individual rights with enforcement of existing laws regarding housing and the unlicensed operation of motor vehicles. In my court I am charged with the responsibility of upholding the Constitution and at the same time preserving the residential character of the community. These two issues are often in conflict because of the added burdens placed on local governments, including our school, water and garbage districts, as a result of illegal housing and unworkable immigration policies.

Legalizing the immigrants who come here would allow for their documentation and taxation that would then alleviate many of the problems that we have in local government. So far not a single politician for national office has had the courage to realistically speak out on this issue.

Hon. Thomas F. Liotti
Village Justice, Westbury
Attorney, Garden City