It’s a vote that will likely make history on the sometimes heated issue of immigration reform. Today, local advocates are calling for speedy action by the U.S. Senate. Westbury resident Joan Sanjuan said he has been active on this issue with the group Make the Road New York for many years, and he is now optimistic that Congress is hearing the message that the time has finally come to act.
“It’s very important. There’s a lot of immigrant families that have been separated,” Sanjuan said. “Also, there’s a lot of young kids who want to better their lives, get a better education, but unfortunately they can’t do it because of their legal status.”
Reform opponents have stressed the need for more border security. A recent poll by the Harstad Research Center found that 80 percent of Long Islanders now support comprehensive immigration reform.
Coordinator Daniel Altschuler, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, said the legislation affects at least 11 million people nationwide, including hundreds of thousands in New York and communities all across the state where they live and work.
“On Long Island, there are approximately 100,000 undocumented immigrants,” Altschuler said. “Across New York State, there are over 600,000. There needs to be a way to get folks out of the shadows to be able to participate fully in our economy and our society.”
The main goal, according to Altschuler, is to get the best measure possible by the Senate. He agreed with groups that are critical of some of the amendments that were recently added, which call for a “surge” in border security.
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