Many local immigrants [including Make the Road New York] admit this would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, but today they are celebrating the summer-recess return of Republican Congressman Peter King. Rep. King was once a thorn in their sides, but now, according to Liz O’Shaughnessy, president and program director of the Long Island day-laborer advocacy group CoLoKI, Rep. King deserves recognition, especially for supporting a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
“We believe Peter King has become more moderate in his views on immigration, and that’s a very positive thing for everyone,” O’Shaughnessy declared. “So, what we’d like to do is show our support and hopefully encourage him to continue on this path.”
King will be greeted by a welcoming party of local immigrants and their supporters at his district office today. Meanwhile, he’s not to be confused with another U.S. Rep. King, Iowa Republican Steve King, who continues to take flak, including some from fellow Republicans, for likening DREAM Act immigrant students to drug mules.
Omar Angel, director of programs for La Fuente, said the changing makeup of his Long Island district and changing attitudes on immigrants are likely factors in moderating Peter King’s views on immigration.
“Representing a huge portion of immigrant community in his district, that’s one thing, and I this also reflects the change in our society; 80 percent of Long Island residents support immigration reform.”
The welcome home is likely to be less warm for Representative Steve King of Iowa, with GOP leaders condemning his now-infamous statement. Liz O’Shaughnessy described it as outrageous to be putting DREAMers in the same category as Mexican drug mules.
“That is just a ridiculous statement and nothing like that should ever be said in Congress; and it’s very important the politicians distance themselves from that kind of demagoguery,” she stated. The celebration gets going at Representative Peter King’s office in Massapequa Park at 5 p.m. today.
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