Ready for another hot-blooded round of immigration debate? Ready or not, here it comes.
Barack Obama’s big speech was Thursday. And any moment now, the Justice Department will be filing suit against the state of Arizona, contending that the toughest-in-America immigration law is plainly unconstitutional.
So why does all this seem so far away?
It’s not that Long Island doesn’t struggle to absorb its fresh immigration, some legal, some not. It’s certainly not that our politicians are above pandering on the issue — hi, Steve Levy – or that the stresses of fresh immigration don’t pop up here and there.
See the immigrant flop houses, stacked like store shelves, and day-laborer line-ups outside Home Depot.
But compared to the roar of the border states – and compared to the roar of talk radio – life with and for new immigrants has been relatively benign around here.
Not perfect by a long short but little of the open hostility of Tucson or Albuquerque or San Diego.
Around New York and Long Island, the economy has done a relatively good job absorbing the newcomers. There are reasons for this, good reasons.
Our immigrants come from many nations, not just a few. They arrive with a mix of skill levels. The available is more diverse than farm labor and construction.
And we have a tradition – this should not be discounted – of absorbing waves of immigrations from all around the world.
We have that lady in New York harbor. She stands for something this Independence Day.
2. Your poor (give them work)
3. Your huddled masses (studio apartments or nice, suburban homes)
4. Yearning (yes, yearning)
5. To breathe free (sorry, nothing’s free around here)
ASKED AND UNANSWERED:
Another $1.60 a pack? When will the state just outlaw cigarettes and be done with it?…What happened to that too-brief chilly snap? Did the weather gods realize, “It’s July? Then never mind”?… Last state in America to pass no-fault divorce? How ’bout we file for a no-fault divorce from Albany?…How did the Gruccis get to be the official blow-stuff-up family anyway?…Are you like me? When you read the headline, “Cops: Man Slices Hand Off with Table Saw” – you couldn’t actually bring yourself to read the gory details?…That boil-water alert in Greenlawn? You understand, don’t you, you’re supposed to let the water cool before you drink it?…How much is the BP spill in the Gulf fueling wind-farm approval off LI? Some, right?…Still? Does the FAA still not know how to deal with the helicopter noise on the North Shore? How long have we been talking about that?…What’s so funny? Oh, right. The Long Island Comedy Festival, still roaring after five years. Who knew?…Axed local fave Melinda Sullivan certainly can, as judge Nigel Lythgoe put it, “dance to the beat of your drum.” But really, doesn’t dancing by definition entail moving to SOMEONE ELSE’s drum beat?…Feel like Brazilian food this weekend? No trouble getting reservations after the World Cup letdown.
NOTE TO SELF:
Don’t forget to plug “Home Team.” The new book, by Sean Payton and Ellis Henican, is just out from Penguin, getting killer reviews and selling quite briskly, thank you very much. The Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints coach and I tell the wild story of how a battered city and a beleaguered team truly inspired each to greatness. These are old homies, and it’s an honor to share their stories with you.
ELLIS’ LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK
17 LI Assembly Members
It’s not a perfect law. But finally New York is joining 49 other states that allow no-fault divorce. It’s less expensive, less brutal, less dishonest and less slow than the current divorces we’ve been suffering with. Glen Cove Democrat Charles Lavine and 16 other member of the LI Assembly delegation help put the long-awaited change over the top. St. James Republican Michael Fitzpatrick stood alone in voting against.