New York AG Chimes In On Arizona's Breathing While Brown Immigration Law


The constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration law currently is being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court -- and for some reason New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman decided to chime in in the form of a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the SCOTUS this morning.

If you're unfamiliar with SB 1070 -- Arizona's controversial law -- it basically gives local law enforcement agencies in Arizona the authority to ask the immigration status of its citizens and enforce federal immigration laws. Unfortunately for Arizona, enforcing immigration laws is the responsibility of the federal government -- not the states -- and there in lies the problem.

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Advocates Look Toward Next Redistricting Frontier: City Council Lines

CUNY Center for Urban Research
If you redistricting fanatics out there were lamenting the fact that the drama around the drawing of new Congressional lines in the state is starting to wind down, fear not! Every ten years, states across the country redraw district lines based on new U.S. Census population counts. In the wonderful land of Albany, that can lead to chaos and exhausting all-nighters. On Monday, federal judges imposed a court-drawn revision of the state's Congressional districts -- marking somewhat of a conclusion to the long drawn-out battle (but the excitement's never really over, is it?)

Here at the Voice, we've focused our attention to some of the immigrant advocacy groups that have been pushing for a fair redistricting process that draws lines that are accurate reflections of the city's changing demographics.

One of the groups that has been making recommendations from the get-go is not taking a break from redistricting advocacy and today began devoting its attention to the next frontier: City Council districts.

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AG Eric Schneiderman Will "Never Ask Your Immigration Status" In Employment Beefs

illegalass.jpg doesn't matter -- as long as Eric Schneiderman's the New York Attorney General.
If you're an illegal immigrant working in New York, you've got a friend in a pretty high place: the New York Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman penned an op-ed yesterday, in which he vows to "never ask your immigration status, or share immigration information with federal authorities" if you find yourself the victim of unfair labor practices -- specifically if you're getting taken advantage of by your employer because of your less-than-legal immigration status.

That's right, the state's top prosecutor is willing to turn a blind eye to federal immigration laws in order to go after predatory employers, whom, in most cases, are U.S. citizens.

We have a feeling Schneiderman won't be making too many friends in Arizona, where the state government has decided to take it upon itself to handle its illegal immigration problem -- the feds be damned.

Schneiderman offers the following scenarios -- which he says have occurred in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx -- to justify his position on labor disputes between illegal immigrants and employers:

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Immigrant Groups, Alongside Bill de Blasio, Push Dream Act with Fellowship

de blasio NYIC.jpg
Sam Levin
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at the The New York Immigration Coalition.
When Yelky Ramos, a 20-year-old undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was filling out college applications, her counselor told her that she would have a rough time getting the scholarships she needed.

"My counselor said, 'There's a lot of great opportunities out there, but unfortunately, you don't have those nine digits that would allow you to apply for them,'" recalled Ramos, who is now a senior at Baruch College pursuing a degree in public affairs.

"It is very hard being an undocumented student. It is extremely hard to go to bed at night not knowing if you're going to be able to one day practice what you're studying. Sometimes I go to bed at night and I cry, because I don't know if tomorrow when I graduate I'll be able to do what I want to do," she said.

Ramos, speaking at an event yesterday afternoon at the New York Immigration Coalition, or NYIC, is one of ten New York City students who have received the DREAM Fellowship, a semester-long program that gives undocumented students scholarships to continue their education and places them in internships at immigrant advocacy groups in the city.

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Study of City's South Asian Immigrants Documents Housing and Employment Struggles

Chhaya Community Development Corporation
South Asians make up one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the city -- increasing by more than 150% over the last two decades -- and one Queens-based nonprofit group has spent the last year-and-a-half surveying the community and documenting its housing and employment trends.

Today, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, a Jackson Heights immigration organization, is releasing the findings of that report, called, "Deepening Roots and Creating Space: Building a Better Future for New York's South Asians." The study outlines the ways in which the recession has hit this specific immigrant community, which is most prominent in Queens. The organization collected information on housing trends of overcrowding, evictions, and displacements, and also looked at larger barriers to employment for South Asians in the city.

The report, which is being released and discussed today at a policy forum at New York University, was based on 440 surveys and six focus groups with 66 residents in seven different languages.

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Oak-Jin Oh, Former Housekeeper, Accuses Buddhist Monk of Enslaving Her

buddhist monk .jpg
A different, much less sinister Buddhist monk.
A 60-year-old Korean immigrant has accused a Buddhist monk and his family of enslaving her and holding her captive for 12 years against her will. Oak-Jin Oh says she was placed with the Choi family by an employment agency in South Korea and smuggled into the U.S. "under the cover of night" by patriarch Soo Bok Choi, a Buddhist monk who had a temple in Little Neck until 2001. The Chois allegedly forced Oh to work long hours for no pay, barely ever allowing her out of the house and threatening her if she ever tried to leave.

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Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Outs Himself as an Illegal Immigrant

In Sunday's edition of the New York Times Magazine, online today, a former Washington Post reporter and senior contributing editor for The Huffington Post, Jose Antonio Vargas, tells the story of his own life as an undocumented immigrant. Sent by his mother to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 12, even Vargas had no idea of his illegal status until a D.M.V. worker told him his green card was fake. To get work as a adult, Vargas used counterfeit documents, including at HuffPo and the Post. As if this wasn't a juicy enough media story, there's yet another (more meta) angle: Vargas planned to write his confessional tale for the Post's Outlook section, only to have them back out and kill the story; the Times Magazine scrambled to make room for it in only 48 hours. More details inside Press Clips, our daily media column! Plus, another set of insights from Bill Keller and the possibly end of the inflight magazine.

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Today in El Diario: Alcohol's Deadly Toll

Drowning in drink

New Yorkers drink a lot, so there's always a steady stream of hospitalizations and emergency room visits because of booze, and some of the city's immigrant communities are leading the way, according to the Spanish-language daily.

In 2009, alcohol led to 70,000 emergency room check-ins for adults between the ages of 21 and 64. For people 12-20, the paper reports, more than 4,000 E.R. registrations stemmed from the sauce.

In NYC Vital Signs, a report put together by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, officials noted that Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona are the neighborhoods with the most alcohol-related hospitalizations, El Diario reports.

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