TO ADDRESS IMMIGRATION ISSUES URGENTLY TO AVOID MORE SUFFERING
This week, former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was forced
to withdraw his nomination as the new Homeland Security Secretary
primarily because it was discovered that he employed an illegal
immigrant as a housekeeper and nanny. To the country and the world,
she is nothing more than a nameless and faceless illegal alien,
in yet another derailed nomination due to an immigration fiasco.
Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood, Bernard Kerik, and others-the casualty continues...
The press jumped all over this, as was expected. However, no one
saw fit to spend even a couple of column inches or a footnote on
the underlying problem. The lack of humanity, the deafening silence
to Emma Lazarus' immortal assurance upon which America was built,
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, New York City, 1883
Or is the issue one of simple economics? That unforgiving Law of
Supply and Demand, again? The market demands cheap labor and there
is an ample supply of it outside and inside this nationís borders.
U.S. employers and undocumented workers find themselves caught in
this reality driven by a draconian and illogical immigration policy,
and some deliberately exploit it. Slavery, legalized.
When the issue of immigration is addressed, those in positions
of power and influence neglect to address the issue in a complete
manner. Rarely faulted is the U.S. citizen employer who, for the
motivation of cheap labor, will engage an undocumented worker since
that worker would enjoy none of the protections afforded by this
nationís labor laws. Undocumented workers can be forced to work
for wages that are below the federal minimum wage, they have no
such thing as a forty-hour work week, no overtime, no coverage in
case of unemployment, and generally no medical insurance coverage.
A good deal for an employer. A raw deal and a nightmare for the
worker and the immigrant.
Itís easy to beat up on undocumented workers, the whipping boys
of American politics. Every time a politician needs some group to
blame for the failures of government, immigrants often provide an
easy target. For the American-born unemployed, the immigrants have
your job. For the American-born senior citizen, it is the immigrants
who are burdening our healthcare system so grandma may die waiting
in the Emergency Room. For the American-born driver, itís the immigrants
whose driving habits drive up the cost of insurance. And for the
American-born homeowner, itís the immigrants who are ruining our
good neighborhoods. Itís hard at times to find one problem that
is not the fault of "those evil dark-skinned people."
This untenable situation cries out for far-reaching reforms or
we run the risk of creating a permanent neo-slavery class of workers.
Real solutions to bring these untold millions of hard working people
out from the shadows and into the mainstream economy and civil society
are possible if there is the political will.
As an immigrant myself, I call upon President Bush and the U.S.
Congress to keep their campaign promise to alleviate the sufferings
of undocumented workers by enacting legislation to bring some common
sense to the reality of Americaís insatiable demand for labor and
the ability of the world to fill it legally or ďotherwise.Ē ďOtherwiseĒ
is unacceptable for both immigrant and employer.
How long will we keep paying this price for Congress' hypocritical
approach with respect to undocumented immigrants? The long list
of valuable Americans who have been denied the opportunity to serve
their country for having violated immigration's illogical and archaic
laws will continue to grow.
We must accept that we are "a nation of immigrants," and
we would not be the Great USA, had it not been for the hard work
of millions of "illegal aliens."
But, get the reality. A national strike of undocumented workers
will paralyze our country, from top to bottom, make no mistake.
The time is now. If not now, when? Congress must bring our millions
of worthy, fellow human beings into the fold of legality.
Albert Baldeo, Esq
Attorney at Law
City Council Candidate #28
106-11 Liberty Avenue,
Ozone Park, NY 11417
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE ALBERT BALDEO DECRIES RAMPANT HARASSMENT
OF COMMUNITY BY NYPD & NYPD CHRISTMAS POLICE
One of the most telling examples of our communityís current political
impotence is on display daily on Liberty Avenue when the NYPD and
the meter maids prey on any driver who stops his car for even a
These officers and meter maids seem to be hiding in the bushes
always ready to pounce on some Indo-Caribbean who stopped for a
moment to let his wife off to buy some fresh produce or to pick
up some medications for his children at the local pharmacies.
Why is this? Why is this neighborhood so special? Do other neighborhoods
get singled out for this special treatment? Is it a general rule
to treat residents like garbage? Or is this the treatment especially
reserved for Richmond Hill residents?
If we, the residents, donít earn money and donít spend money, then
where are they going to get taxes from? And why should our communityís
businesses lose customers due to the cityís insatiable appetite
for ticket fines? We can no longer stand idly by and take this kind
of eye-pass. We are in effect subsidizing our own oppression.
The heart of the matter is simple. Other communities have political
representation and we have none. When something happens in St. Albans,
Congressman Meeks is there. When something happens on Jamaica Avenue,
Councilman Comrie is there. In Howard Beach, resilient Councilman
Joe Addabbo is the custodian of his constituents' rights. But when
something happens in Richmond Hill, who do we have? Which Councilman,
Congressman, Assemblyman, or State Senator pays any attention to
We have no public official that looks like us. No one who lives
here. No one who experiences the same problems on a daily basis.
We are a community that is like a ship with no one steering it when
we encounter troubled waters, such as the basement crisis, police
profiling, hate crimes, and discrimination in all its various forms.
We have a vibrant and dynamic economic base, but no political clout.
This must and will be changed!
This is why I am running for City Council in District 28. Help
me help our community. The police play a very important role in
society, and we are willing to work in partnership with them, in
spite of the notorious "ticket quota" imposed upon them
by the higher authorities. They must respect us as hardworking and
law abiding people, not targets of oppression.
"It's just not constitutional..."