Plainview Community Forum Urges Action on Immigration Reform

The lack of meaningful immigration reform was the focus of a bipartisan community event Sunday in Plainview headlined by Reps. Peter King and Thomas Suozzi.

The forum at the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center in Plainview included discussion of comprehensive immigration reform and the need to extend protections for immigrants under DACA and TPS. Immigrants worry they will be deported in the aftermath of Trump administration calls to end protections allowing them to stay in the U.S. legally.

President Donald Trump in September said he would seek to end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and called on Congress to renew it. The Obama-era program granted protections for young immigrants who had entered the United States illegally as minors, through no fault of their own. Trump also said he would end Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, programs that offer provisional residency statuses to immigrants from countries beset by turmoil. Those protections are set to expire this year or next, depending on the country.

In New York, there are 16,200 Salvadorans and 5,200 Haitians with TPS protections, according to figures from the Center for American Progress.

 King (R-Seaford) said that TPS “is probably the easiest of all the issues, morally and govern mentally, because the people came here, they were invited into the country, they had terrible hardships in their own country, . . . they’ve raised families here.” He added, “This really should be resolved.”

“We have to sometime show the administration and show a majority of people in Congress why it is specifically a unique issue,” King said. “I’m not optimistic in the short run on that,” he said, adding, “I will do whatever can be done.”

During the forum, both congressmen addressed the growing and deadly presence of MS-13 gang violence on Long Island. “A big problem with gangs is when people are forced underground when people are afraid of government,” Suozzi said.

By Scott Eidler for NEWS DAY
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