Immigration May Make or Break NY Senate Seat Contenders

Written by on December 22, 2008 in Congress, Demographics, National Legislation, Reform with 0 Comments


Caroline Kennedy campaigning for Obama with her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy. Photo by Georgetown Voice.

Caroline Kennedy’s interest in taking over Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat for the state of New York is no secret.  Her policy positions have been less obvious.  However, this past weekend she began revealing “hints” of a platform-including immigration.

On Saturday, Ms. Kennedy’s spokesman provided written answers to 15 questions posed by The New York Times.  On the topic of immigration, Ms. Kennedy shares the views of her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy-supporting a path to citizenship for the undocumented.  In fact, Kennedy’s positions on immigration also line up pretty well with those of her potential predecessor, Hillary Clinton herself.  According to Ms. Kennedy’s aide:

“Caroline believes all undocumented workers should be required to legalize their presence in the United States and that we must create a way for them to do so,” according to her statement. “Undocumented workers should pay a fine, learn English and go to the back of the line behind those who came here legally.”

There’s also talk that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo might be in the running.  Cuomo has stood on the side of immigrants, trashing Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s harsh immigration policies, introducing a new immigrant initiative to stop phony immigration service providers, and vehemently denouncing immigration raids. Cuomo is also quoted as saying,

“…immigration reform is the responsibility of the federal government, which has failed to enact comprehensive immigration legislation. I look forward to working with the Governor to bring about the kinds of reforms that help all New Yorkers.”

New York Governor David Paterson gets to pick who will fill Hillary Clinton’s shoes. The inclinations of Paterson, who is of Grenadian and Jamaican ancestry, clearly lean towards those of Ms. Kennedy, Mr. Cuomo, and the American people.

Even with a deflated economy, the majority of Americans support immigration reforms that move undocumented workers out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls.  With New York State accounting for 1 in 10 immigrants in the country, immigration reform is bound to be particularly important in the state.  And if the new Senator from NY is looking at running in 2010, supporting and even championing comprehensive immigration reform will be key to winning the over 8,142,871 votes of New Americans who will be flocking to NY polls with immigration as one of the issues at the forefront of their minds.

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