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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

Legal battle looms over Arizona immigration law


USA Today has a detailed story today about the coming legal battle over Arizona’s enforcement law. The governor has created a legal defense fund, as lawsuits try to stop the law from taking effect July 29. One advocate for the law says the “alien side” has many more attorneys than the defenders of the law.

Meanwhile the rhetoric is still flying after the fact-checking of Gov. Jan Brewer’s claims about beheadings in the desert and about most illegal immigrants being drug mules.

A coalition of groups opposed to the law are due in court Thursday in their effort to stop implementation. A federal judge will here from both sides. The court motion is available here in PDF form. To read the law itself, click here.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Category: Arizona, Uncategorized

Arizona law tries to ‘rival or supplant’ immigration policy, DOJ lawsuit says


The Justice Department says Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law is designed to “rival or supplant” federal immigration policy, making it illegal. The long-expected lawsuit, filed today, also raises civil rights concerns, reports the Washington Post. Critics have protested the law for giving police broad powers to question and detain those they suspect are undocumented.

Arizona’s senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, criticized the lawsuit and defended the state law as “simply trying to protect its people by enforcing immigration law.”

The Post links to the federal complaint here.

And for a reality check on some of the public statements made lately on immigration, please check out PolitiFact’s roundup.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 5:42 pm
Category: Arizona
Tags: ,


In spy case, FBI arrests El Diario columnist in Yonkers


The 10 people arrested and accused of being “deep cover” Russian spies include a Peruvian-born El Diario/La Prensa columnist and her husband, who live in Yonkers. AP has this story about the FBI investigation and the alleged spy activity.

Vicky Palaez worked for El Diario for more than 20 years, according to the Feet in 2 Worlds blog.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
Category: FBI, Feet in 2 Worlds, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Paladino vows to ‘send state police’ in immigration enforcement


Carl Paladino, the Buffalo developer running for governor, was asked about immigration during an interview today with the Journal News Editorial Board. His web site says he opposes any “political solution aimed to absorb illegal immigrants into the fabric of America. These people took advantage of the United States; they broke our laws and many jumped on New York’s Medicaid and social welfare systems the day they arrived.”

A video of the interview can be seen here. Immigration comes up 41 minutes in.

He brought up immigration while talking about Indian casinos. (Indian casinos came up in response to a question he apparently misheard about the Indian Point nuclear power plant.)

You can’t be a resident of the state of New York if you’re not legal. So if you’re not legal, you go. That’s it. I’ll send state police and I’ll encourage all the local police departments to go out and we will also ensure that they not receive any benefits. We’re going to require proof of identification, proof of citizenship or a green card, and if they don’t have it, they’re gone. It’s going to lower the population of New York City for a while.

He was asked about a vow to put illegal immigrants on a bus to detention centers.

Generally if you’re an illegal immigrant, go and get yourself legal, or we don’t want you in our borders. We don’t want you in this state. Leave. Go someplace else.

I could almost hear immigration lawyers raising a favorite follow-up question of theirs: How do you make illegal immigrants “get legal” without a new legalization program?

Paladino, who lost the Republican nomination to former Rep. Rick Lazio, is gathering petition signatures in an effort to receive a place on the Sept. 14 primary ballot. He’s also running on the Reform Party line.

Posted by Leah Rae on Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 6:21 pm
Category: Uncategorized


What rain? Brazil soccer fans crowd around big screen in Port Chester


At Cafe Brazil in Port Chester, fans are crowded around indoor and outdoor televisions to watch today’s World Cup soccer game against Chile. For the outdoor TV on the patio, fans used a tarp and a couple of brooms as a TV tent so they could keep watching. Here’s Jaja Diminas, a musician, showing off his Brazilian flag tattoo.

Posted by Leah Rae on Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Category: Brazil, Brazilians, Port Chester, soccer, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Cool treat for a hot day: Paletas in New Rochelle


This was the kind of place to be today during the heat: Paleteria La Flor de Michoacan in New Rochelle. I took photos there for an upcoming story about summer party fare. This place has 70 flavors of popsicles, from guava to coconut to “gazpacho.”

That’s Juana and Gerardo Rodriguez in their big store at 574 North Ave. They plan to sell bread there someday, and tamales too. Gerardo’s entire family seems to be in the paleta business, from his father’s place in Mexico to his siblings’ stores in Mount Vernon and Yonkers.

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 3:49 pm
Category: New Rochelle
Tags: , ,


On WNYC: ‘Anecdotal census’ of Westchester County


The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC is discussing demographic changes in Westchester County this hour as part of its “anecdotal census” series. Scheduled guests are County Exec Rob Astorino, SUNY Purchase Prof Lisa Keller and Teresita Wisell of WCC’s Gateway project.

Tune in or see the online conversation here.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 11:17 am
Category: Brian Lehrer, census, Census 2010, immigration, Westchester, Westchester Community College, Westchester County
Tags: , ,
| | 1 Comment »

Port Chester trustee election: field notes and a fact-check on cumulative voting


Port Chester Village Hall was abuzz last night during the closely-watched tally of votes in the trustee election, the culmination of  a three-year-old voting rights case. By 1 a.m., it was down to myself and the News 12 crew waiting outside the clerk’s office along with lawyers from both sides of the legal battle.

The vote counting seemed more complicated under cumulative voting, mainly because of the six boxes/levers for each candidate. I watched as the write-in ballots were read off, showing multiple votes for John Palma and one single vote for the unannounced candidate “Fluffy.”

(Results are posted here.)

A few things worth noting today:

The big news is the election of the first Latino to the village board. But Randolph McLaughlin, the Pace Law professor representing another plaintiff in the Justice Department’s lawsuit, noted that the goal of this election system was to permit the election of a Hispanic-preferred candidate, not necessarily a Hispanic candidate. “I am curious to see whether the Hispanic candidate was preferred by Hispanic voters,” he said after the results came in. It may turn out that someone else was actually the one Hispanics rallied behind. Data crunchers will look at voting patterns in areas that are predominantly Hispanic in an effort to see how minorities used cumulative voting. If you think the voting rights case is over, remember that the court maintains jurisdiction until at least 2016. And the parties in the suit have the right to raise objections over the system in the coming weeks.

“Certainly it’s a historic day for Port Chester,” McLaughlin said.

A number of headlines around the Web emphasized the fact that Port Chester voters were given six votes, as if that were the big innovation. But the reason people got six votes is that there were six seats to fill. It would have been a more radical change (say, under “limited voting”) if people got fewer than six. It is true that Port Chester voters used to get two votes per year, because two seats were open. But the real twist is that you can stack your votes up on one person or whatever combination you wish. Given that this whole thing brings up hot-button issues of immigration, demographic changes and minority rights, the election is being spun in all kinds of ways on the Web.

Another open question is the turnout. Because of the flexibility in cumulative voting, it’s not immediately apparent how many voters turned out at the polls, Village Clerk Joan Mancuso said.

You can find more on our election page and the LoHud.com video page.

Posted by Leah Rae on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 1:58 pm
Category: Uncategorized

| | 1 Comment »

Hunger strikers press Schumer on DREAM Act, immigration reform


Sen. Chuck Schumer had a conversation with protesters in his New York office who are calling for immigration reform, specifically the DREAM Act, reports The Note. A video records hand gestures more than conversation, but clearly there’s frustration over the delayed promises to introduce legislation.

Schumer, who has released a framework for reform, has been the focus of recent protests at his offices around the area, including Peekskill. Hunger strikers, after a 10-day protest, staged a “die-in” in Manhattan.

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 at 6:42 pm
Category: Charles Schumer, DREAM Act, immigration reform


At Port Chester restaurants, World Cup fever rises


Port Chester is getting ready for the World Cup — in a big way. With just about every nation represented in the local population, restaurants are putting out signs and getting their big-screen TVs ready.

Inca y Gaucho, the Uruguayan-Peruvian place on Westchester Avenue, is advertising Uruguay vs. France tomorrow (photo at right).

Down the block, Tortilleria Los Gemelos is ready for Mexico’s game tomorrow also. But the real action will happen once the team gets to the quarter finals, owner Adelo Ramirez says.

“That’s when we go all-out,” he said this afternoon. The celebration for the Gold Cup, when Mexico beat the United States in New Jersey, was off the charts. During the World Cup, fans gather by nationality — Italian, Brazilian, and so on. “That’s the only time you get to see the Mexicans put together in Port Cheter,” Ramirez said. “That’s when you realize how big a population it has become.”

At Copacabana, the Brazilian steakhouse on North Main, all the games are being shown, every day. And they’re making a point of welcoming fans from every country. The flags are strung across the wall of a patio, which was furnished a year ago with the World Cup in mind.

“We’re expecting a lot of fun,” said General Manager Anderson Moretti.

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Category: Business, Port Chester, recreation, restaurants, Rye Town, Uncategorized


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Reporters from The Journal News track the latest developments in immigration. Beyond Borders explores the news, the cultures and controversies.
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