June 2, 2010

Assembly Denounces Discriminatory Arizona Immigration Law

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced the passage of an Assembly resolution urging members of the New York State Congressional delegation to denounce Arizona's new immigration law (K.1282).

On April 23, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation into law which requires law enforcement to question and detain any person if an individual officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that such person is in this country illegally, and then arrest that person if he or she is not carrying documentation. The new law is set to take effect on July 29.

"This measure is both morally reprehensible and unconstitutional," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The governor and legislature of Arizona have created a climate in which American citizens will no longer feel safe, where profiling and anti-immigrant sentiments have been deemed acceptable. As members of the New York State Assembly, it is our duty to encourage our colleagues in Congress to condemn this measure."

"Our country is at a crossroads; either we approve comprehensive immigration reform or abdicate our responsibility to radical fringe groups across the country," said Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan). "New York State continues to be a beacon of light and opportunity for millions of immigrants from across the world. We must lead the charge to ensure the hopes and dreams of immigrants throughout our great state and nation are fulfilled."

"The passage of the Arizona law creates a dangerous situation that could prove to be deadly as hate speech has filled the blogs and call-in radio programs," said Speaker Pro Tempore Peter Rivera (D-Bronx). "Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and South Carolina are all moving forward with similar anti-immigrant measures like SB 1070. Today we, in the State of New York, the original immigrant state, joined those voices of other prominent Americans, civil rights groups, municipal governments and nonprofit organizations to oppose these kinds of violation of human and civil rights and to encourage the federal government to act on this national emergency."

Last month, Silver wrote a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig calling on him to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona in protest of the discriminatory law.

"My father was an immigrant, and as a representative of Manhattan's diverse Lower East Side, I take this issue very personally," added Silver. "Individuals who have immigrated to New York State have contributed tremendously to our culture, our economy and our quality of life."