A blog from a different world: Long Island Wins. This is a blog concerning immigrant-related tensions there and takes a “can’t we all just get along” approach. (More about their goals here). It’s not clear what political interests are funding the site, but it is an accessible window on that side of that particular argument.
Here in Upstate New York the argument is not about day laborers hanging around on street corners (bad economy = no day laborers), but very much about migrant laborers working on farms. The federal government is cracking down especially hard on Upstate fruit growers who rely on these workers to get the crops in. While I think the immigration situation in this country is far past the point of “Let’s just build a fence, and deport moms away from their kids, and pretend that will make the issue go away,” I admit I don’t much care for the usual cliches Democrats offer, such as “They clean your house. They are nannies for your children.” I clean my own house, and I don’t even know anyone who employs a nanny. However, we all eat food that has been harvested by immigrants who entered the country illegally. So, who should pick Upstate’s crops? (This is not a rhetorical question – I’m interested in people’s thoughts.)
And then of course there’s Spitzer’s driver’s license plan. My head is spinning. I have to admit I didn’t really go to bed at night worrying about illegal immigrants driving without licenses, but I suppose I should. Gotham Gazette has a good overview of the debate and looming conflict over this issue. What is interesting is how this article proposes that this is really a Downstate problem that needs to be dealt with. I wonder if Spitzer would ever take a bold public stand on the problems of fruit farms in western New York, and if he would ever insist to the federal government (as he has done to Mayor Bloomberg) that they are “wrong at every level–dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong” in hunting down Upstate’s undocumented workers.
(Then again, Spitzer can’t even keep the federal government out of the Delaware and Mohawk Valleys threatened by NYRI…)