27 June, 19:03

NYC ID Law Sends Message To Washington: Immigration Is Good

Mexican immigrants march for more rights in Northern California's largest city, San Jose. 

Mexican immigrants march for more rights in Northern California's largest city, San Jose. 

Mexican immigrants march for more rights in Northern California's largest city, San Jose. 

By Andrew Hiller

WASHINGTON (VR) – The push for immigrant friendly laws in Oakland, CA., New Haven, CT, and now in New York City are sending a different message to the nation: That immigrants are good for the country, said Bill Hing, a professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. Even more so, he says, it's a message to Washington.

"When you are confronted with a central government that basically has a split personality who on the one hand have a President and some national Democratic leaders that say immigration reform is a high priority,” Hing said, “but on the other hand have the same President who has set records for deportation you then begin to realize that if anything's going to happen you need to have the entire weight of the government including the Republican party to step forward and if that's not going to happen then the individual states are left to do what they've been doing."

Hing points out that what New York it may point a light for other jurisdictions to follow. Still, he says a patchwork quilt of immigration laws would be terrible and that we need reform from the central government.

"At the end of the day, it's the federal government that's got to do something,” he said. “Otherwise, you're going to have some constitutional, some not constitutional creating havoc for the lives for the 11 million people caught between all the mess."

The initiative is also a counter message to restrictive and punitive measures passed in Alabama, Arizona and elsewhere, he added.

As many as half a million undocumented immigrants in New York City will now be eligible for a Photo ID that will enable them to open bank accounts, use libraries, medical clinics, and have greater access to the services of the city. The ID will include a photo ID, name, birthdate and address and became possible thanks to a 43-3 vote by New York councilmen.

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