News

Illegal Immigration Not an Issue for Legal Immigrants in New York

Peter Fedynsky


Immigration has been a contentious issue in a number of U.S. presidential primaries, especially in states with high concentrations of undocumented immigrants. It was not a factor in New York, however, which is home to millions of legal immigrants. The state’s Republican voters Tuesday gave their support to presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, who took a tough stance on illegal immigration in earlier primaries.   Legal immigrants in New York shared their thoughts about illegal immigration.    

Mudassar Khan came to the United States from Pakistan as a teenager and now owns an electronics store in New York City. He said his family waited 12 years for legal permission to immigrate, but he sympathizes with those who immigrate illegally.

“There has to be some desperation there in order for them to do something like that," he said.

Illegal Immigration quandary

Khan said illegal immigration is not an issue among South Asian immigrants in the neighborhood where his store is located, but he recognizes the dilemma posed by illegal immigrants.

“I’m not even for giving them a legal status over here, but there has to be something in between in order for us to keep it a fair game,” he said.

But defining fairness is controversial. Critics say illegal aliens violate the law, take jobs away from Americans and must be deported. Filipino-American immigration attorney J.T. Mallonga disagrees.

“You can’t deport all 12 million, nor can you jail all 12 million. But at this point in time, there is no avenue for them to address their legal residency issues," said Mallonga.

Issue becomes 'political football'

A bill before the U.S. Senate called the DREAM Act proposes a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who finish high school or serve in the military. But many Republicans oppose it, including presidential contender Romney.

“I like people coming here legally. And so I will secure the border with a fence, make sure we have enough border patrol agents to secure that fence, and I will also crack down on employers that hire people who are here illegally,” said Romney.

The Obama administration has deported a record number of illegal aliens, about 400,000 per year. A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that the number of illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States is declining. Even if immigration remains a volatile issue in an election year, though, Khan doesn't expect much to change.

“I’ve seen that in a lot of elections. They make a topic of it. When it comes down to doing something about it, nothing has been done. I think they’ll use this to get some votes, again, and when the election is over, they’ll probably forget about it and nothing major will happen,” he said.

And in New York, it's not likely to affect who wins the presidential race. Even Republicans concede that the state's millions of legal immigrants likely will vote for Obama’s reelection.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joel Wischkaemper
April 25, 2012 6:14 PM
The Dream Act is an insult to the American People and a reward to the illegal aliens which is why it is an insult to the American People. It will be expensive for the Taxpayer, and in the end, instead of the Parents who did the criminal deed paying for the crime, the American Taxpayer will pay for the Crime. Harry Reid set this up and it is not fair to the American People.

by: Mike
April 25, 2012 3:42 PM
Legal immigrants usually resent the illegal immigrants who ignore the law and try to spin their situation into a sob case or some kind of rights-issue. If the law is just an "opinion" then why should we arrest anyone? Why follow any law? Unless of course you are a hypocrit or a believer in situational ethics.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs