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Monday, April 21, 2008

Op-Ed Addresses Effects of Anti-immigrant Ordinances

An op-ed appearing in today's Newsday gives insight on the ill effects local anti-immigrant ordinances can have on city economies. In this piece, David Dyssegaard Kallick, a senior fellow of the Fiscal Policy Institute explains what happened to Riverside, New Jersey.

New Jersey town offers immigration insights


In the midst of ongoing battles about local laws aimed at illegal immigrants on Long Island, a business leader from Riverside, N.J., came to a forum in Central Islip last week to give a warning about the experience of his town.

"Don't do what we did," he said.

In 2006, a minority of vocal individuals in Riverside pushed through a series of aggressive anti-immigrant laws, mandating fines for anyone who hired, rented to, or in any way aided an undocumented immigrant. The law was so broad that it faced immediate constitutional challenges. But the real problem, as with recent proposals on Long Island, was that the message was clear: Immigrants are not welcome.

Within months of the law's being passed, businesses closed, David Verduin, president of the Riverside Coalition of Business Owners and Landlords, told the audience. The main street emptied out. Skinheads came in to celebrate the new laws, yelling, "The South shall rise again!" Geraldo Rivera came to film a program about the anti-immigrant climate. >>continue


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