“If Gov. David Paterson wanted to deliver a slap to immigrant New Yorkers, he effectively did so with his appointment yesterday of Representative Kirsten Gillibrand,” -- El Diario La Prensa, Spanish-language daily 1/24/2009The criticism taken by New York's El Diario La Prensa in their Sunday edition has been a common theme around the nation in the days following Representative Kristen Gillibrand being named to fill the vacant Senate seat left by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Over the last year, Gillibrand, a Democrat representing New York’s 20th Congressional District, gained much attention over her troubling positions and voting record on immigration. On Friday, the New York Immigration Coalition issued a press release highlighting Gillibrand’s voting record and calling on her to:
“form a strong partnership with immigrant communities and fight for fairer immigration policies, so that families need not endure endless separations, and so that immigrant workers who risk everything in order to make a better life for their families are recognized for their inherent dignity and for their contributions to the U.S. economy”.Since being sworn in on Tuesday, Senator Gillibrand has attempted to calm criticisms over her past positions on immigration. According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, Senator Gillibrand will “revisit” some of her positions on Immigration now that she “represents the whole state”. It is also being reported that she is reaching out to Hispanic elected officials and pledging to reconsider some of her positions.
As many are pointing out in the blogosphere and in the media, Senator Gillibrand needs to decide how she will best move away from her past troubling position on immigration. As Immigration Lawyer and blogger, Greg Siskind put it “Gillibrand's problem right now is that she needs to figure out how to move away from prior positions without seeming like a total flip-flopper (which is probably unavoidable)”.
We will be following this story closely in the weeks to come.