Thursday, April 14, 2011
News Coverage of April 12 Immigration Debate
What follows is an English translation of the report from Latino News and Opinion on the immigration debate at Broad Street Ministries on April 12. CANDIDATES WERE CONSPICUOUS BY THEIR ABSENCE IN IMMIGRATION DEBATE Three of the democratic candidates to City Council from District One, Vernon Anastasio, Joe Grace and Jeff Hornstein, broke their promise to attend an immigration debate with the southern community of Philadelphia on April 12. The event, nevertheless, was a success. Neither the rain neither the wind impeded nearly 300 people (mostly eligible to vote) who congregated in a church in the center of the city. The activity consisted of a heated debate between a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Stu Bykofsky, and a professor from University of Pennsylvania Law School, Sarah Paoletti. The questions of the debate came from the Asian and Latin American communities, those persons deeply affected by threat of deportation and by anti-immigrant measures that favor racial profiling and collaboration between the Philadelphia Police and ICE. These measures particularly threaten those lacking identity papers and vulnerable to be victims of crime and abuse. After the debate two democratic candidates at large were presented: Andy Toy who, if he wins, will be the first Asian member on the City Council, and Sherrie Cohen, the first openly lesbian candidate. Both said they said were against the collaboration of the Police and ICE. Zac Steele, community organizer, explained that the absence of the candidates from District One was due to two events occurring simultaneously. "We know that they responded to a meeting with the Civic Organization of Washington Square West. We are very disappointed; those present were anxious to know their positions in terms of migration", said Steele. Hornstein, arriving 15 minutes after the end of the event, apologized for his absence and assured those still present that he takes immigration issues seriously. "For the last 10 years I have been organizing immigrant workers in the union SEIU. It is a very important issue for me", said Hornstein. The event was organized by "Voices for Safe and Diverse Neighborhoods", a coalition of pro-immigration organizations.