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Candidates for Mayor Spell Out Positions on Immigrant Issues


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Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235, 
New York  (Monday, October 26, 2009)

Candidates for Mayor Spell Out Positions on Immigrant Issues

Immigrant voters who are hungry to hear about where New York City’s mayoral candidates stand on important immigrant issues finally have something to sink their teeth into.

The New York Immigration Coalition and the New York Community Media Alliance today released questionnaire responses from three mayoral candidates, including incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Democratic challenger Bill Thompson. The responses document the candidates’ positions on a host of immigrant issues, from how they will tackle the high-school dropout crisis facing English language learners to what they will do to fight for immigration reform at the national level.

The candidates also answered questions about making adult English classes available to more immigrant New Yorkers, the city’s role in immigration enforcement, health care access, affordable housing, and other immigrant concerns.

The candidates’ responses are available at the bottom of this press release.

“We welcome these responses, particularly because there is not enough on record about where the mayoral candidates stand on some of the most pressing concerns of immigrant New Yorkers,” said Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Immigrant voters in the city will use these responses to make an informed decision at the polls on Election Day.”

“Ethnic and community media play a crucial role in promoting civic engagement in the city’s immigrant communities,” said Juana Ponce de Leon, executive director of the New York Community Media Alliance. “We are excited to be disseminating these responses to hundreds of community and ethnic media outlets, which will do their part to ensure that millions of New Yorkers are well informed for this election.”

In New York City, foreign-born immigrant voters already are a sizable part of the electorate, with estimates that they constitute 25 to 33 percent of the city’s registered voters. Immigrants also are the fastest-growing segment of the city’s voters. Nearly half (41 percent) of all first-time voters were foreign-born, according to a 2008 study conducted by Barnard College of Columbia University and the NYIC.

All eight candidates for mayor were offered the opportunity to answer the questionnaire. Responses were received from candidates Michael Bloomberg, Bill Thompson, and Dan Fein of the Socialist Workers Party.  Responses are included below.

The questionnaire was developed with input from local immigrant community groups and is a project of the NYIC’s civic participation campaign, whose participants include the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Make the Road New York, MinKwon Center for Community Action (formerly YKASEC), New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights, Russian American Voters Educational League, and South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!).

The NYIC is an umbrella policy advocacy group that brings together nearly 200 diverse organizations in New York to work for justice and opportunity for immigrants. The NYIC runs one of the nation’s most successful non-partisan, multi-ethnic voter mobilization programs, which has registered more than 275,000 new citizens to vote, conducts the largest citywide and statewide non-partisan immigrant get-out-the-vote operation, and, in partnership with the ethnic media, educates immigrant voters about the policy positions and track records of candidates for key public offices.



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