Written by Maryann Sinclair Slutsky Friday, 22 February 2013 00:00
Finally (maybe) there’s some good news on immigration reform. There seems to be real movement in Washington on the issue. It seems that now that the people are leading, our leaders are following.
First, a group of eight United States senators revealed a bipartisan immigration plan to reform our broken immigration system. Some of the principles outlined are far from perfect, but the fact is that several conservative Republicans have committed in writing and in public to allowing immigrants an earned path to citizenship, a central tenet that’s necessary to real reform.
Not to be outdone, President Barack Obama countered with a plan of his own.
He noted that it is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders. His proposal provides undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to pay taxes, play by the same rules, and come under the jurisdiction of the law. In the Obama plan, after national security and criminal background checks, paying a penalty, and learning English, immigrants will be able to earn a path to citizenship. Also, his proposal will put an end to punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own and let them earn citizenship more quickly if they serve in the military or pursue higher education.
We’ve heard President Obama say the right things before. We’ve even heard his usual opposition in Congress say many of the right things before, too, though admittedly not lately.
What’s important and different this time is the palpable sense that something seems to be happening—that public mood and public moment seem to be in sync.
And that’s good for Long Island. We already benefit from the fact that immigrants come here from around the world to work and contribute. We’ll benefit even more when the system starts working right.
The specifics of this plan are going to be important. We know that there are many politicians who’d prefer a plan that’s designed to punish immigrants and—in the words of Mitt Romney—”encourage them to ‘self-deport’.” We know that many politicians are fine with simply doing nothing at all about this vital issue. And we know that both types of politicians will be weighing in.
So it’s up to us—all of us—to speak out and make sure that we do not miss this opportunity to deliver real change to a broken system.
Dig out. It’s time to get to work.
Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins, a communications organization promoting policy solutions to local immigration issues. The website is www.longislandwins.com.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 00:00
The members of the eighth-grade graduating class at Jonas E. Salk Middle School proceeded down the aisles of the school’s gymnasium in a ceremonial moving-up tradition, as proud parents and family members watched from the bleachers. Class officers led the salute to the flag, after which the eighth-grade chorus, conducted by Lisa Levenberg, sang the national anthem.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
When Msgr. Ralph Sommer was growing up he found inspiration from the example of his uncle, Father Ralph Besendorfer. “He was a Brooklyn priest,” said Msgr. Sommer, who is known to parishioners as “Father Sommer” or “Father Ralph.”
“My uncle was a most powerful and delightful influence, happy, caring, and helpful,” said Father Sommer, outgoing pastor of St. Brigid’s Church, in Westbury. “I would look at him and say, ‘I could do that.’”
For a number of years, Father Besendorfer would come out to St. Bernard’s in Levittown on weekends to assist.
Now, Father Sommer finds himself about to become pastor of St. Bernard’s on June 26, succeeding Msgr. Gerard Ringenback, pastor of St. Bernard’s since 2001.
He doesn’t know if anyone at St. Bernard’s will remember his uncle, Father Sommer said, but “if I meet people who remember him from that time, it will be a nice thing.”
Born in Flushing, Queens, Father Sommer grew up in Garden City, attending St. Anne’s School. He advanced to St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, a high school for young men considering the priesthood.
“It was a caring community,” with priest-instructors and students who shared an interest in exploring the priesthood.
For college, he left the seminary system for Adelphi University near his home. “I walked every day. We didn’t have another car.”
Adelphi offered an opportunity to test his vocation. He majored in psychology, “which I thought would help me if I became a priest.”
After Adelphi, he returned to priestly studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. Upon graduation, he was ordained a priest in 1983.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Senior pitcher Anthony Semonella at Division Avenue High School has received a scholarship from the University of Bridgeport and has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the collegiate level. He was joined by parents Donna and Ralph Semonella, Principal Dr. Francesco Ianni, Physical Education Chairperson Mauro Chiti and varsity baseball coach Tom Tuttle as he signed a letter confirming his acceptance to the university’s athletic program.
Photo provided by Syntax
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
St. Thomas Aquinas College freshman Robert Naughton, of Levittown, has made his impact known in the NCAA Baseball East Coast Conference. Naughton started out his 2013 campaign not allowing an earned run in the first 19 innings he pitched.
At completion of his first season Naughton pitched 58 innings compiling a record of 6-1, leading the East Coast Athletic Conference with an era of 1.54.