Monday, June 02, 2008

Arnie Fielkow Against Immigration Bills

New Orleans City Councilman and President of the City Council has come out against the immigration-related bills in the Louisiana legislature. Here's his letter in full:

Recent letters to The Times-Picayune as well as an editorial published by the newspaper have addressed the recent initiatives in the Louisiana Legislature dealing with illegal immigration.

Some have opposed the bills as a practical matter of making sure that we have a sufficient workforce to do all the jobs required in our rebuilding efforts. Others have opposed the bills on moral grounds, claiming they impose burdens and penalties on citizens who do nothing more than provide humanitarian aid.

Others have opposed these bills for jurisdictional reasons, arguing that the establishment and enforcement of immigration laws is a federal, not a local or state, responsibility.

What is clear to all is that the target for this legislation is the growing Hispanic population in New Orleans.

As a City Council member for the city of New Orleans, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to meet and talk with folks from all walks of life. I embrace the diversity within our community and the richness in experience this diversity brings to our community.

As we have seen in Congress, the immigration issue is a complex issue that cannot be thoroughly and equitably addressed through piecemeal state legislative efforts.

As a nation, we have a responsibility to develop and implement a comprehensive national immigration policy that is enforceable, does not create an undue burden on law-abiding citizens, respects and protects human rights and creates an atmosphere in which a community can thrive.

I am glad to see the Hispanic community take leadership in speaking out about the various problems bills circulating in Baton Rouge.

In Louisiana, our Spanish-speaking neighbors have been with us as long as our French-speaking families. As a state, I hope that we remember this, and I hope that we are able to find solutions that benefit our community rather than divide us.

Arnie D. Fielkow
City Council
New Orleans
Fielkow could be our next mayor. Regardless, I am pleased that he has taken such a public position on the issue; and I take pride in the fact that the people and groups I work closely with in New Orleans on issues of importance to the Hispanic community here have played no small role in educating and cultivating a strong and positive relationship not only with Fielkow, but with the entire New Orleans City Council and the Mayor's Office.

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