Who’s looking out for immigrants?
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Caribbean Life, J BQ uly 26–Aug. 1, 2019 11
By Albert Baldeo
Thriving communities built on the
backs of immigrants, and with their
blood, sweat and tears, have become
ghost towns, retreating in fear and
panic as the U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement service (ICE)
launched macabre raids, presumably
to rid the USA of “these terrible
people,” although America itself is a
“nation of immigrants.”
It is as draconian, as it is
un-American, and will only divide the
nation further. It is evil. Some people
conveniently ignore our history that
we are a great nation because of
immigration, to score cheap political
mileage. Some even feign amnesia that
their closest families are immigrants
themselves. What hypocrisy!
In these communities, which
receive little city, state and/or federal
funding, immigrants are treated
like orphans and step children. They
deserve better! Yes, immigrants have
paid their dues in political, economic
and historical ways, but continue to be
exploited, marginalized and ignored.
Most politicians see their communities
as milking cows for campaign cash,
and then slither away when issues
confront these communities. They
cannot be found. So when you see
these so-called leaders, ask them,
“What have you done for me lately?
Where were you when ICE struck?”
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
advised, “We have to demand our
check!” This great civil rights leader
meant that immigrant communities,
like everyone else, have to demand
what the USA has promised. Their
check is good, and their track record
is irrefutable. In 2008, the Richmond
Hill- Ozone Park community made
the gut wrenching sacrifice to help
Democrats re-capture the New York
state Senate since 1965, a watershed
moment in our political history, when
I assisted State Senator, Joe Addabbo
defeat Serf Maltese after 20 years
in office. “The road to the senate
majority passed through Baldeo’s
people in Richmond Hill, Democratic
leaders gleefully gloated then.” Where
are they now?
Immigrants have developed
flourishing communities from
decaying neighborhoods to the
thriving economic engines that now
contribute massively to the national
and local economies.
So where are these people when we
need their help and their voice? Sadly,
they are missing in action. The holy
scriptures caution us that ingratitude
is a major sin. We therefore demand
that all of our elected officials, from
Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio
to our senate and congressional
representatives, state senators,
assembly members, city council
members and others, community
boards, NGOs, political, religious,
cultural, social and economic
organizations-indeed everyone, come
out and denounce this barbaric
initiative to make immigrants the
whipping boys of American politics.
You know who you are. You need to
say in unison loudly to ICE that NYC is
a sanctuary city, and that you condemn
and demand an immediate halt to the
despotic and mean measures that
have disrupted the local economies,
businesses, fellow Americans and
visitors-indeed, everyone, living and
working in this nation that belongs
to so many.
Note: Albert Baldeo is a civil rights
activist and community advocate. As
the president of the Baldeo Foundation
and Liberty Justice Center, he has
continued the fight for justice, equal
rights, dignity and inclusion for all.
He can be contacted at the Baldeo
Foundation: AlBaldeo@aol.com or