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Promises to Keep

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Feb 02, 2009

NEW YORK -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrands meeting yesterday with Latino elected officials was a step in the right direction. She now has to follow up on the commitments she made to convince a long list of leaders, organizations and communities that she will defend the families affected by punitive immigration policies.

More than a dozen New York officials met with Gillibrand to discuss her hard-line record on immigration. One City Council member in attendance said she pointed out that Gillibrand voted in favor of legislation that would have denied funding to cities that are considered sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. This could have been detrimental to New York.

In a signal of her understanding that she now represents a broader constituency, Gillibrand yesterday said that she would support a path to legalization for undocumented personsa departure from her prior anti-amnesty stance.

Gillibrand also said she would advocate for ESL funding and the DREAM Actwhich would help thousands of undocumented high school students legalize their status.

On the issues of deputizing local police as immigration agents and demanding a moratorium on large-scale raids, Gillibrand said she had to learn more. We hope she will review policies like New York Citys Executive Order 41, which, with a few exceptions, restricts city employees from requesting or disclosing the status of an immigrant. We expect her to study reports that chronicle the disastrous effects of raids and deportation on parents and children. We encourage her to talk directly to the families living this nightmare.

Gillibrand showed a willingness to engage communities that have not been on her radar. She also understands the doubts people have about her. The best way to get people over that skepticism is for her to deliver on the pledges she made and stand firmly for vulnerable families.

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