NYC 2013 Mayoral race: Democratic Candidates and the Immigration Issue

by Ngagne Fall

Set for September 10, 2013, the Democratic Primary for the Mayoral race in New York City is near at hand.  More than expected by any pundit the running for Democratic Party candidacy has been punctuated with trend reversal and abiding “sextingate” that generated a particular hype.

At less than two weeks of the Democratic Primary Election Day, the polls are revealing with more sureness the lineup of front-runners quartet.   Thus far, the campaign trails and the media debates were dominated, a time span, by sexting stories and in the less playful sequences of issues such as security, the stop-and-frisk policy, public housing programs, jobs or minimum wage, reinforcement of the middle class, etc. While “immigrants and their U.S.-born offspring account for approximately 55 percent of the city’s population,” and “with 463,000 older immigrant residents, New York has by far the largest foreign-born senior population of any city in the U.S,”, the immigration issue appears vanishing all along the campaign.

The outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg (who was a Democrat, then a republican, and now Independent) “credited Anthony Weiner immigrants with helping New York City’s economy rebound faster than the rest of the nation.” Insofar the media campaign is not particularly focused on immigrants in New York, we perused websites or public statements of Bloomberg’s would-be democratic successors (the four who are leading the polls) to ascertain their position on this nationwide issue.

Christine Quinn: As Mayor, Christine Quinn plans to guarantee universal legal representation to New Yorkers threatened with deportation based on immigration status. Quinn will bring comprehensive legal services to schools, helping students and their families get on the path to citizenship or legal residency, and access important benefits.

Bill Thompson: “At long last we have immigration reform that addresses the many needs of our diverse American society. Immigrant families who want to live here, raise their families here, and contribute to the future of our city should never have to live in the shadows.”

Bill de Blasio: Immigrants have always been an essential part of our city’s energy, drive and growth — making New York City what it is today. It is critical that New York continues to welcome immigrants and provide opportunity for those who are so important to our future. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will draw from his long record of helping the vibrant and diverse immigrant communities of New York to ensure City Hall is responsive and effective.

Anthony Weiner:  “Anthony D. Weiner presented an ambitious plan to create a Medicare-like system for the coverage of municipal workers, retirees and uninsured immigrant residents left out of the Affordable Care Act.”

In an upcoming post I’ll write about how far the immigration issue sways the debate in the Republican primary.

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