By The TimesLedger
The ink had barely dried on the president's proposal for dealing with illegal immigrants when local officials began taking shots. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) blasted Bush and charged that the policy announced Jan. 7 is an election-year ploy that would eventually lead to deportations of Queens residents.
The plan would give three-year legal status to undocumented workers who register with the government if they can prove they are employed in the United States. The registration can be renewed one time.
Ackerman and Liu say this may be a trick that will allow the government to collect information on illegal aliens that will eventually be used to deport them.
Say what? The fact is the federal government already knows the identities and addresses of thousands of illegal aliens living in the metropolitan area and, unless they get into trouble, it makes no effort to deport them. This is true in cities all across America. Ackerman should know this.
The reality is that due to a chronic shortage of manpower, the only illegal immigrants who face deportation are those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. This is documented by Heather McDonald in an article in the winter 2004 issue of the City Journal.
The amnesty offered by Bush will make it easier for immigrants to enjoy the protections and benefits that American workers take for granted. It will also make it possible for these workers to leave America and return legally.
Before they knock the president's plan, Ackerman and Liu should do their homework.
Editorial: It’s your money
You might think that there is no one who would oppose the mayor’s plan to give a $400 rebate to homeowners whose property taxes were raised during the fiscal crisis. Although this was originally a one-shot deal, the mayor is considering annual rebates.
Critics of the mayor say that the surplus real estate tax money should be used to help the poor. They don’t like the idea of your getting some of the money back that you already paid.
They misunderstand a fundamental issue. The money that you pay in taxes is your money. It’s simple, really: if the property tax creates a surplus, the money should come back to you. If you want to use part of your money to help the poor, that’s your decision.
Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he was relieved that the mayor is finally getting the message. But he doesn’t like the rebate. He prefers a more permanent scheme.
Others say the rebate is an election-year stunt.
We disagree. It was prudent to collect the extra property tax – the only revenue that could be raised without Albany’s approval. It is equally prudent to return that money if it is no longer needed. Bear in mind that the money that you will get back is your money.