Suffolk County executive calls on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship. He says the survival of many of the county's small businesses may depend on it.

News 12 Staff

Apr 13, 2021, 9:36 PM

Updated 1,194 days ago

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship. He says the survival of many of the county's small businesses may depend on it.
"We are fed up with all of the talk and without action. We've been here for years, if not decades on this issues," said Bellone.
Maria Rivera, owner of Fifth Avenue Hair Styling in Bay Shore, joined Suffolk County leaders and local immigration advocates to make a plea Tuesday for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
"We are human and deserve to be part of this amazing country because at the end of the day, we are [paying] our tax and do good by our community," said Rivera.
Bellone spoke at Pronto of Long Island Tuesday, a community outreach center and food pantry. He said the federal immigration system is a failure and he's calling on Republicans and Democrats to come together on immigration reform.
"The Dreamers who came to America as children and know it as their only home make invaluable contributions to America and most certainly, Suffolk County," said Leg. Sam Gonzalez.
Rivera says she came to America 16 years ago and is now a business owner and taxpayer. She says she's speaking up now for immigration reform for her son, who wants to be a doctor, but doesn't have a Social Security number. She's hoping to help change that.
Bellone says Rivera is not alone. He says about 1 in 5 Long Islanders were born outside of the U.S. and many want to see action now at the federal level on immigration reform.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino said in a statement, “As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, House Small Business Committee, and Problem Solvers Caucus, I’ve been working with local elected officials, union leaders, federal agencies, and colleagues from both sides of the aisle towards commonsense immigration reform that tackles the crisis at the southern border while also addressing pathways to citizenship. Those in county and state leadership may want to turn this into a political talking point, but we need actual results and that is what I am focused on in Congress. Not more rhetoric.”
In a statement, Rep. Lee Zeldin said, "Our nation's immigration system is flawed and in need of fixes. Strengthening border security and interior enforcement must not get ignored in this conversation. We must understand that when it comes to the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders, the faucet needs to be turned off first and foremost."


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