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Senator Gillibrand and Immigration

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January 28, 2009

New York’s new junior Senator, Kristen Gillibrand, was just sworn in by Vice President Biden yesterday , but she’s already drawing a lot of criticism from all sides, especially in the area of immigration reform.

As the Drum Major Institute’s Cristina Jimenez notes:

[Gillibrand] co-sponsored the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act in 2007. The SAVE Act aimed at reducing the inflow of undocumented immigrants by increasing border security and internal enforcement and complete the fence along the border.

The ACLU also opposed the SAVE Act because it would have expanded the government’s E-Verify system, requiring every employer in the U.S. to verify the eligibility of every current and future employee — including citizens. It also would have encouraged discrimination by scaring employers away from hiring anyone with an accent or a foreign-sounding name. In addition,the system is riddled with errors, and would have cost more than $40 billion in tax and Social Security revenue over a 10-year period.

Gillibrand’s stance on immigration is also at odds with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who testified to the Senate in 2006:

“Although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders … our city’s economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported,” he said. “The same holds true for the nation.”

The ACLU and New York Civil Liberties Union looks forward to working with Senator Gillibrand in her new position representing the entire state of New York. We’re hopeful that her positions on immigration policy, like her position on marriage for lesbian and gay couples, will evolve to recognize the values of all New York state residents.

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