Opinion: LI Shouldn't Shut Out ImmigrantsFri, 04/20/2012 - 14:01 — admin
April 19, 2012
It's a suburban legend that happens to be true: When Robert Moses, the titan of city planning, designed the transportation infrastructure that opened much of Long Island for development, he made certain that bridges passing over the parkways would be low enough to prohibit buses from passing under them easily. It wasn't just aesthetics, it was social engineering. By keeping buses off the parkways, Moses discouraged people of color -- who, at the time, were largely dependent on public transit -- from visiting or relocating to Long Island.
The contradictions and conflicting goals Moses embodied for more than a half century remain unresolved; Long Island continues to be a place that welcomes change and provides opportunity, at the same time that it puts up barriers to those opportunities.
Overpasses or not, people still come to Long Island in search of the American dream, but now they're coming from other parts of the world. Newcomers from the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America help fuel the economic engine of our development, opening businesses, bolstering our workforce and paying taxes as aging native-born residents retire.
Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins and Luis Valenzuela is the executive director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance. Both organizations are advocacy groups.