A project of the Center for Community Change

Gillibrand May be Set to Change her Tune on Immigration

gillibrandRecently, I posted on the disappointment many of us were feeling at the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand as Sen. Hillary Clinton’s replacement in New York.

However, it looks as though the new reality of her much more diverse constituency may be sinking in. From the New York Times:

Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York’s new senator, suggested to Latino elected officials on Sunday that she would take the lead on some immigration issues — and perhaps quickly drop some positions that they considered objectionable.

Gillibrand’s record does not bode well for immigrant rights in the state, but we can hope that (unlike some other politicians) she knows when to change her position based on the cold hard facts.

She confronts a new reality now. The majority of the Democratic vote statewide is in immigrant-rich downstate cities and towns, and in upstate urban centers such as Buffalo and Rochester. Her visits on Sunday to Brooklyn and then to Chinatown, where she marched in the Chinese New Year parade alongside Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Councilman John C. Liu of Queens, who has criticized her immigration stances, underscored her need to reach out to a much different constituency.

“She understands she no longer represents a small Congressional district upstate,” said Assemblyman Jose R. Peralta of Queens, who is the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. “We are going to help her and pay close attention, and if she doesn’t change, well, then we’ll be speaking to other contenders in 2010.”

We will be sure to follow Gillibrand in her new position.

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