2016-05-11 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

TPS For Ecuadorians

A copy of this letter was received at the Queens
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Johnson and Secretary Kerry,

The earthquake that hit Ecuador has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, and our thoughts and concerns are with the people of Ecuador at this time. Given the magnitude of the recovery efforts underway, we urge you to extend Temporary Protected Status to Ecuadorians in the U.S. so that they are not expected to return home in the midst of such devastation.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is designed to grant protection to foreign nationals living in the U.S. when extraordinary circumstances make it difficult for them to return to their homeland. Specifically, the statute says that TPS may be granted when there are “extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent… nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety.” Ecuador has experienced continued aftershocks, adding to the uncertainty and fear in the region, and the focus should be on safety and immediate needs like housing the displaced. TPS would bring significant relief to people in Ecuador, as well as the Ecuadorian community in the United States, by assuring them that the focus can remain on these most pressing concerns.

According to media reports, thousands of people were left homeless by the earthquake, and up to 40,000 will be in need of temporary shelter and other immediate aid. Challenges in obtaining water and food, coupled with the difficulty of travel within the region, demonstrate that living conditions are far from ideal. It is clear that it would not be safe or humane to expect Ecuadorian nationals currently in the U.S. to return to their homeland at this time.

TPS has often been granted in similar circumstances after severe natural disasters abroad. Allowing Ecuadorian nationals that are here in the U.S. to remain here temporarily is the safe, reasonable, and compassionate thing to do, and we hope you will act swiftly to provide this reassurance to the Ecuadorian people in a time of great distress.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and appreciate your prompt consideration of this request.

Joseph Crowley, Vice Chair, Democratic Caucus
Steve Israel, Nita M. Lowey, Carolyn B.
Maloney, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng,
Jerrold Nadler, José E. Serrano,
Nydia M. Velázquez
Also signed by other members of the House of
Representatives, 32 in all.

Justice For Mr. Lee

To The Editor:

Imagine going away for a weekend with your child and waking up in the middle of the night in a blaze of fire. You do whatever you can in these life-threatening circumstances to look for and save your loved one, but it’s too late.

Imagine sitting outside the burning house, waiting for help. In shock, you can’t even process what just happened.

Queens resident Mr. Han Tak Lee doesn’t need to imagine any of this. He re-lives these moments every day. 25 years ago, Mr. Lee was wrongfully convicted of arson and the murder of his own daughter in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. Facing language barriers and tremendous trauma, and unable to rely on fire science still in its infancy, he didn’t stand a chance against a local up-and-coming district attorney who quickly grabbed national headlines by convicting him.

Decades later, scientific evidence now proves that the fire was accidental and not intentionally caused by anyone. Exonerated from this heinous crime, 82-year-old Mr. Lee returns to Flushing with nothing. On the verge of homelessness, he struggles to get by in a world that has left him behind. He received nothing from the state of Pennsylvania for all the years lost, and all the suffering and injustice of the wrongful conviction.

Can you imagine the anger, sadness, and frustration this 82-year-old man continues to endure every day? I have spent time with him trying to understand how he has coped.

All I can do now is make sure he has a place to live and that he can live out what remains of his life with dignity. Mr. Lee deserves redemption.

Working closely with the Mayor’s office, the Human Resources Administration, and Asian Americans for Equality, we were able to secure housing vouchers and better housing options for him. I have also introduced new legislation, the Han Tak Lee Act, that requires firefighters who specialize in assessing arsons to be tested on “NFPA 921” standards, the national guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association to cover all aspects of arson-related cases.

Will you stand with us in supporting the Han Tak Lee Act and send a word of encouragement to Mr. Lee?

Go to: www.RonKim.com/HanTakLee Thank you,

Ron Kim
Assembly Member
AD 40

Never Trump, Please

Hillary Clinton is the only person who stands between us and the despicable Donald Trump as President.

Look at Trump’s tax policy proposals to determine who he favors – the wealthy. Look at Trump’s tax returns to determine his true economic motivations and the kind of person he is financially. Where are his tax returns? The media does not ask for them!

Although I am inclined to believe Trump when he says “I love the poorly educated,” no rational person can defend most of what he says. If you are one of those who believe he will change if he becomes president, remember: He may not change and just say: “I told you so”; or he may change for the worse, becoming more of a fascist and more of a bigot; and you will have empowered him.

Trump’s name-calling of his political and business opponents shows that he is a bully, and most adults have learned how to deal with a bully. Jeb Bush was not forceful enough, and Marco Rubio went too far into the gutter where Trump is. Please notify me, however, when we cease to hold people accountable for what they say. I shall not venture into “a crowded movie theater.”

If you are one of those who say you don’t want a politician, an experienced public servant who held a policy making job in government, for the job of president, the biggest, toughest, and most important governing political job in the world remember:

The more difficult the government political environment, the greater are the governing political skills required to do the job – General Eisenhower, before he became President, possessed great governing political skills to become the successful leader of the Allied Forces in World War II.

You would not hire a dentist to fix your plumbing, or vice versa; and Trump has proven to be a master political strategist, but he has no proven governing skills whatsoever. When will Trump’s knowledge of how the world and our government work be displayed and questioned?

All of us must have political skills to get things done while resolving conflicts with others. Trump has used his political skills to succeed in business while using legal bankruptcies, but without showing compassion. Government politics is the art of compromise, not “the art of the deal,” which may work for real estate and finance.

All successful government politicians “spin,” giving the best interpretation of the facts, but “spinning’ is not lying. Let’s not elect a lying bullying bigot, because we are offended by professional politicians’ “spinning”.

Many believed that he at least believed it when the last Republican presidential candidate said “Corporations are persons,” since his tax policy proposals favored corporations over people. How ironic and strange is it that Trump, the man who chose to make money by saying the words “You’re fired” week after week on television, has credibility when he says he will bring back jobs to America?

Let’s not elect a fascist Mussolini because we don’t have a perfect alternative. Our system for electing presidents does not, by design, provide perfect alternatives. Trump supporters should be reminded that we are governed by a republican form of government, not a pure democracy. The two major parties reflect this fact. If you are not active in one of the two major parties, you must choose between two people. That is our system. If you don’t approve of this, become active in one of the two major parties.

I know from seeing the Statue of Liberty “giving the finger” to a presidential candidate on the front page of a major New York City newspaper that American society is not as civil as it was during the Great Depression, when hungry people dressed in their best to sell apples on the streets. I hope that does not mean that anybody who is unhappy about anything is now a potential Trump supporter. Have we descended so low as to throw feces at the establishment by electing an unqualified raging bullying bigot as President of the United States of America? Please find a less dangerous way to protest whatever you want to protest.

Leonard Lanzone

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