First New York ‘Summit on Latinos’ to Focus on Immigration

Council members Ydanis Rodriguez, Carlos Menchaca and Antonio Reynoso announcing the Summit on Latinos, with the participation of director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Dr. Ramona Hernandez. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

As the federal government threatens to deport all undocumented immigrants living in the country, including 575,000 in the state of New York, political leaders and scholars will launch on Thursday the city’s first “Summit on Latinos.” But, before they meet, they are warning that sending those without papers back home would unleash a serious crisis.

This is what City Council member Ydanis Rodríguez said, citing a CUNY report that says that 60 percent of undocumented people in New York represent 8 percent of the city’s workforce and contribute $1.1 billion in [state and local] taxes. This means that “wiping them off the map” would be irresponsible.

“I have no doubt that, if you take undocumented immigrants [out of] the workforce, not only would we not have the people to carry out many jobs, but we would also push the city into a crisis because of the president’s mediocrity,” said the politician, who highlighted the importance of Thursday’s summit, which will take place at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work at 119th and Third Ave and will be open to the public.

“We want the billion-dollar contributions made by taxpaying undocumented New Yorkers – whom nobody asks for their papers when they go out to buy [goods] – to be recognized,” added Rodríguez.

“Their contributions are fundamental for this state’s economy, and part of the purpose of this first Latino summit is to recognize our contributions in every sense of the word, because we can’t make it if we are separated. United, we have the power.”

President of the Hispanic Federation José Calderón said that the Trump administration’s deportation plans (…) would be a tragedy, not only at the social level, but also for the economy.

“This would have a devastating impact, since we already know the contribution immigrants make to this city, which has been shaped and developed by immigrants. But this administration is ill-informed and wrong about our community, especially in terms of economic development,” said Calderón.

The activist said that many immigrants, motivated by fear, have even stopped spending money on commercial goods, and prefer to send it to their countries instead.

“There is a lot of fear in our communities because of the president’s rhetoric directly attacking our Latino community, and that has been internalized socially. Many people are withholding, and instead of going to a restaurant they stay home,” he said.

Assemblymember Carmen de la Rosa will also participate in the summit, which will address such issues as leadership, education and immigration, among others. She also warned about the consequences of deporting undocumented immigrants.

“The reality is that the Latino community is an economic force in New York, and if we tamper with that formula, we will see that the result of deporting our communities will be enormous, because the money generated here helps advance the whole state,” said the Dominican leader.

“Trump has not thought this through, and small businesses will end up leaving the city, which would be a problem not only for workers but also for local spending. Those anti-immigrant policies are jeopardizing our development and may eventually unleash an economic crisis.”

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