Illegal Immigration Nothing New
Immigration (both legal and illegal) seems to be a popular topic for the publisher and editors of the LI Press and for many good reasons [“Crossing the Border,” April 22]. One important point should be made first and foremost. Odds are that at least half and more likely 75 to 80 percent of your readers who can point to three or more generations of Americans as ancestors probably have at least one who came here illegally. I myself had a grandfather who skipped Ellis Island when he dove into the East River from one of the Emperor’s ships several years before World War I. He was Croatian and had been “Shanghaied” into service against his will. He later sent for my grandmother, who arrived legally.
On my mother’s side we’ve been here since before the Revolution, and that introduces the question: Did the British crown have the right to award the lands in America to anyone? Would Obama look kindly upon Queen Elizabeth doing so today?
So I have at least one illegal as an ancestor and maybe many, many more depending upon how you look at it.
My thanks for Jed Morey’s illuminating column, “Off the Reservation” [“The Lighthouse Project” April 29 ] on the Mangano administration’s idea of including the Shinnecock Nation as a possible center-piece to the Lighthouse Project. I support the scaled-down version of the Lighthouse Project but I am unclear that just because Nassau County was financially mismanaged for the last four years and now faces a $286 million budget deficit in 2011, that Nassau County should embrace the Shinnecock Indians and casino gambling as a solution.
What is clear is that while former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and the Democratic majority in the Nassau County Legislature spent more money than the county received, Nassau Democrats are already engaged in political maneuvering and posturing to place future deficits conveniently in Ed Mangano’s lap. Since last year was an election year, Suozzi and the Democrats assured Nassau taxpayers that based on 13 straight credit rating upgrades alone, establishing that they were responsible fiscal stewards of Nassau County. The problem—Nassau County observed a $90 million deficit to end 2009 as sales tax revenues under performed due to a weak economy.
When you throw in the anticipated end of FMAP funding from the federal government in 2010, continued weakness in the economy keeping sales tax revenues depressed and high unemployment, it is easy to understand the cause for real concern. While public officials of both parties are anticipating a gradual economic recovery to reduce the deficit, I would be more cautious. While the economy is recovering, there are a number of geo-political and economic events that could undermine the recovery in 2010 with further possibility of serious consequence:
• Israel attacking Iran in 2010; the possible consequence could be oil prices go parabolic—$200 a barrel.
• $500 billion of AAA Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities defaulting and disrupting the global markets
• $1 trillion of municipal debt defaulting before the close of 2010
• Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain defaulting on their debt and contributing to further economic upheaval.
It is just not enough to advance an idea such as a casino to meet an annual budget deficit. The question is whether the casino is appropriate for the Nassau Coliseum area independent of our county’s finances. I am flummoxed on how to convince our elected officials that the time to undertake prudent fiscal action is NOW! In light of the economic possibilities, is it not gambling to adopt a business as usual approach and do nothing?
Michael P. Mulhall
Editor’s Note: Mulhall ran for Nassau County Legislature in 2001 on the Republican, Conservative and Right to Life lines, losing to then-incumbent Michael Zapson (D-Long Beach).