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Immigrant Group Offended by Paterson Comment

Friday, March 19, 2010

On a radio show in New York, Governor Paterson made a surprising comment about immigration, when he responded to a caller on WOR complaining about the cost of educating immigrants who are living here illegally. WNYC's Marianne McCune reports.

REPORTER: Governor Paterson has in the past been relatively immigrant-friendly. He recently praised the work of New York Congress members on immigration reform that favors legalization of those here illegally. But in response to a caller named Dan who expressed concerned about the cost to taxpayers of educating students here illegally, he said:

PATERSON: Look Dan if you know any illegal aliens that are here that shouldn't be here, the important thing is to report it to the INS and lets get moving so that we reduce that number.

REPORTER: The New York Immigration Coalition's Chung-Wha Hong says she is flabbergasted.

HONG: The suggestion is pretty dangerous. It's inciting people to report their neighbors, to report their colleagues to immigration. In some areas throughout the State, there are virulent anti-immigrant sentiments, and you don't want to feed into that.

REPORTER: The Immigration Coalition is urging the Governor to retract his statement.

HOST: The New York Immigration Coalition is part of a major effort to send New Yorkers to Washington on Sunday to protest the Obama administration's continued deportation of immigrants and rally for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for people here illegally.

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