New Yorkers like immigrants
Immigrants protest in Las Vegas
Smiling on our immigrants
Poll finds 70% back those in city illegally
Daily News Exclusive
BY DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT
New York City has always been a welcoming haven for the world's immigrants - and most New Yorkers want it to stay that way.
A Daily News poll found that two-thirds of city residents believe immigrants make New York City a better place to live, compared with just 15% who say they make it worse.
At the same time, New Yorkers are much more divided over those who are here illegally, and they think U.S. citizenship should remain a privilege, not an automatic right.
"Clearly, New Yorkers see the city as a better place because it has so many immigrants," said Mickey Blum of Blum & Weprin Associates, the firm that conducted the poll for The News. "At the same time, they think citizenship needs to be earned."
The findings offer a more immigrant-friendly view than the rest of the nation, which typically lacks the diversity of the city's teeming melting pot, and comes as Congress is heatedly debating immigration reform after waves of protests across the country.
A full 70% of New Yorkers say they think illegal immigrants who are here now should be allowed to stay in the United States and become citizens - but only if they meet certain requirements over a period of time.
Only 12% of city residents favor deportation of the city's illegal residents - a vast population now estimated to number some 500,000, or roughly as many people as live in the entire city of Boston.
No one jokes about people selling oranges along the freeway here. Immigrants are in every part of life in New York. From the corner store to the hospital, hearing anything from Spanish to Tagalog to Hausa is common. The guy who serves you iced coffee in the morning, sells you the paper, much less cooks your breakfast, is likely to speak English as a second language. Even if they were born in the US.
Which is why Nrw Yorkers don't have that anti-immigrant bias that many places do. And why most New Yorkers cheered the protests on.
posted by Steve @ 5:03:00 PM