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Legal Assistance for Big Apple Immigrants

By Dennis Watkins

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the legal system in his city is too complex and confusing for immigrants. On Monday, Bloomberg unveiled a 1.5 million dollar program that aims to aid immigrants in their attempts to deal with legal issues. The initiative will be funded in part by the Robin Hood Foundation, with taxpayers picking up an undisclosed portion of the tab. This comes at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo is scrambling to deal with the fiscal maladies plaguing New York State, including a $350 million budget shortfall this year, and a looming $3.25 billion budget gap for 2012.

Bloomberg's desire to attract more foreign entreprenuers to New York provides much of the impetus for this new program. In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed written this past May, Bloomberg made the tired observation that America, "would not have become a global superpower without opening our doors to immigrants." Like so many others, Bloomberg fails to recognize the obvious differences between today's immigrants and those of yesteryear.

Bloomberg also offers strong support for guest worker programs to lure foreigners to the city, and has pressed Washington, DC to ramp up its efforts to lure foreign workers. Currently, almost 40% of New York City residents are foreign-born.

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