Bend the Arc ready to fight for Dreamers here


“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” Martin Luther King Jr., inspired by Theodore Parker.

Those hopeful words of Dr. King are the vision behind Bend the Arc, a national organization dedicated to providing American Jews with an organizational vehicle to work toward an inclusive society, supporting people across race, class, gender and faith.

Recently several of us organized the Bend the Arc Riverdale Task Force, which will work with other New York state Bend the Arc chapters on passage in Albany of the New York State Dream Act, and in conjunction with other progressive groups such as Indivisible, to hold members of Congress accountable for the Trump agenda.

American Jews in particular have a unique strategic role in standing against efforts to target immigrants, Muslims, women, people of color, the poor, and democracy itself.

Our recent actions have been quite successful. Forty local residents gathered in the sukkah of the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 8, to renew our connections as a community to the immigrant populations endangered by the policies of the Trump administration. As a result of these policies, the federal government — and in particular, ICE, its immigration enforcement arm — are waging a broad campaign of fear designed to alienate and criminalize immigrants, and make them feel as if they are not wanted in their own communities.

The rhetoric and actions of President Trump are also reflected in the Muslim ban and his administration’s policy of virtually shutting America’s door to refugees who regrettably have no choice other than to flee their countries of origin to save their lives.

The president has moved to end the federal DACA program, which allows young people brought to this country as undocumented immigrants as children (also known as “Dreamers”) to attend college and work in this country.

In the sukkah, we engaged in text study with Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn of Congregation Tehillah, who explained the relevance of meeting in a temporary shelter, a sukkah, marking the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Like immigrants today — especially the undocumented seeking security — the ancient Hebrews sought security in these impermanent huts as a refuge in the wilderness.

We sang “Shalom, salaam, let there be peace,” and we noted through readings the parallels between the Dreams and earlier immigrants to our country, and those who escaped the Holocaust.

We heard Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz explain that the New York State Dream Act, which allows undocumented students to obtain tuition assistance, has passed the state Assembly, but not the state senate. We were moved by hearing from two New York City educators about the family and personal stresses their Dreamer students face as a result of their fear of being deported.

Finally, we learned about steps we can take right now to voice our solidarity with immigrants, including calling U.S. Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand in support of the federal DREAM Act. 

We took additional action the very next evening, as nine of us met to make phone calls to a suburban Chicago House district, asking those voters to call their congressman and voice their support for the DREAM Act.

We are beginning our work to hold members of Congress accountable in Congressional District 19 by knocking on doors in Ellenville in advance of a closely contested legislative election, to protect the priorities of working families, and to ensure that our elected officials are putting our families and health care first.

The next Bend the Arc Riverdale task force meeting is on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., at The Riverdale Y. If you are interested in joining us, or learning more about Bend the Arc, contact us at bendthearc.riverdaletaskforce@gmail.com

Sue Dodell


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I would just like to say that if these people want so much to help illegal aliens that they open up their own homes to them, pay for their tuition themselves and leave me and the rest of us normal everyday tax paying regular Americans out of their hangups.

Friday, October 27

thank you Anna for your well reasoned and researched post. YOu won't get a response from the liberal set because they can't argue with facts. Therefore expect some invective filled screed dripping with absolute hatred to come from their ranks.

Friday, October 27

I also would like to say that there seems to be a hell of a lot of so-called "grassroots" organizations popping up all of a sudden in Riverdale. I would like to ask who is funding these groups, although I have a suspicion already.

Friday, October 27

Democrats, MSM, every faculty member at any university in the country fighting to the death for illegal aliens? they put a warm and fuzzy name on it "Dreamers." and

no one seem to wonder why? future voters? can you imagine the Democrats ever being this interested or motivated in issues involving citizens! There is an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000 jobs American Citizens don't have or will be in competition for. The MSM and Democrats would have us believe that all 800 thousand are not taking jobs Americans want (we've heard that lie for many years now.) This is another falsehood told to the American people. Democrats have actually changed the language. It's not illegal alien its "Immigrant." (like the lie there just 'Kids") there not all picking strawberries they take great Jobs. Good enough jobs to buy homes put their kids through college.Why must the citizens of our country have competition for jobs, education in their own country from foreign nationals? Now Democrats and illegal alien activists admit DACA recipients have great jobs,are buying homes, paying taxes. The GOAL, motivation (Democrats just haven't figured this out yet) is for the American citizens to be employed, sending their kids to college, buying homes and paying taxes. It's not the responsibility of the citizens of this country to support, educate citizens from other country's.Deportation will save jobs and decrease the expense of illegal aliens.

"Some" of the costs associated with illegal immigration....

*The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student.

*Now city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported.

*2012 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

*30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison---U do the math.

*$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

*$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps),WIC, & free school lunches.

Friday, October 27

Careful Anna, the left gets very angry when you point out hard factual information like that. It makes it very hard for them to win an argument like that. Be prepared to be called a racist and a xenophobe. And since you mentioned DACA, be prepared to be called a baby killer as well. That's all the left has at their disposal at this point now that they have been completely exposed for what they are.....ad hominem attacks based on emotion.

Saturday, October 28
Michael Hinman

May I pose a question here for discussion purposes?

Do anyone participating in this discussion here believe that the creation of jobs is typically scalable with population growth?

Like, right now, there are 157.8 million jobs in America. But were there always 157.8 million jobs? Like when the first settlers arrived from Europe, did they land on Plymouth Rock and go, "Holy moly! This is the land of the plenty! There's 157.8 million jobs here!"

I would hope that you would say no. That as the population grew, so did the need for jobs. And that population growth generally creates job growth.

I agree, it may not be at the same pace, and population growth my outpace job growth — but not by a lot.

Think about it this way. You open a restaurant with 50 tables in a town of 10,000 people. You can accommodate the traffic from that population, and have no issue with it. But then the town grows to 15,000 people. The restaurant is a bit more crowded and you had to hire some additional staff, but you are still able to handle it.

The town grows to 20,000. Now there is a month-long waiting list for reservations, and you simply cannot handle the volume. So what do you do? You open another restaurant, automatically doubling your (already increased) staff.

Now picture that on a more macro scale.

Now understanding all that, do you still feel that people moving into this country takes away jobs? Like let's say some of these immigrants want to become doctors — if there are thousands of more people, wouldn't we need to have more doctors? More restaurant owners? More police officers? More shop owners?

Just some thoughts to ponder as part of the discussion. :)

Saturday, October 28

Note to Micheal, for some reason my post here was accidentally posted on another letter. Please remove that one if possible since it is only relevent here:

Your arguments only make sense Michael if you were talking about a functioning, healthy and truly free market economy. But with millions of jobs being outsourced and offshored, and with automation taking away so many more, what we're actually left with here is a rotting hulk filled mainly with menial service jobs that really only unskilled people like illegal immigrants want to do. Which is why we see them so overrepresented in fields such as food delivery, short order cooks, deli workers, landscapers and grunt laborers. The pie has shrunk, not expanded, and so now Americans are competing for these lower rung jobs in droves. This is why there are so many PhD bartenders and waiters. Even jobs like you mentioned of doctors are not as attractive to many people because of the abominable Obamacare law. So while I agree with you in spirit, the reality on the ground is the oligarchs have created a situation where we are all fighting eachother for the remaining crumbs and this economic expansion you dream of is simply not happening in the real world. Even the last administration had to admit that most jobs created were in the low-paid service and temp industry.

Saturday, October 28
Michael Hinman


I do believe that there is an issue of jobs, primarily manufacturing jobs, being moved overseas. But that is not the fault of our immigration system that created that. It's the fault of laws that allow such jobs to be exported in the first place. For me, fixing the issue isn't restricting immigration, but changing the laws that allow for such work to be exported in the first place.

There's no reason why my iPhone needs to be manufactured in China, or my clothes somewhere else. The only phones that should be manufactured in China are those that are going to be distributed in Asia. Those in America should be made here in America.

But I certainly couldn't blame immigration for that issue, so the correlation doesn't work for me.

Automation is not taking away any more jobs than are being created. Yes, it might shift people into doing different types of jobs, but those jobs are indeed available — we just have to invest in retraining to make it work.

When I was a kid, I remember "Mr. Mom," the Michael Keaton movie where Keaton's character loses his job to automation. I remember back then hearing about how this would leave so many people out of work. Yet, 30-something years later, I live in a country where unemployment remains sub-5 percent. What does that make me conclude? Sure, automation might shift people out of jobs, but other jobs are created, and with proper retraining, they can shift into those jobs.

It's like the argument of a McDonald's using the automated kiosks and how many jobs it takes away. Considering a minority of McDonald's jobs were front register and the majority of them were kitchen, I don't see how that would make an extreme impact. So a McDonald's location might have 16 people employed at the restaurant, but likely just five of them worked the front counter (and two of them were more runners than order-takers — and runners are still needed, despite automation). So out of 16, you maybe reduced to 13. Sure, those are jobs lost, but it's not shutting down our work force.

Please show me some statistics that show those with post-graduate degrees working as bartenders. I hear this anecdote, but never see the numbers to support it, so I would be interested in seeing that.

The Los Angeles Times published a story in 2013 looking at what you are claiming, and found that there is indeed an increase of people working jobs that don't require degrees that now have them. For instance, in 1970, 2 percent of firefighters had college degrees, while 18 percent do now. Also in 1970, 1 percent of taxi drivers had degrees, while 15 percent now.

But Richard Vedder, an economist with Ohio University who provided those numbers to the Times, pointed out that while (in 2013) there were still some lingering effects from the Great Recession, the number of people who have access to college degrees have grown exponentially, and that the job market simply has not been able to keep up with it.

The biggest growth took place in the lead-up to the tech boom of the late-1990s, where spending the money on college made sense because the financial rewards were extraordinary. But then the tech-bubble burst, and there were a lot of college-educated people, and simply not enough jobs to support it.

The last I checked, immigration did not cause the tech bubble. Nor did automation.

FYI, I have three roommates who are all in the middle of clinical rotations to become MDs. Obamacare itself didn't affect doctors as much, because the major effects impacted insurance companies. What actually hurts doctors and hospitals are those who seek treatment but can't afford to pay for it, especially emergency treatment. The bad debt with hospitals is extraordinary, which is why they then try to pass off extreme costs to those who CAN pay, and that has been a vicious cycle that has turned insurance into something that is simply not affordable.

Those doctors might not be big fans of Obamacare because of the political struggle making it almost unworkable to this point. However, many are interested in single-payer health care, and that's an interesting approach.

There are some pros and cons for doctors in a single-payer system, like what is being recommended through the New York Health Act. Some of those pros and cons are addressed quite well in a January 2016 story in Medpage today by Joyce Frieden. It might be worth looking that up and exploring what is being said about it.

Saturday, October 28

Thaknks Michael. That's a lot to digest and I need to look at some of your stats in order to propery respond, and since I need to go to a wedding now I simply don't have the time. I would just like to point out though that real unemployement is more like 20-23 percent....I simply don't believe the BLS numbers whether Obama or Trump is in office. I also don't believe the great recession ever ended. But like I said, you made a lot of points that deserve more than just a quick scribble so I'll leave it at that until I can give it the time it deserves.

Saturday, October 28


Been called every name in the book so its nothing new.

Saturday, October 28