Senators And 9/11 Family Members Call On Senate Majority To End The Fear-mongering And Condemn Anti-immigrant Front Groups

Eric Adams

October 15, 2007

Minutes before the Senate's hearing on the DMV's recent policy change, ranking member of the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Senator Eric Adams stood with Talat Hamandi, representative of the 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, to call on the Senate Majority to end the fear-mongering. They were also joined by Jose Davila of the New York Immigration Coalition, which released a report today entitled "F.A.I.R. Hearings" exposing the truth behind several of the witnesses who were called to testify at today’s hearing by the Senate Majority.

The press conference was held to offer an alternative voice to the anti-immigrant, nativist front groups that were called in by Senate Republicans to testify as "expert" witnesses in today’s driver's license hearing.

"On behalf of the 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, I commend Governor Spitzer for his courageous leadership in implementing a common sense policy that will make our roads safer and our homeland more secure. And I condemn those politicians who have tried to manipulate the memories of the family members we lost on September 11th by making statements that exploit our tragedy and using 9/11 for political gain," said Talat Hamdani, the mother of a police cadet who was killed at the World Trade Center during the attacks of September 11th.

"With the aid of certain New York State legislators in the Senate and Assembly, the national nativist movement has descended up on New York to prey on people's legitimate fears about terrorism and exploit a common-sense policy for the benefit of their anti-immigrant agenda," said Jose Davila of the New York Immigration Coalition. "Senator Joe Bruno and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco should be ashamed that they have rolled out the welcome mat for fear-mongerers under the guise of so-called credible experts."

Senator Adams said: "As a former police captain of the NYPD, I applaud Governor Spitzer for facing reality and doing what many of us in law enforcement know is good for public safety and good for security. I know first-hand the safety value of having drivers on our roads who are properly licensed and insured. And, having used DMV's database to solve crimes, I know just how critical it is to have a current and comprehensive database of names, photographs and addresses that can help law enforcement track criminals and terrorists. This policy change will help achieve both of these goals."

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said: "I view this proposal as an opportunity for law enforcement to secure one more tool for an ever increasingly challenging job. Along the border in upstate rural NY we may spend hours on the roadside trying to ascertain an individual's real identity. In today's age of technology it is easy for someone to secure bogus paperwork. With a NY state driver identification, law enforcement can scan them to establish if they are real or not. This will not only save valuable law enforcement time, it will also allow us to truly identify immigrants."

The New York Immigration Coalition's report, "F.A.I.R. Hearings," examines three organizations that were all invited by the Senate Majority to be represented at the driver's license hearing. The groups were all either founded by or have direct ties to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R), the most notorious nativist, anti-immigrant organization in the United States.

Talat Hamdani is a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. September 11th Families is composed of family members who lost loved ones on 9/11 and have joined together to turn their grief into action for peace. Talat lost her eldest son, Salman, at the World Trade Center. Salman was a police cadet at the time. Even though he was not on duty, Salman rushed to the World Trade Center to help in the recovery operations. It was his last heroic act. Congress recognized Salman's sacrifice in the preamble to the USA PATRIOT Act. Talat Hamdani can be reached at 631-655-8781.

Jose Davila is the New York Immigration Coalition's Government Affairs Representative. For more information on the Coalitions report --"F.A.I.R. Hearings" -- call Jose at 917-502-6486.