October 2011
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Month October 2011

Poverty Rate Soars to Highest Level Since 1993

As poverty in the United States climbed to 46.2 million people last year – the highest number since the Census Bureau began publishing figures on it 52 years ago – “[m]inorities were hardest hit. Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009, and Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9.9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9.4 percent in 2009.” Sabrina Tavernise, Poverty Rate Soars to Highest Level Since 1993, N.Y. Times, Sept. 14, 2011, at A1. The increases were even greater in New York City. Sam Roberts, As Effects of Recession Linger, Growth in City’s Poverty Rate Outpaces the Nation’s, N.Y. Times, Sept. 22, 2011, at A23.

As was also recently pointed out, the Occupy Wall Street “protesters picked the right city in which to start their campaign. Among the 1 percent of American households with the highest income, a significant portion, 13 percent, live in the New York metropolitan area, with 4.4 percent living in Manhattan, according to an analysis by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College.” Sam Roberts, As the Data Show, There’s a Reason the Protesters Chose New York, N.Y. Times, Oct. 26, 2011, at A23.

NYCLU to City: Let Educators Handle School Discipline

A call by the New York Civil Liberties Union to return school discipline to the province of educators, rather than the NYPD:

the police force in the schools has increased by 35 percent to more than 5,240 people, representing the fifth-largest police force in the nation. (City schools employ approximately 3,000 guidance counselors.) * * * As a result, incidents of children being wrongfully arrested and mistreated by police personnel in the city’s schools are disturbingly common.

Law Expected in NYC Would Hamper Inmate Deportations

The Bloomberg administration has announced it now backs a New York City Council bill that attempts to re-direct city cooperation with federal immigration officials towards “deporting noncitizen criminals who pose a threat to the public, while focusing less on illegal immigrants who do not pose a threat.” Sam Dolknick, In Change, Mayor Backs Obstacle to Deportation, N.Y. Times, Oct. 1, 2011, at A19:

In a significant reversal, the Bloomberg administration said Friday that it would support a City Council bill that would hamper federal authorities’ ability to detain, and eventually deport, foreign-born inmates on Rikers Island who are about to be released.

… Corrections Department officials routinely share lists of foreign-born inmates with immigration authorities, who then take custody of, detain and deport thousands of people who had been charged with misdemeanors and felonies. The arrangement is common across the country.

The bill would not end the practice, known as the criminal detainer program, in New York City. But it would prevent corrections officials from transferring inmates to federal custody, even immigrants in the United States illegally, if prosecutors declined to press charges against them, and if they had no convictions or outstanding warrants, had not previously been ordered deported and did not show up on the terrorist watch list.

As a result, the immigrants would be released if they were not defendants in criminal cases, regardless of whether federal officials wanted them deported.

“The criminal detainer program had become the immigrant dragnet program,” Ms. Quinn said. “We don’t support that.”