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Hate crime panel hears of need for laborer hiring sites

The Town of Oyster Bay has passed an

The Town of Oyster Bay has passed an ordinance to fine day laborers and contractors for soliciting work on public roads. (December 17, 2009) Photo Credit: David Pokress

Establish hiring sites for day laborers. Train police in cultural sensitivity. Pass a resolution welcoming immigrants to Suffolk.

Those were among 28 recommendations the Long Island Immigrant Alliance presented to the Suffolk Legislature's Hate Crimes Task Force Wednesday.

"I think the presentation was great. I think the majority of the recommendations are feasible," said task force chairman Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville). "Some may be a little difficult to implement, but I think they were very well thought out."

Nadia Marin-Molina, executive director of the Workplace Project in Hempstead, a member of the alliance, said the idea was to present the task force with very specific recommendations. "We just thought it was really important to go beyond vague statements and to put really concrete things that can be done and to say that it's not an impossible task to change the climate in Suffolk County," she said.

The task force, which will give its own report in August, was formed after the 2008 fatal stabbing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero, whose death authorities have labeled a hate crime. The alliance is an immigrant advocacy group.

Other alliance recommendations included opening a multicultural community center in Patchogue in honor of Lucero, creating an agency for integrating immigrants into the county and ensuring that Suffolk police do not participate in any more federal raids targeting undocumented immigrants.

Many of the recommendations require support and resources from lawmakers, police and County Executive Steve Levy, who has clashed with the immigrant advocates who drew up the recommendations.

"Many of these recommendations have already been implemented," said police Commissioner Richard Dormer, citing a recommendation to meet with church leaders and reaching out to Spanish-speaking residents. "We are examining the report in detail to see if there are other areas of agreement."

Dan Aug, a spokesman for Levy, said Levy agreed with Dormer's statement. The presentation was among several that the task force has had over the past year, in addition to four public hearings designed to draw hate crime victims out. But only one self-identified victim of a hate crime came forward, leading them to consider holding more intimate meetings in different venues in upcoming months.

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