An aerial view of the Statue of Liberty (April 5...

An aerial view of the Statue of Liberty (April 5 , 2010) Credit: Ed Betz

Ready for another hotblooded round of immigration debate? Ready or not, here it comes.

Barack Obama's big speech was Thursday. And any moment now, the Justice Department will be filing suit against the state of Arizona, contending that the toughest-in-America immigration law is plainly unconstitutional.

So why does all this seem so far away?

It's not that Long Island doesn't struggle to absorb its fresh immigration, some legal, some not. It's certainly not that our politicians are above pandering on the issue or that the stresses of fresh immigration don't pop up here and there.

See the immigrant flop houses, stacked like store shelves, and day-laborer lineups outside Home Depot.

But compared to the roar of the border states - and compared to the roar of talk radio - life with and for new immigrants has been relatively benign around here.

Not perfect by a long shot but little of the open hostility of Tucson or Albuquerque or San Diego.

Around New York and Long Island, the economy has done a relatively good job absorbing the newcomers. There are reasons for this, good reasons.

Our immigrants come from many nations, not just a few. They arrive with a mix of skill levels. The available jobs are more diverse than farm labor and construction.

And we have a tradition - this should not be discounted - of absorbing waves of immigrations from all around the world.

We have that lady in New York harbor. She stands for something this Independence Day.



UNANSWERED: Another $1.60 a pack? When will the state just outlaw cigarettes and be done with it? . . . What happened to that too-brief chilly snap? Did the weather gods realize, "It's July? Then never mind"? . . . Last state in America to pass no-fault divorce? How 'bout we file for a no-fault divorce from Albany? . . . How did the Gruccis get to be the official blow-stuff-up family anyway? . . . Are you like me? When you read the headline, "Cops: Man Slices Hand Off with Table Saw" - you couldn't actually bring yourself to read the gory details? . . . That boil-water alert in Greenlawn? You understand, don't you, you're supposed to let the water cool before you drink it? . . . How much is the BP spill in the Gulf fueling wind-farm approval off LI? . . . What's so funny? Oh, right. The Long Island Comedy Festival, still roaring after five years. Who knew? . . . Feel like Brazilian food this weekend? No trouble getting reservations after the World Cup letdown.

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17 LI Assembly Members

It's not a perfect law. But finally New York is joining 49 other states that allow no-fault divorce. It's less expensive, less brutal, less dishonest and less slow than the current divorces we've been suffering with. Glen Cove Democrat Charles Lavine and 16 other members of the LI Assembly delegation helped put the long-awaited change over the top. St. James Republican Michael Fitzpatrick stood alone in voting against.