Our VoiceImmigration

Still no justice in Suffolk County for victims of anti-immigrant bigotry


Imagine 2050 Staff • Jan 21, 2011

In 2008, a horrific crime brought national focus to New York’s Suffolk County.

Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant, was stabbed and murdered by seven teenagers who reportedly set out that evening to beat up “some Mexicans.”

In the early 2000s, Newsday tagged Suffolk County ‘Ground Zero’ for a growing anti-immigrant movement stoked by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Even though the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy had indoctrinated the community with legislative policy meant to dehumanize the immigrant population there, FAIR tried to describe the murder of Marcelo Lucero as an ‘isolated event.’

“The beating, stabbing and killing of Marcelo Lucero wasn’t a question of any county policy or legislation; it was a question of bad people doing horrific things,” [Associated Press, November 12, 2008] Levy said.

Levy had ridden the political wave of anti-immigrant activity and openly collaborated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform and its front group of elected officials for “immigration reform.”

It was clear that Suffolk County had a big problem.

The county’s Hate Crimes Task Force was formed in February 2009 from legislation sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville). It was formed after the murder of Lucero and two other Latinos. The bill was introduced based on reports that hate crimes were on the rise nationally and likely going underreported in Suffolk County.

Legislator Gregory is the chairman of the Hate Crimes Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of 13 members including two from the Suffolk County Legislature and one representative from Steve Levy’s office.  They have held numerous public meetings from 2009 through 2010 in order to hear the testimonies from residents.  These testimonies are expected to be summarized in a final report documenting Hate Crimes.

In a new twist, Gregory held a Jan. 4th press conference in which he accused Levy’s administration of editing 52-pages from a draft version of the task force’s report, causing the Hate Crime Task Force to miss its December 31, 2010 deadline.

Long Island Wins has been working hard to uncover the truth in Suffolk County and bring justice to the victims of anti-immigrant bigotry.   Long Island Wins has created a petition demanding an honest and thorough report on hate crimes.

The increased scrutiny is a step in the right direction. But justice has still not come to Suffolk County.

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