by Ryan Campbell | January 21, 2013
Nicole Malliotakis, Republican Assemblywoman of Staten Island and Brooklyn (both places hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy) has been trying to use the disaster to further her own political rhetoric completely separate from the recovery effort: denying state tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants. This is not only desperately reaching to make connections that don’t exist, but also a comically self-unaware and ugly statement to come out with about a national disaster while many in New York and New Jersey are still homeless in the midst of a cold, East Coast flu season.
When the numbers are crunched, the verdict is in: the DREAM Act will bring in more money than it would cost. Mayor Bloomberg’s think tank concluded that the DREAM Act would bring billions of dollars to struggling state economies. This is in addition to the savings from no longer kicking down doors to deport college students and place American-born children into foster care. Access to financial aid, which is essentially access to education for anyone without a trust fund in today’s America, is a central part of the DREAM Act. Malliotakis, like Republicans standing against investment in infrastructure jobs, is standing against our long-term financial interests in her short-game-centric opposition.
Malliotakis said that offering state tuition assistance to DREAMers, people brought to the US as children who have spent their entire lives here, is “the wrong approach” before the storm hit. Since then, she has tried to attach this policy to Hurricane Sandy, an unrelated disaster, much like the flurry of unrelated legislative action we saw from Republicans in the immediate wake of 9/11.
When asked about state tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants, Malliotakis said: “I am appalled by the Majority’s misplaced priorities and urge anyone in support of this bill to take a walk through my district and see who really needs and deserves a helping hand right now.” If she were able to become outraged any faster, she’d make a good Fox News pundit.
In addition to being offensive to both hurricane victims and undocumented immigrants, her statements are also absurdly self-unaware: Nicole Malliotakis hails from the Republican Party. This is the same party slowing down Sandy relief.
Inspired by the delay in an aid package caused by most Republicans in Congress, Chris Christie said “…the Republican Party has said it is the party of family values. Last night it turned its back on the most essential value of all, and that is to provide food, shelter, clothing and relief for people who have been hit by a natural disaster. And I would say that the Republican Party has turned its back on those people.” This same outrage has been echoed by Republican Representative of Long Island Peter King, who went so far as to discourage donations to Congressional Republicans because of their refusal to vote on a Sandy relief package.
Scanning google, it’s easy to find Malliotakis outraged, willing to jump in front of a Fox News camera to call the NYC Marathon a “slap in the face” of those on Staten Island. Far from Christie and King’s public cries of outrage, however, it’s either incredibly difficult or impossible to dig up a quote of her being critical of Republicans in the House of Representatives that has been blocking meaningful hurricane relief: they just recently passed a $51 billion relief bill after 78 days of waiting for hurricane victims, and only 49 of 233 Republicans in the House voted for it.
To recap: From Molliotakis’ perspective, denying the citizens of New York and New Jersey necessary in the wake of what could easily be classified as “an act of God” aid is perfectly whatever enough that it doesn’t elicit a public response, but, if you dare try to organize a fundraiser or educate an undocumented immigrant in view of Malliotakis’ homeless and freezing constituency, she will bring the house down on you.