Malloy fields hot potatoes from Norwalk residents, others

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalkers had a strong presence, as expected, Wednesday night at Gov. Dannel Malloy’s town hall in Norwalk — the first on his 2014 tour — beginning with a 16-year-old Brien McMahon High School student with a controversial status.

Gov. Dannel Malloy considers a speaker Wednesday in Norwalk City Hall.

“I am undocumented,” Junior Sierra said. “I came to the U.S. at the age of 6. … What are you going to be doing to help my dreams become reality so I can contribute to Connecticut and the United States?”

Malloy stood in front of a crowded City Hall community room, fielding comments from at least five Norwalk residents, Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Bruce Mellion and a representative of a union fighting to help immigrants laid off from their jobs cleaning the Maritime Aquarium. He also took heat from people who had driven a bit to get here.

Junior, who goes to the Center for Global Studies, said he won a Norwalk science fair, then won again at the state level. He qualified for a $20,000 scholarship to Quinnipiac College, but his undocumented status disqualifies him, he said.

“What initiative will you be taking to help this community of students go to college?” he asked.

Malloy said Connecticut passed the Dream Act shortly after he become governor.

Gov. Dannel Malloy visits Norwalk Wednesday.

“I think the reality is America has to deal with this issue. … I can’t condone what your parents did but the reality is you have been here for a long period of time and you’re not going anywhere. We shouldn’t be cutting off our nose to spite our face on the prospect that you are going to go anywhere,” Malloy said.

The governor suggested that maybe Junior could get a governor’s scholarship, which drew Malloy a rebuke from an unidentified later in the hour-plus-long session of questions.

“My heart goes out to him that he is not afforded opportunities that lawful citizens and lawful residents are afforded,” said Linda C. Zaplinski. “But the appropriate response should have been that ‘Young man, I am very sorry that this is the plight you are in but your parents should have thought about that before they crossed these borders illegally.”

Malloy said he agreed America should control its borders but the young man is here and he isn’t going anywhere.

“He may be a person who can contribute to this country quite a bit,” he said. “Should we deny him?”

Other comments were less controversial.

Mellion thanked Malloy for working to lower the taxes on teachers’ pensions. Malloy said that would make those pensions a more fair comparison to Social Security, which teachers are not eligible for.

Mellion also thanked Malloy for moving universal pre-K forward.

Malloy said there will be 1,000 more pre-K seats available this year. “Those thousand spaces that we will make available this year will be primarily go to Priority School Districts, one of which is Norwalk,” he said.

A Norwalk Community College student, Marcel Fontaine, said there are no jobs available, and asked if taxes and “costly regulations” could be decreased for small businesses.

“We are working to find ways to bring tax relief as the economy recovers slowly,” Malloy said. “That’s the heart of the matter. In a state where we had failed to have net job growth for 22 years we continue to have slower growth than I would like to see,” Malloy said.

A crowd sits in the City Hall community room Wednesday, listening to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Carmen Sargent, a representative of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) made a statement of support, reminding Malloy of all the things he has done that has earned him the best wishes of union members. Watching were at least five unemployed 32BJ members, former cleaners at the Maritime Aquarium, who have been trying to get their jobs back with the help of city officials.

They had been cleaning the Maritime Aquarium for years before the aquarium terminated its contract with the company they worked for.

Malloy has been a champion of hard-working immigrants, Sargent said, making “the American dream come true for those who are willing to work for it.”

“I didn’t know you were going to be here and say those things. As nice as you were you probably got me in trouble,” Malloy said.

Norwalk activist Larry Johnston said Malloy had promised him that he would look in on non-profits organizations who are not adhering to the statements they made when they applied for state money.

“I am frustrated with state government,” Malloy said. “That some agencies get written in the state budget as receiving X number of dollars … regardless or without anyone actually looking or examining performance on a year to year basis. I have expressed that frustration. I believe everyone needs to be held to a standard. You should be able to tell me what you have done for the people in the state of Connecticut when you are getting that money or that money should be competitively lent as opposed to being written into state documents. You know I tried to make that change.”


38 responses to “Malloy fields hot potatoes from Norwalk residents, others”

  1. Notaffiliated

    I so wish I could have been in attendance. So, riddle me this – what % of Norwalk Public School Students are illegal immigrants (if you voted for Romney) or undocumented (if you voted for Obama)?

    Does one REALLY believe that the teachers in Norwalk are not as good as those in Darien? Westport? Wilton? The hand teachers are dealt isn’t ideal especially when schools are measured by test scores.

    We all want to believe that every immigrant (especially legal ones) could be advantageous to this country – however, we’re at a point in time where the highest level of the available workforce is not employed!! (Not “receiving unemployment” – not working!!) . I’m sure this young man is a fine stalwart citizen yet, I can’t simply decide to close up shop here and move to Canada – can I?

    In closing, another Norwalk observation. We certainly have a fair share of barber shops and it strikes me that so many of the Mexican restaurants do a great job of keeping their windows blocked off – Wall Street, Commerce Street, the one near the lawn dump going down to Vet’s Park. Why is that?

  2. lael

    I was more than a little taken aback that this student doesn’t think that receiving in-state tuition just like the other kids get is enough. He wants MORE. He said its “not enough.” And what’s even worse is that our governor thinks he should have MORE. It was downright nauseating to listen to his response to this student. This kid’s status is unfortunate but that’s the choice his parents made when they came here. My family came in legally, had respect for the laws of the U.S. and became citizens. He’s had FREE education to this point and he gets to pay the lower in-state tuition rates. Sounds good to me. I don’t know where he’s from, but I can guarantee if I illegally lived in his country of origin, I wouldn’t have what he has here for free. Our politicians need to stop pandering to people who disrespected the laws of this country and yet expect to reap the benefits of lawful citizens. Enough is enough.

  3. Suzanne

    Undocumented workers are not here for free. They pay taxes and pay into the Social Security system (unless their employer is paying them under the table which would be the fault of the “legal”, “documented” United States business owner.) Two things: I have worked with a lot of undocumented workers in my business over the years as a manager not an employer. I have yet to meet a single one who would not wish to be in their country of origin. They cannot support themselves in their country of origin – that is, they cannot make enough to feed their families. They are not coming here for the love of the cross, usually very expensive and dangerous, and certainly not because they now must be away from their families and home in order to make enough money to feed them. Second: I have had legal, Caucasian workers on my teams too. None lasted out a week with the physical requirements of the work. No undocumented worker is taking any job from citizens in my experience. Finally, your respective family members may have come into this country legally and worked very hard just like my experience with undocumented workers now. The only difference I can see between the two is politics and population. If you are a Native American, you are the exception and it is very likely you have blood of European, immigrant descent. This student has worked hard to rise above the manual labor I am sure his parents have been sequestered to. That he continues to seek opportunities is a contribution and should be congratulated. He has received nothing he has not worked very hard for. Just like your immigrant parents.

  4. lael

    @Suzanne–he essentially has the same opportunities right now as thosein this country lawfully going to college. He’s very clear he wants MORE–the Dream Act giving him same status was not enough. Sounds like he wants subsidized or FREE. That’s my issue. And let’s be real here, most illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes. Until recently, because they were illegal, they used fake social security numbers and paid little to nothing. I personally know some who worked AND collected benefits. A lot of that money they collected on welfare got mailed back to their country—not spent here. This is wrong and no matter how sympathic one may be to their plight, the economic reality is that we can’t afford to give them BETTER than our own kids get.

  5. WOW!

    @ Suzanne: Bravo! Well stated.

    @ lael: I believe Junior was speaking of two things. The first was about being denied, because of his status, a $20,000 scholarship that he had earned because of his achievements. The second was more of a macro perspective of economic barriers to a higher education, something that is not unique to undocumented individuals but rather to many students who have the intellectual capacity but not the economic means.

  6. David

    @lael: Undocumented workers can and do pay taxes, through Tax ID Numbers – faking SSN’s is not necessary, nor to their advantage. Every suggestion of laws to address undocumented in this country includes proof that affected persons have been paying taxes, and that’s why they do it. Besides Social Security Taxes they also pay property and sales taxes at a local level.
    +1 what @WOW! said regarding the scholarship.

  7. spanner

    Any word from our State reps today on what they can do to help Norwalk out at the State level?

  8. Suzanne

    This kid describes his accomplishments that he worked hard for that eventually led to a scholarship, that any child in the US has access to if they were to be as creative and hard working. That playing field is level. But, a $20,000 scholarship to a University whose tuition for one year is $40,000 plus might as well not be assistance at all if this child, as an undocumented, has no access to federal and state loan funds, that EVERY child has access to, in order to complete his college education. CT jobs are dwindling and here is a candidate for work and life that wants to stay here. He has shown his desire to work hard and participate in the community, qualities I would like to see more of in the citizens of CT. There are many people out to cheat “the system” and that has always been the case. What is the supported, umbiased, nonpartisan data that shows it is mostly undocumented workers doing this? Undocumented people pay sales tax at the very least, employment taxes, into the social system (if they are working and being paid lawfully by a US employer.) It is a common mistake to believe they are not paying as much as other working Americans. While it is true that money is necessarily being sent back to home countries because of poverty (the reason that have HAD to be displaced to being with), you imply that it is federal money going to a foreign country that would be better spent here. I would like to see the unbiased, nonpartisan statistics for that. I do not think this claim bears up.

  9. the donut hole

    the feelings of entitlement are mind numbing. get a job and go to state school like so many of us have. the only people who care where you came from do so because you tend to vote for them. besides your vote they could give a rat’s ass.

  10. Anonymous

    Could somebody define the word “illegal?”

  11. David

    @Anonymous: Actions contrary to criminal law.

  12. David

    @Donut Hole: Where’s the “entitlement mind” – the kid worked hard and played by the rules. He competed fairly and achieved at a high level. It was the actions of his Parents that are disqualifying him from attaining what he worked hard to achieve. He’s not looking for a handout, he just wants to learn more and be a productive member of society.
    If you ask me, he’s displayed characteristics that we need to see more of in our society today.

  13. dawn

    i find it kind of amazing that a person has the cojones top stand in front of the governor of the state, the top state official in the stae and other reps who may have been present, and i am sure the state trooper security detail and announce yourself as a criminal and expect to make demands.
    what ever your stand on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, it is today illegal.

  14. D Maggs

    The question begs: should we change the laws of this country to accommodate the illegals and undocumented?
    That’s what the likes of pena would like to happen. The same people who have you voting for Malloy to begin with. Go ask the people of Stamford how happy they are that he left.
    @Suzanne I’ll work circles around any illegal undocumented worker you have RIGHT NOW!. But you can’t pay me $10-12 an hour.
    @notafilliated what the heck do the blocked windows have to do with this kid?

  15. WOW!

    We are so proud of our rising stars from within our Latino community. Congratulations, Junior, on your courage and perseverance.
    @ donut hole and @ dawn:
    The two of you have had the opportunity to be properly educated in this country. Your poor grammar and poor typing skills aside, is it really necessary to express your thoughts to a minor by using terms like “rat’s ass” and “cojones”?

  16. Suzanne

    D Maggs, Unless you can haul up to 200 pounds, dig wide and deep holes in 90 degree heat plus humidity, stack stones of varying weights and sizes to design with mortar, all required of wealthy clients to a quick schedule, you will not be “working circles” around any of these valued and skilled workers. They were paid accordingly, to my knowledge, by the contractor who hired them at $22-$27 dollars per hour, a fair wage for hard work and good labor in very difficult conditions. Trust me – you would not want to nor could you do this work which requires not just brute force but a knowledge base unknown to most US born American workers.

  17. Against Amnesty

    Malloy and these far left radical Socialists are destroying this state and nation. I have a son who graduated 10th in a class of over 250 and did everything a kid should do. My wife and I are not wealthy 100k joint income. On a FAFSA basis my kid who sadly was born a white male gets nada from UConn or Quinnipiac and is at Community College. I have zero sympathy for these illegal aliens and the democrats who coddle them for votes. “It’s not enough”!!! If you reelect this buffoon Governor and these dream act wack jobs a bankrupt country is your future. Disgusting.

  18. D Maggs

    @Suzzanne You haven’t a clue what I do for work. …

    Comment has been edited for language and other violations; poster has been blocked.

  19. the donut hole

    Many laws are unfair. You know what, life isn’t fair either. How about the fact my parents had sufficient assets that disqualified me from receiving student aid, even though I paid for my own education. Is that fair? Did I complain and try to make some excuse that it was because of my ethnicity or race?

    WOW, please point out my grammatical error and explain where they taught you that. …

    This comment has been edited to comply with our policy.

  20. Suzanne

    Against Amnesty, Community College is considered by many to be a great tuition saver on the road to a BA/BS degree and an excellent opportunity to complete core curriculum classes. While your son may not have gotten into the four year school of his choice, I bet he does transfer to an excellent institution having paid very little for courses far more expensive at a four year school. I have met many students who have planned their college careers in this way thus not having to defer huge loans while completing their college curriculum.

    the donut hole, I, too, had parents with “land rich, cash poor” circumstances that disqualified me from any financial aid. I, too, paid my own way through college and, honestly, I would not recommend it. I see students today who get far more out of their educations by working a little and being able to study a lot. I managed a decent grade point average and left an expensive private school debt free and more than exhausted. However, I do not think this would be possible today. The point is, loan availability to those who are deserving and need it, should be for all who can demonstrate their education abilities and desires.

  21. the donut hole

    hiring managers will pick the kid who works their way through school over the free riders any day of the week. doesn’t matter what they did in high school. companies want to hire hard workers first and affirmative action candidates last.

  22. David

    @the donut hole: Why do you insist on denigrating this kid? He’s not an “affirmative action” case, he’s someone who worked hard and won a competition on the merits.

  23. Against Amnesty

    Suzanne… First off your comment about jobs US born workers are unwilling or incapable of doing is outrageous. Directed at another demographic would quickly be censored. My son WAS accepted at several schools and AID was denied due to my FAFSA and his race. UConn tuition has become quite high and the CC route was taken. I and my wife and children are here legally and pay taxes. Juniors parents broke the law. They are illegal aliens and are subsidized by tax paying legal residents. To Malloy they are undocumented Democrats to vote for their radical agenda. Your statements are inaccurate at best and apologize for those who violate our immigration laws.

  24. Suzanne

    Against Amnesty, I would rather err on the side of compassion with a country that has the resources to pay families enough to feed their children than get caught up in … bitterness and invective … We are fortunate people in this country – get used to it.

    This comment has been edited to conform with our policy.

  25. Suzanne

    No outrageous statements here: what I said about jobs and how they are accomplished has been my experience for about fifteen years. Have you had different experiences with such hard labor and the skill required to do it? If so, support your “outrageous” statement. Aid outright denied because of race is illegal in this country – according to my reading of it, FAFSA status is about income and assets qualification for aid just like when I went to school. You have too many for your son to qualify just like my parents did. Figure out a different strategy as I mentioned above. In addition, as mentioned previously by other contributors to this thread, undocumented workers pay taxes and work hard for their money. That is not a “liberal agenda”, that is a fact. Those that “work the system” for undeserving aid are not unlike American citizens who do the same thing – it costs all of us the same. I am not an apologist for immigration law, I simply don’t agree with a lot of it. This is because, as I mentioned before, I have worked with the PEOPLE who have come here, who have made the very TREACHEROUS journey for work here in the United States in order to provide for their families. Your child is starving or going hungry or can’t go to school, or has no clothes. YOUR child, Amnesty. What are you going to do? Let your precious son starve or go to the place where you know your earnings can contribute to a healthy life? Your conservatism belies the real equation – real people, like Junior and his parents, who come here because the alternative is too dire. Show some understanding of this factor at least, or not, because however your bitterness goes reflects on you and I am sure you are comfortable with that.

  26. Against Amnesty

    Suzanne.. First off your statement is outrageous and please articulate your experiences as you made the declarative statements. I would love to hear that one. They are not “undocumented” they are Illegal aliens and chose to break the law. Sadly Junior pays some consequence for his parents actions, but it is outrageous he benefit because of it. Six hundred lost their jobs at Sikorsky today as the oppressive tax atmosphere in this state for the far left social experiment you advocate for is strangling Connecticut’s economy. As many already have should things not change in this state I will leave to a less expensive, lower taxed state. I have lived here all my life, never broke the law, paid my taxes and attempted to raise a family here. Because of the course this Governor and people like you advocate for, we are going bankrupt as a state, our economy is last in nearly every economic category, and the future is grim. Again Six hundred lost their jobs today at Sikorsky and our children have a bleak future if they stay here. I was taught to follow the law and those who do not suffer consequences. My ancestors when they immigrated here did so legally were law abiding and learned to speak English. I work full and part time and my wife part time to make ends meet. We are being taxed out of existence to pay for all these welfare programs. Jobs are leaving this state daily and New Haven and Bridgeport are crime ridden depressed shells of what they once were. You are living in a warped self deprecating fantasy world.

  27. WOW!

    @ Against Amnesty:
    May I suggest a US government supported right wing dictatorial Latin American country as your next residence, as you depart this “far left social experiment”? Only then might you begin to understand the plight many of these immigrants faced after witnessing the deaths of millions by US military-supported death squads. You probably wouldn’t read the book, “Harvest of Empire”, but maybe you could substitute watching FOX News for an hour and watch an interview of the author on the following link: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/4/30/see_democracy_now_s_juan_gonzalez_speak_at_upcoming_screenings_of_harvest_of_empire

  28. Suzanne

    Amnesty, I articulated my experiences with undocumented workers in another post. Our views are, indeed, completely different. I do not fault immigration, for example, for the jobs lost at Sikorsky. If they are being “off-shored” that is no surprise – it has been the way of the majority of manufacturing jobs in America for quite some time. It is why when you go to buy clothes, a pen, almost any appliance, any household item, you will likely see “Made in China” or some other country not the United States. This has nothing to do with illegal immigration – it does have to do with the vicissitudes of a flailing American economy. Your situation does sound difficult but no different from my experiences growing up where my Dad worked one full time job and two part time jobs (a professor, a lumber yard) while my Mom was a substitute teacher. These combined sources of income kept a large family afloat but just barely. I do not believe their working so hard is any different from other immigrants trying to make a better life in this country (my Mom was first generation French.) You can believe I am “warped” and “self deprecating” and, again, that is your bitter choice. I, however, am glad for the work that undocumented workers do to keep the infrastructure of our culture going, jobs that, as I have stated, others will not do. (If LA did not have undocumenteds, the City would pretty much stop functioning.) That is my realistic, based upon experience choice after a great deal of study. You, I think, need to control your knee from jerking long enough to see how lucky you are that you have the jobs you do and can provide for your household.

  29. David

    The 600 jobs lost at Sikorsky have nothing to do with an “oppressive tax atmosphere” – the Military ordered less Black Hawks. Simple as that. That doesn’t fit into your narrative, but that’s the reality.

  30. Against Amnesty

    Military cut Blackhawks due to Obama’s Sequestration. It’s called guns vs butter. Used to teach that in school, soon it will be all Commoncore indoctrination instead. Last time I was in a Latin American Dictatorship I was in the USMC helping to liberate it, Wow. Your “facts” Suzanne as usual are not and you should broaden your horizons to reality and stop regurgitating George Soros far left MoveOn talking points. Evil Conservative saying have a good weekend in your alternate realities.

  31. David

    ‘Obamas sequestration’. Now if that isn’t the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Hilarious. It’s as if a congress doesn’t exist! Tea Party? What tea party? That just shows, right there, how out if touch you are with simple facts. Funny.

  32. the donut hole

    @David. I never denigrated this kid. I don’t even know him. Still he’s expecting special treatment not afforded to him by law. Life is tough get over it.
    With respect to Sikorsky, you need to wake up. This state is bleeding jobs moving to more friendly business environments. Malloy is single handedly killing our insurance industry. Aetna will be moving soon. Cigna too. UBS is vacating 3000 jobs from Stamford. These are just a few dominos and more will follow.
    I just wish some of the dyed in the wool Democrats would wake up to the fact that Malloy is a lemon. Even Cuomo next door is doing things to promote business. Until the lackey’s in this state start demanding similar from three card Malloy, we are doomed.

  33. Suzanne

    Amnesty, I am sure you must know that the perception of reality is different for everyone. Having read a bit of yours, I am happy to be “sequestered” in mine.

  34. WOW!

    @ Against Amnesty:
    American military intervention in Latin America, either in installing rightist dictatorships or in training and arming contra forces against leftist regimes all in the self-interest of the USA or in the interests of US corporations doing business in Latin America, caused bloodshed to the tune of millions of deaths, the torturing of millions more, a collapse in Latin American countries’ economies and one of the largest diasporas in the history of the world. God bless you when your “alternate reality” becomes your final destiny. Compassion for mankind, and that includes compassion for undocumented immigrants, is not on your side, come Judgement Day.

  35. David

    donut: He’s not “expecting” anything. He’s petitioning the governor to change a law that affected him so that it won’t do the same to others in his situation in the future.
    With respect to Sikorsky, you need to take a reality check, get informed. The jobs being cut aren’t being shipped to another state with lower costs. They’re being cut. Completely. It’s nothing to do with the Malloy’s or Obama’s tax plans, it’s to do with a Tea Party who wants to cut the budget and doesn’t care what or whom they hurt in order to do it.
    UBS? Leaving Stamford for….New York City. A city with a *higher* tax schedule than Stamford Connecticut. Sorry that fact doesn’t fit your narrative. Cigna. Really? A company that moved its headquarters to Connecticut *specifically* because of the First 5 program that Malloy implemented as Governor. Rally? Sorry that fact doesn’t fit your narrative.
    I’m not a big fan of Malloy, but I’ll hand it to him, he’s attracted a lot of big business, high paying jobs, to Connecticut – Abbott Labs, NBC Sports and many expansions for existing corporations already here, like Alexion and Bridgewater. Sorry those facts don’t fit your narrative.

  36. the donut hole

    David. Are you so blind to not see that CT is the only economy shrinking in the U.S?
    Are you so blind to realize that real national GDP would be down 10% if it weren’t for the government printing money?
    You are right the Sikorsky jobs are gone and … you buy into the B.S. that it is because of some choice of a political movement, rather than the leader of the free world. The leader of the free world is just a powerless victim of the tea party. Poor Obama. Poor David. If only people would subscribe to their utopian ideals, the world would be a perfect peaceful place. Puke bucket anyone?

    This comment has been edited to comply with our name-calling ban.

  37. David

    I understand that the “choice political movement” makes up a very significant part of the U.S. Government and the governing process we have in our democracy. I understand this because I have taken the time to educate myself in its workings. It is because I understand that I know, that, NO, the “leader of the free world” cannot create sequestration and cannot cancel orders of Blackhawks in Connecticut. I won’t apologize for being informed. I won’t apologize for actually knowing how Government works.
    “This comment has been edited to comply with our name-calling ban.” – Thank you. One other thing I know is that when one person resorts to calling another person names, they’ve conceded the argument. Another telltale sign? They counter fact with rhetoric. That’s you all over, mi amigo!

  38. Oh david. Being informed is not the same as being educated and being able to think critically about the information given. Keep thinking this progressive lets share me wealth to the have nots is the way to go – …

    This comment has been edited to conform with our policy.

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