Saturday, February 20, 2010

A 6th Ward Judge Keeps His Word.....And Sparks Words From Old Neighbors

an excerpt from the nytimes of February 19, 2010
Judge Keeps His Word to Immigrant Who Kept His, By NINA BERNSTEIN
The judge and the juvenile had grown up on the same mean streets, 40 years apart. And in fall 1996, they faced each other in a New York court where children are prosecuted as adults, but sentenced like candidates for redemption.
The teenager, a gifted student, was pleading guilty to a string of muggings committed at 15 with an eclectic crew in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The judge, who remembered the pitfalls of Little Italy in the 1950s, urged him to use his sentence — three to nine years in a reformatory — as a chance to turn his life around.
“If you do that, I am here to stand behind you,” the judge, Michael A. Corriero, promised. The youth, Qing Hong Wu, vowed to change.
Mr. Wu kept his word. He was a model inmate, earning release after three years. He became the main support of his immigrant mother, studying and working his way up from data entry clerk to vice president for Internet technology at a national company.
But almost 15 years after his crimes, by applying for citizenship, Mr. Wu, 29, came to the attention of immigration authorities in a parallel law enforcement system that makes no allowances for rehabilitation. He was abruptly locked up in November as a “criminal alien,” subject to mandatory deportation to China — the nation he left at 5, when his family immigrated legally to the United States.
Now Judge Corriero, 67, retired from the bench, is trying to keep his side of the bargain.
“Mr. Wu earned his second chance,” the judge wrote in a letter supporting a petition to Gov. David A. Paterson for a pardon that would erase Mr. Wu’s criminal record and stop the deportation proceedings. “He should have the opportunity to remain in this country.”
The letter is one of dozens of testimonials, including appeals from Mr. Wu’s fiance, mother and sisters, who are all citizens; from the Police Benevolent Association, where Mr. Wu used to work; and from his employers at the Centerline Capital Group, a real estate financial and management company, where his boss, Tom Pope, calls Mr. Wu “a shining star.”
But under laws enacted in 1996, the same year Mr. Wu was sentenced, the immigration judge hearing the deportation case has no discretion to consider any of it. For Mr. Wu, who remains in a cell in the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold, N.J., the best hope may be that the Manhattan district attorney will retroactively allow him the “youthful offender” status that would scrub his record clean.
“The law is so inflexible,” said Judge Corriero, now executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and the author of “Judging Children as Children: A Proposal for a Juvenile Justice System.” The 2006 book calls for a justice system that reduces future crime rates by nurturing those who can learn from their mistakes, instead of turning them into career criminals.

Some of Judge Corriero's 6th ward childhood friends and former neighbors have a different view
Mikey "Black" Corriero must be getting senile in his old age. And to think I shared a firescape with him at 134 White Street.
And this is the typical NY Times liberal BS story. Grieve for the criminal, because it fits in with our left wing philosophy. No wonder the newspaper is going out of business. Writing crap like this.
There are about a million illegal Chinese, just in NY City. They should all be, by law, deported back to China. Like last week. There is absolutely no rationale for not doing so. But no, let us grieve for this poor unfortunate immigrant, who was forced into a life of crime, supposedly rehabilitated himself, then told he had to go back to China. Boo hoo. All bull. This guy didn't belong in America in the first place. He came here ILLEGALLY!!! Sending him back is no tragedy. It's the right thing to do. The legal thing to do. He'll get no tears from me. As for Mikey Black, time has shown he's certainly a good man. A very good man. His distinguished career speaks for itself. In this matter, his heart was in the right place, if not his head.
Joe Bruno

a reaction to Joe's opinion from a known source who wishes to remain anonymous
You are right, it was a good hearted but misguided judgement. There has to be a complete mind set change for too many. Illegals (not undocumented) have to be treated as priority law breakers, NOT as a state of being. The times are too dangerous and economically tenuous to tolerate a drip invasion of our country. The funny part is that putting an end to it is easy:
1) Issue biometric work cards to those illegals who have jobs and no criminal offenses. They would remain temporary workers and not have a "path to citizenship." Their offspring born here would have to apply for full citizenship at sixteen years old.
2) Fine anyone who hires someone without a card $10,000 for a first offense per person, then more.
3) Build detention centers with hearing facilities for illegals in Nome, Alaska. Too cold? Boo hoo. Can't get visits? Boo hoo.
Believe me, they will go home on their own.

Joe follow's up
This issue was especially sensitive to me, since hundreds of Italians were forced out of Little Italy all though the 60's to the 80's. The Chinese bought the buildings on Mulberry and the surrounding streets, then tripled the rent, forcing the Italians to move to places like Knickerbocker Village, Chatham Green, Chatham Towers, Southbridge Towers and Independence Plaza. Then the apartments in Little Italy were filled with Chinese illegal immigrants, sometimes 20 people to a 2-bedroom apartment. There was nothing but mattresses on the floors in all the rooms, including the kitchen. I know personally of about a dozen Italian/American families that were forced to relocate. And it's especially crushing for me, that one of us, former Judge Michael Corriero, who lived next door to me at 134 White Street (I lived with my parents in apartment 21, his family lived in apartment 22), is spearheading this move to keep an illegal, Chinese immigrant, who by the way, turned to a life of crime, in our country. I know he means well, but his actions are a slap in the face to all of us who had to endure decades of the Chinese crowding us out of our own neighborhood.
And I like your suggestions. They could work. The problem is, most of these illegals work, off the books, in one of the hundreds of Chinese restaurants in the Lower East Side. As far as the government is concerned, they don't even exist. And many of them are part of the Chinese organized crime syndicate, which specializes in shaking down legitimate Chinese businesses, among other things. The Chinese are very smart. They keep their mouths shut and keep to themselves. This allows them to continue to do what they are doing, under the radar of our legal system.

A follow up:
The opinions expressed above, i.e. after the Times' article, were not those of blog writer. I published them to show the other points of view that existed and still exist in the neighborhood. An anonymous commentator follows up mentioning that "it is disturbing to read such comments on a website dedicated to objective history and nonjudgmental observations." I'm flattered, but the objective history is such that these differences of opinion exist.


Anonymous said...

Before you angry people continue to submit your opinion on Qing Wu, perhaps you should sit back and ponder this "Where did you or your ancestors come from?" USA is a melting pot of many races and ethnic groups. I am confident that you, like Qing Wu, is NOT a native american. If you know American History, Native Americans were already settled in America and can be called the true Americans. Everyone else emigrated to the USA.

Anonymous said...

Joe's comments are xenophobic and protofascist in nature and reek of bigotry and ignorance. It's quite disturbing when one reads them on a website that is dedicated to objective history and nonjudgmental observations.

Ken said...

I've been debating whether to post something lengthy or nothing at all, and I've settled on a compromise of something in between. I partition this response into more than one post because it exceeds the character count per post allowed by the blog. Disclosure: I am of Chinese ancestry, and I was raised in the same neighborhood as Joe Bruno at around the same time he was living in KV, and I went to public schools in the KV neighborhood.

Anon#2's possible confusion of article vs. commentary, and whose commentary, prompts Blogger to respond that the opinions expressed are not his own. But there is reason for the confusion. The first and third comments are clearly signed off by Mr. Bruno, but the second commentary is simply headlined with "a reaction to Joe's opinion": Whose reaction? Blogger's? Understandable confusion, and compounding it is the fact that three commentaries are posted along with the article, in the same font, etc., and are separated from other readers' responses such as this one and the two anonymous ones preceding, an arrangement which only Blogger could do.

Then there is Blogger's assessment of the situation that is troubling. He thinks that these are merely differences of "opinion" (the word is used twice) that existed and still exist. Well, "I dislike broccoli" is an opinion; "Broccoli is unhealthful" is a factual error that is rather innocuous; "Broccoli is evil" is a factual error that has malicious intent. So, let's examine some of the so-called "opinions" Mr. Bruno expresses:

Mr. Bruno's first response contains this claim: "There are about a million illegal Chinese, just in NY City." The 2000 Census and some follow-up surveys, I think, put the number of NYC residents at under 9 million and those of Chinese ancestry at under 600,000. So, Mr. Bruno's claim would be alarming if true (what was his source, his "impression"?), unless it is an factual error with malicious intent.

Ken said...

Mr. Bruno's second response is even more troubling because it does not arise from the contents of the NY Times article, but rather it is a detonation of pent-up feelings on the verge of explosion for some time now. He claims that for decades Chinese-Americans bought all the real estate in and around Little Italy in order to force out the Italian-American residents there in order to install Chinese illegal immigrants, many belonging to mafias, in overcrowded and squalid quarters!

Where shall I begin...?

First, Mr. Bruno does not have any kind of historical perspective. The neighborhood has for centuries sheltered a variety of newly-arrived immigrant groups, and as each group prospered and became Americanized, many members of those groups moved up and out of the neighborhood. As a recent KV posting informed also, during the 1940s the political fallout of Mussolini prompted, accelerated, many Italian-Americans to move out of Italian enclaves in the US as a protest.

Second, Mr. Bruno seems unaware of real estate trends in the US, in NYC in particular, in the last thirty years. Real estate developments and rising prices and gentrification have caused rents to rise out of reach for many New Yorkers. In Little Italy, a greater force is not the Chinese-American community, but the greater neighboring "hot" areas like Soho, the East Village, Alphabet City, Lower East Side, and the so-called "Nolita" ("north of Little Italy") which is really Little Italy, nothing north about it! Aggressive and unscrupulous landlords, Chinese-American or otherwise, have actively sought to evict tenants, Italian-Americans or otherwise. So, out of all these forces and trends in the last few decades, Mr. Bruno chooses to isolate the "fact" that Chinese-Americans are the aggressors and Italian-Americans the victims, and forms his "opinion" around it.

Mr. Bruno seems to suffer from delusions and paranoia and a persecution complex, and projects his malcontent and anger onto undeserving others, and unleashes his bile whenever he has the opportunity, such as this blog. And, it seems, Blogger empowers him by enabling him with a greater voice than just another reader.