Gillibrand talks immigration with Hispanic leaders

THE BRONX - Newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand continued her tour around the state, meeting with Hispanic elected officials Sunday to discuss immigration issues.

Gillibrand, tapped by Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, has drawn fire over her opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants and for her position on gun control. After her meeting with the officials, she reiterated that she is "willing to listen" to the opposing viewpoints of all New Yorkers.

"We need to recognize the heritage that the immigrant community has provided to this country and put policies in place that will reflect that core value," Gillibrand said after a two-hour meeting with a dozen or so Hispanic members of the state Assembly and the City Council.

The Hispanic leaders in attendance say the issue of immigration is an important one to their constituents. Bronx leaders who took the podium after Gillibrand left say they were disappointed by the meeting and they want the new senator to commit to a moratorium on raids and deportations.

Gillibrand says she plans to take over Hillary Clinton?s legislation to fund enhanced English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the state.

AP wire reports contributed to this article.

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