I'm currently working on converting the video (this will take some time) and I will post the video and offer my comments later tonight. I'm hoping if all goes well that I'll have the video posted no later than 10:30 but encoding video for the web takes some time so bear with me...
UPDATE: News reports from the television stations are now pouring in.
You can check out the reporting from WTNH by clicking here (Windows Media Player required):
You can check out the report from Fox61 by clicking here (real player required):
Again, as soon as the my video footage is finish converting, I will post the conference. I really can't wait to comment on the news coverage of the event as I think WTNH went a tad overboard with the "tensions were running high" comment while Fox61 gave a more accurate description of the event (and they even caught a shot of me) but you can judge for yourself if tensions were high once I have the video posted.
UPDATE 2 (10:45 p.m.): My goodness, this is turning out to be a HUGE video file in terms of file size. Due to the length of the press conference (and the fact that I tried to preserve the best video quality), the video file is going to be about 65-70 meg which is pretty big if you don't have a high speed connection. This is what I'm going to do:
For those who want the enitre press conference, I'm going to post the entire file at a site where you can download it. For those who don't want the entire conference, I'm going to edit the file based on questions and post them as soon as possible. most likely this won't be untill much later tonight as I won't be able to edit the video down until after I get it all posted.
I'm going to ask my wife for a digital video camera for X-mas. This video conversion process is driving me nuts and everything would be easier if I had a digital video camera (don't even ask how I convert the video from analog to digital now as I would only confuse you).
UPDATE 3: Okay, for those willing to download this file (it's 73.7 meg), you can download the press conference by clicking here (now remember, I missed part of it but I don't think I missed much). Ignore the time stamp on the video as it is wrong and I didn't even know it was on.
I'm working on a version that you can watch live without downloading and I'll post the link once it's ready. Later today, I'll post a online poll based on the press conference.
The Danbury News-Times was on the scene and filed this report:
Twenty minutes into a news conference Thursday dealing with illegal immigration, a reporter asked a question:
"Mayor Boughton, are you anti-immigrant?"
Boughton paused for a moment, smiled – and then said no.
I think The News-Times missed the point of this exchange and could of done a better job if they would of quoted his entire statement but again, you'll have to see the video and judge for yourself.
It's a question he has been answering often this year, after saying that thousands of illegal immigrants from Central and South America have put a strain on Danbury services and schools. The mayor has blamed a "failed federal immigration policy" for the problems.
Now he'll have help pointing the finger.
Boughton and Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive Steve Levy announced the formation of Mayors and Executives for Immigration Reform, a group that will lobby federal lawmakers to overhaul immigration laws.
The two leaders will send 3,000 letters to municipal officials across the country, inviting them to a forum the group will host in February or March in Washington.
"The objective is simple," Boughton said. "We are calling on Congress to do what everybody involved in this issue has said to us. That is, to reform immigration laws."
The group will also come up with a formula that will help communities determine how much money illegal immigrants cost local governments – and how much they contribute to the local economy.
Two other Connecticut mayors interviewed Thursday said they wanted more information before deciding whether to join Boughton's coalition.
Mayor Richard Moccia, a Norwalk Republican, said services are not being strained in his city. However, he said something must be done to secure the country's borders, especially after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We're spending billions on homeland security and intelligence and tracking people down, yet we have borders in the south people can walk across at virtually any given time," Moccia said.
Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, a Democrat running for governor, said illegal immigrants do affect services and quality of life. "We have neighborhoods that are overpopulated" by immigrants, he said. "We have unscrupulous landlords who illegally rent unsafe units of housing to people because they are immigrants in desperation."
However, Malloy said the economy would go into the tank if every undocumented worker left the U.S. Immigrant laborers fill many landscaping and construction jobs American workers don't want.
Danbury, home to an estimated 9,000 to 20,000 illegal immigrants, gained national attention this year when Boughton requested that state troopers be deputized to crack down on illegal immigrants. The Common Council also has discussed a measure that would regulate large neighborhood gatherings, including volleyball games that are popular in the Ecuadorean community.
The events polarized Danbury, as legal immigrants said City Hall was fostering anti-immigrant sentiments.
Boughton said the idea of the coalition is to get the debate out of the neighborhoods and into Congress, which he said has "shown a unique unwillingness" to confront immigration issues.
Levy, the highest elected official in Suffolk County on Long Island, has also garnered headlines for his "get tough" stance on illegal immigration. The two leaders hooked up after reading about their immigration problems in newspapers.
On Long Island, Levy said illegal immigrants strain the housing stock and create an underground economy by working off the books and paying no taxes. He said the federal government should dole out money to communities to offset the costs of treating immigrants in hospitals, educating them in schools and holding them in jails.
"We get zero money from the federal government or the state government to deal with these contingencies," he said.
Again, I'll reserve my comments untill later today once people have a chance to download and view the video.