As Senate Democrats and their allies continue to line up against Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. in hopes of ousting him on primary day, their leader, John Sampson, remains staunchly in the controversial Bronx lawmaker’s corner and his even hosting an “immigration forum” less than one week before the Sept. 14 election.

Espada’s office announced this morning that the majority leader and Sampson will co-host the even to address a “developing crisis” evident in “an alarming rash of bias attacks against immigrants, particularly Hispanics, in the Bronx, Staten Island and Long Island, and a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment across the country and state.

The two Democrats will hold a press conference tomorrow Wednesday, Sept. 1, along with community and religious leaders, to discuss details of the forum and legislation proposed by the majority to protect immigrants in New York. The forum will take place on Sept. 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bronx Community College.

“The rash of attacks we have seen in the city and suburbs is clearly being fueled by the anti-immigration sentiment sweeping the country – particularly against immigrants of Hispanic origin – that began in Arizona with that state’s discriminatory immigration laws,” said Espada, who came to New York form Puerto Rico at the age of five.

Sampson, who described himself as “the son of immigrants,” said:

“The recent onslaught of anti-immigrant violence is un-American, and unworthy of the hardworking New Yorkers who came here in search of a better life for themselves and their children.”

“Our state is where dreams flourish, diversity fuels innovation, and opportunity comes not from the color of your skin, but the content of your head and heart. We need greater protections and better communication if our state is to live up to the principles of justice it was founded upon.”

Edward-Isaac Dovere noted recently that the DSCC has been spending on almost every Democratic incumbent facing a primary challenge EXCEPT Espada, in spite of Sampson’s repeated public pronouncements of support for him.

A number of Senate Democrats, along with labor heavyweights like SEIU 1199 and the Working Families Party are backing one of Espada’s challengers, Gustavo Rivera.

But there are currently three candidates in the race, and the third, Dan Padernach, has so far shown no signs of bowing to pressure for him to quit and improve the anti-Espada forces’ chances of ousting him.