In a meeting Saturday night in East Haven, people from all over Connecticut packed into the American Foreign Legion Hall to voice their concerns about the same issue.
In New Haven yesterday up to 1,000 people marched in a protest about immigration rights.
The event was to bring attention to the recent raids which netted 34 arrests on charges of illegal status, and has brought social and commercial activity in the largely Hispanic neighborhoods of New Haven to a screeching halt. Many people are afraid to appear in public, and this has significantly hurt the local community. The raids are largely thought to be in retaliation to the recent decision by the City of New Haven to issue ID cards to undocumented residents, even though Federal authorities deny this.
A much smaller meeting was held Saturday night in East Haven, when about 75 people attended the American Foreign Legion Hall to voice their opposition of the ID cards and to complain that the raids hurt the cause of xenophobia and racism by bringing sympathy to the victims.
The thing about all this is that 1) for years the government allowed undocumented aliens to live here so industry can get cheap labor and politicians can get landscaping at a huge discount; 2) the aliens do those jobs that nobody else wants to do. Sure, there might be a few under-acheiving U.S. citizens who may lose their jobs (so kids, stay in school!), but for the most part the immigrants will do those jobs just for the opportunity to live in this country; very few skilled laborers are at risk; and 3) for the government to suddenly change the status quo after decades of looking the other way smacks of unfairness and goes against the very concepts upon which this nation was founded. These people aren't terrorists or undesirables; they simply want an opportunity to pursue the American Dream and be given the chance to become legal residents.
Let's start there. Provide a path to legal status that doesn't include bashing down the doors of peaceful, hard-working people who have built lives and families here, and dragging them off in the middle of the night to secret, out-of-state holding "facilities".
As a nation, we can do better than that.