Sunday, June 17, 2007

March to protest immigration raids

(Arnold Gold/Register)

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.

4 comments:

tessa said...

Important sign.

Keep in mind the racist element to the crackdown, since there is not and will not be a sweep in the asian or european communities.

Oops, did I just give ICE an idea???

CT Bob said...

Shhhhh! You'll roon it for 'em!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that illegal immigrants are precisely what the term states: illegal. They entered this country in violation of our laws and must be held accountable for their actions, whether or not past criminals have been given a pass. Imagine a family of illegal immigrants taking up residence in your living room, claiming they only want a better life and a secure roof over their head. I'm guessing the cops would be there fast enough to make your oh-so-forgiving head spin. And by the way, ther is already a path to citizenship - it's called LEGAL immigration.

Bob E., Trumbull

CT Bob said...

Bob, thanks for your comment.

But seriously, does your trite example have any basis in reality?

The simple fact is, for years the gov't has given tacit approval to this endless source of cheap labor for American business; and only after 9/11 have they responded to what has become a purely political issue, fueled by xenophobic fears.

Let me ask you a question: Have any illegal immigrants taken YOUR job? Do you wash dishes or clean hotel rooms for a living? Are you willing to pick lettuce for $4 an hour? Because that's 90% of the jobs that these people do.

And if they aren't allowed to do them, those jobs won't be filled by typical Americans like you or me, that's for sure.

Otherwise, what it your problem with these people, who are largely productive and want to have the same opportunities that my great-grandparents were provided? Me, I'd prefer they pay taxes on the money they earn...something they're not allowed to do now.