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Herndon's Job-Seekers

There isn't a story about illegal immigrants that doesn't generate an intense response from our Readers Who Comment (RWC) and the situation in the western Fairfax County Town of Herndon has fired them up again.

Late Tuesday, the Town Council decided to close its day labor center rather than comply with a court ruling that the center must be open to all residents, including illegals. The practical result, many predict, is that day laborers will return to the streets or a 7-Eleven parking lot to seek work, a circumstance the center was created to solve. The RWC discussion shows both immense anti-immigrant anger and concern about how to resolve this issue intelligently and humanely. The fact is there are an estimated 12 million illegal and mostly Latino immigrants in the the United States, many doing useful, needed work, and deporting or jailing all of them is impossible.

We'll start with asmith1, who said that "Apologists would have us believe we are back at Square 1, with illegals mobbing cars and trucks at the local 7-11... Herndon today is not the same Herndon of 2 years ago. Downtown businesses and their customers have enjoyed a normal business district and do not want to go back to the "way things used to be."... No one in Herndon really cares where the laborers go - as long as they just go..."

rscott251, in one of many postings, said that "...What bothers me is: The very same people who are shouting "OFF WITH THEY'RE HEADS", are the very same people who would do the same thing these illegals are doing, if they were in the same predicament..."

And BasicInstinct, with whom rscott251 spent some time, wrote in one posting, "BIGOTS! This is completely unbelievable! Is it fair that, within less than 515 years (only 6 ½ generations), 1 group of people traveled oceans to STEAL a country from its people, kill most of the country's inhabitants, bring reluctant Africans into the country to work as slaves, establish biased laws, and then try to dictate who should work to survive?..."

Patriot1, a frequent contributor to conversations about Iraq, said, "...Let Herndon secede from Fairfax County, the illegal sanctuary zone, and help themselves receive help from law-abiding county officials who are trying to enforce the law rather than ignore Gerry Connoly [Connolly is chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors] does and the entire Fairfax BOS."

hmaulden wrote, "As a Herndon resident, I am embarrassed by the Town Council's actions. Mean spirited, misguided and unChristian. And I am ashamed of how my fellow citizens speak about immigrants... Isn't it now time for Herndon churches to get involved? Maybe if they know how to find their New Testaments."

And the fact that this is a regional (and certainly national issue) is reflected in the comment of kkinva681, who wrote, "Arlington, more specifically Shirlington while gladly take Herndons illegals, as a matter of fact, they are allowed to camp on 4Mile run in plain view of county police and leave piles of fast food trash and nobody seems to mind. Is it a coincidence that all of Arlington's board members live in North Arlington?"

To this, webfool added, "Don't send them to Montgomery County [Maryland], we have far too many now. I keep searching for more and more places that are not overrun to shop, not because I'm xenophobic but because I'd like to go somewhere that English is spoken. In the People's Republic of Montgomery every language is spoken except that of reason."

painperdu asked, "How can the courts decide in favor of something that's illegal to begin with?...If a person is in this country against the laws of this country then wouldn't any proposition pertaining to their right to work here be null and void? Why is our own country determined to operate against our wishes?"

HillMan said, "Once all the illegal immigrants leave Herndon who will do all those jobs? It sure as heck won't be our spoiled kids. Many estimate that there are 15 million illegals in the US. Do we really think there are 15 million Americans willing to pick lettuce and clean toilets? Really? When even high-paying Katrina reconstruction jobs went to immigrants because Americans wouldn't show up to do them?"

We'll close the conversation with RealChoices, who called the situation "...a triumph of irrationality. The day laborer center was fulfilling its intended purpose, yet they dismantle it because of perception. So those seeking work will go back to streets and allies. Be careful what you ask for, sometimes you might just get it!"

All comments on the Herndon story are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 6, 2007; 7:58 AM ET
Categories:  Illegal Immigrants  
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Posted by: Denny Torres | October 7, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I really loath the Herndon anti-immigration crowd. They all strike me as fascists and wholly un-American.

And before you disgusting whiney peabrains rant about how I don't know what it's like, I'll tell you flat out I do. I've been to the 7-11 where people congregated many many times over the years, and it simply wasn't all that bad.

What I am quite certain of is that these people are racists and fascists who are mean and un-American. That's a fact, painting lip gloss on the pig like it was a Bush torture memo isn't going to let them weasel their way away from the truth.

If it were up to these people we'd send the Statue of Liberty back to France, and turn the US into a privately run police state.

I frankly hope the jurisdiction loses it's shirt financially trying to implement all the Orwellian ID requirements and all the rest.

Posted by: Gentry | October 4, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Several articles in the Post today on immigration. Here are some samples of statements and their dubious provenance:

1. 1 million legal immigrants are admitted each year.
2. Our great grandparents all came legally.

These statements bears scrutiny.
1. must be a false corrolary of the fact that the vast majority of persons admitted lawfully are simply a result of famility reunifications, and so not "real" immigration. The number is probably incorrect anyway. Scarcely more than 100,000 people are admitted to actually fill jobs in the US, a ridiculously low number given the vast size of the country, the economy, which has virtually no unemployment.
2. Those grandparents faced far fewer obstacles as immmigrants, in fact one could argue there were virtually none at the turn of the previous century and before.

So, saying legal presence is key, is like saying we simply don't want immigration, period.

Posted by: Toro1 | September 9, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"The RWC discussion shows [...] immense anti-immigrant anger"

Doug, how many times do we have to say this to you, and the rest of the Washington Post: It's not anti-immigrant anger - it's anti-illegal immigrant anger!

If you didn't get it the first time, let me say it again: It's not anti-immigrant anger - it's anti-ILLEGAL immigrant anger!

And in case you still aren't hearing what we're saying:


Posted by: My Grandparents were Immigrants | September 9, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Like most Americans I'm outraged over how our government has allowed this to happen. No country in the world allows ANYONE to cross the border without checks or the proper documents (certainly not Mexico). I'm also sick of those who claim that no one will do the jobs these illegals are doing. BS! Are these employers advertising for help? Are they offering decent wages or benefits? No! They want to pay slave wages with long hours and no benefits. Well of course no American wants to work for that. We did away with slavery over a hundred years ago but now some want to bring it back. I guess if the southerners who had slaves had simply framed their argument with "these are the jobs Americans won't do" that would have made it okay? And besides it's not just the "farm jobs" the illegals are taking. Construction jobs are almost completely done by illegals. And many manufacturing plants use those with Green Cards just because they'll work for dirt. Big business is wrecking Americans middle class while claiming this will lead to cheaper prices. Well, has anyone noticed prices going down at Wal-Mart. No! The extra money saved by using illegals or temp labor goes to the CEOs and big wigs. I'm a conservative (voted for Reagan & Bush) but I am SICK of how big business has gotten so greedy and selfish.

Posted by: Dirty Harry | September 8, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Saying it is unChristian not to want swarms of durbus scattering law breakers in ones community is a crock. Only a very unSmart person would use Christianity as a way of trying to make a person feel guilty.
Well, it did not work. If someone moved into your house, trashed it, ate all of your food, got sick and refused to leave. Then they sued you because your food made them sick. Would it be unChristian if you got mad and wanted them out of your house. You think that is different?
Illegal aliens have broken into this country and trashed it. We are having to pay for their food, medical care, supply housing and they are refusing to leave. Now they are sueing us for depriving them of their rights. They are free to exercise their 1 right and that is the right to return to their own country.
I nor anyone that I am aquainted with will vote for a Democrat or Republican who is in support of giving illegals amnisty.

Posted by: rosieD44 | September 8, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

hnaulden, We are all immigrants. You apparently don't know the difference between illegal aliens and immigrants. Anyone who does not have a problem with the swarms of illigal aliens is also illegal or has not had to wade through the trash that they throw down to get home.
If the Senators and Judges on Capital Hill would leave their gated communities just long enough to take a walk through Wal-Mart, they would change their minds about Amnesty. They will not find illegal aliens working at Wal-Mart. Instead, the Senators will observe thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens pushing over loaded shopping carts. The Senators will observe the Wal-Mart clerks showing these non English speaking people how to use their newly acquired food stamp cards. Some of these illegal aliens do have jobs but they have to work for cash or they will lose all the free benefits afforded them by the stupid law makers on Capital Hill.
The Human Services Department requires citizens who have been denied benefits by Tenn/Care (Tennessee Insurance) to attend meetings that will determine if they qualify to be added or reinstated. This is where a spokesperson explains that Tenn/Care funds are depleted and that no one over the age of 18 years-old is eligible for benefits. All illegal aliens under the age of 18 years-old are automatically covered by Tenn/Care.
The Senators should attend at least one of the Tenn/Care meetings. They would be shocked by the fact that blacks and whites are the only races present at these Tenn/Care meetings. There is not 1 (uno) Mexican, Cuban, Arab, etc. in attendance. Could one of the Senators explain this phenomenon to me? Could it be ......Blacks and whites are the only applicants who are denied benefits.....Well.....Duh!

Our crime rate is 2 % higher than New York City. Our jails are overflowing with so many illegal aliens that the crooked citizens in our town have to be bused to other jails 20 to 35 miles away.
Property taxes have been raised again and again. But the state of Tennessee must double tax it citizens or the state may have to let all of their illegals go. (Pun intended.)

Posted by: rosieD44 | September 7, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

The problem of illegal immigration is spinning into a tangled web. I think that "lettuce and tomatoes" would get picked without them. I think the crime rate would be lower without them. I don't think people who happen to live in a country adjacent to ours should be as free as they now are to cross over into our country.
The problem is that many of them are not honest or hardworking and that many of them don't want to fit into the American lifestyle(I am thinking of "little Havana" in Miami).
I was surprised that the court order was ignored in Herndon, Va.? Isn't that against the law?(that was a joke). Seriously, I don't think ignoring a court order in this instance helps anyone. Ya' know "Basic Instinct" wrote earlier a comment mentioning the utter depravity of our bringing slaves here from Africa and how horribly long it took to free them and treat them as human beings. "Karma" knows that maybe giving all these illegals some rights and oppurtunities may not be such a bad idea.

Posted by: fedzeppelin | September 7, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I am saddened that the town I have lived within 50 yards of for 16 years has made this choice.

Most of the people who came here illegally did so to find a way out of abject poverty. If you couldn't feed your child, and saw an opportunity to get food, you would take it, even if it was illegal.

The three main arguments I see against "illegals" are...

(1) They are here illegally (to feed, clothe, and house their family usually).

(2) They depress wages. Who's wages are depressed? Not the guys with the video cameras who tape them at the center. Not the "College Student Lawn Mowers" who in the northern VA economy barely exist. You can get a much better job than that without trying.

(3) They bring crime. I honestly don't believe this claim. But poverty without hope leads to lashing out. And I will acknowledge that a group of men, without their spouses and families, can get themselves into big trouble.

Folks, open your hearts, for you may someday be in their shoes.

Posted by: diAgnostic | September 6, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Most of the volunteer workers in New Orleans after Katrina were American volunteers who did not take pay. Also alot of the money sent to help Katrina victims came from the American people.

If anyone remembers Hurricane Floyd in '99, go back and look at those towns now. You will be surprised at how many have been overrun with illegals, who bought in more illegals.

What do you think will happen if all the illegals here now are granted amnesty? They will also refuse to do the hard jobs for substandard pay, they're not stupid. They will quit picking crops, and all the jobs "American's don't want to do", they will compete with citizens and legals for jobs.

What do you think the employers do? Look for MORE illegals to work for $2 an hour! Want more proof? Look at the amnesties we've already given illegals in the last 20-30 years. You know the ones, government swore no more illegals would come in and no more amnesty would be necessary.

Posted by: looking back | September 6, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Until young Americans are offered a living wage and family health insurance to clean toilets and pick lettuce, who's to say they won't? As for New Orleans, there was no clear need for illegals. However, Bush wanted to test guest workerism, the idea being that businesses paying below minimum to illegal temps would be, well, good for those businesses. According to WaPo, the test ended with the fed being sued by illegals, who were promised work that failed to materialize after they paid thousands up front to contractors to bring them to America. Such corporate mismanagement is the cause cured by laws against hiring. If companies can't survive without illegals owing to mismanagement, should they get the safety net Bush would offer them while denying it to American individuals?

Posted by: jhbyer | September 6, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"The RWC discussion shows both immense anti-immigrant anger and concern about how to resolve this issue intelligently and humanely."

What do you mean "anti-immigrant"? Is WaPo or any other media outlet every going to come to terms with this? Quit trying to lump "legal immigrants" and "illegal aliens" into the same category - it confuses people. A lot of immigrants are greencard holders or as they are now known "legal permanent residents." These are two separate, distinct categories.

Posted by: dictionary | September 6, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse


Doug, your statement has no relevancy. Why would we need to deport 12 million illegal people? Are you really so dull that you cannot envision a voluntary repatriation under a scenario where we enforce existing laws? Christ, I wonder how you people can tie your shoes. Zero analytical skills in the media class. Zilch. Nada. None. Durr.

Posted by: JT | September 6, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Makes one wonder how all the work got done 33 years ago. As a college student in 1974 I worked in the summer moving lawns for a landscaping company. Everyone I worked with was a student. I also worked at Giant Food and did a lot of dirty work in the back of the store. But in both cases the wages were good. Twice minimum wage at the time or more. Hard landscaping work paid good wages. Giant was unionized then and so had good wages.

So to answer the question of who will do the jobs when the illegals leave, Americans will, and employers will need to raise salaries to attract them, something they are loath to do. Why do you think Ike Legget made his first duty, when becomming Montgomery County's Executive, to build a day labor center in Gaithersburg which was planned without public comment. It was a clear payback for political support and not support from the illegal immigrant community. You can guess where it came from...

Posted by: Sully | September 6, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Buy the very fact of being here means that most if not all are criminals. While coming across the border is not a felony working with false ID or stolen ID is and getting Welfare Benefits they are not entitled to is also a felony. Working off the books and not declaring income and committing income tax fraud is also a felony. So why are laws enforced against American Citizens but not Illegal Aliens? Seems that people that obeyed the laws paid there taxes, fought the wars, & played by the rules should be the ones government protects and works for not a lawless bunch of invading criminals!

Posted by: BL | September 6, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I've worked side-by-side with illegals in construction and how they got the reputation as being good workers is a mystery to me.

Posted by: ernesttbass | September 6, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

just an observation:

those day laborers who are willing to go out there every day and do an honest day's work are now being victimized, stigmatized, potentially arrested and deported. shutting down sites victimizes the very people with the best work ethic. where do you think they're going to go? they are not going to leave the area or the country. but they will find employ elsewhere, and are now more vulnerable to pressures to engage in even more circumspect, and even criminal, occupations to make a buck.

nice going. you push honest people into criminality by "upholding the law." and just because it's a law doesn't mean it makes sense.

Posted by: I, Christian | September 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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