Immigrants, Politics, Boycotts
Since I started in May reviewing comments from our readers, the battle over immigration is the subject that seems to draw the most venomous remarks with few rejoinders. It seems to me to be even more one-sided and toxic than the debate among our readers over the war in Iraq. The comments on three Washington area stories that converged today touch directly on the subject and underline the difficulties states and localities face when the federal government fails to find a federal solution to a federal problem.
First, Pamela Constable and Marcela Sanchez visited one of those unofficial job-hunting centers in Fairfax County and found that it's tougher for Latinos to get work and that what they do get is for less money. Meanwhile, in Frederick County, Md., Philip Rucker tells us that the governing board voted 3 to 2 to reject a proposal that would have denied public services including schooling to illegal immigrants. Finally, Cecilia Kang and Karin Brulliard report that a planned boycott called by Latinos to protest Prince William County Virginia's proposed crackdown on illegal immigrants appeared to have limited impact, with business as usual at construction sites, restaurants and retail stores.
The comments reflect anger for the simple reason that illegal immigrants are here illegally, fear that Real Americans are losing jobs because illegals will work for less, and a concern that Spanish is becoming a language that gets at least tacit governmental support in an English-speaking nation.
First the comments on the Day Laborers story.
maraalexander, responding to one person in the story who worried about losing employment and a mortgage, said, "...If you're here illegally, you have no right to be here. It follows that you have no right to jobs or mortgages either."
otiswaynehale wrote, "Send all that scab labor back where it came from. I feel their pain, but American labor first." rorschach added, "When I was a kid I used to mow my neighbors' lawns...But by the time I was about 14 the landscaping companies moved in and took all the jobs. I resented that. Mowing lawns used to be the job for young kids in jr. high and high school. So don't lie and say that no one would cut the grass if the illegals left."
Bob22003 said, "To the guy who is quoted as asking "What do we have to dream about now," try dreaming about obeying the law, like the rest of us do each and ever day to earn and keep our jobs."
And dogpatch asked, "When will the Washington Post and other left leaning news outlets come to admit that these people are here Illegally?...The tone of this article is one of hand-wringing. For God's sake, mow your own lawn!"
There was some sympathy for the situation in which illegals find themselves. RealChoices said, "The only real "crime" many of these guys committed is trying to earn a living to support their families... Contrary to the fiction peddled by the anti-immigrant crowd, wages wouldn't simply rise to a middle class level if all the illegals were gone. In some cases wages would be bid up, in other cases the jobs would just go away. Some lawns might not get mowed as frequently."
The action of the Frederick County board was not well received by many of our readers who comment, but there were also some expressions of support for the board's decision.
linguist64 wrote, "Frederick County, come on down! You're the winner of the local "Sanctuary County" award for our area! Congratulations!"
hyogo66 said, "Let me see if I understand this correctly, the taxpayer is footing the bill for Spanish/English interpreters for what purpose? To make the illegals feel more at home? Pathetic."
And superpatriot UnitedStatesofAmerica said, "I never needed illegal aliens to build houses or do anything else. I do need people to obey the law and prevent anarchy. If Fredrick and Maryland wants to be a sanctuary state and can get along without Federal tax dollars and Federal jobs, fine - all illegals can go there and start a new third world, slum/country."
But ivangroznii said, "Thank you, Frederick, for at least trying. If only Fairfax County would even consider this. If the Federal government won't enforce the law, I guess that leaves it to the states, counties and municipalities."
And oedrex1 said, "Human beings are human beings regardless of legal status. How many of your ancestors came to America legally, applying to the Native American tribes for their visas? Go back to Europe. Do not stop at home to collect your possessions. Get back on the boat. Racist jerks."
GoodAmerican observed that "No one should support or condone illegal immigration, but undocumented aliens did not create the problem. We did it in complicity with our Federal Government... There is no development anywhere in the Washington area that does not get build with over 50% of immigrant labor, much of it undocumented..."
That may be, but NPagliuca said, "I'm sure people will remember this on election day"
Finally, the comments on the Boycott that apparently fizzled.
islandhopper24 said, "Gee, they really showed us." And NorthernVirginian added, "It was a stupid idea, anyway."
BurtReynolds said, "So it seems like the immigrants are the only ones who lost. Maybe some people didn't get their landscaping done today."
We'll conclude with an exchange between matt5 and bobbobcat. matt5 wrote, "I'm not hispanic. I'm a WASPy white guy. I'm boycotting Potomac Mills and Prince William until they take this thinly veiled jim crow law off their books..." To which bobbobcat replied, "...Spoken like someone living in a place devoid of illegals. Come live with me in Manassas Park for a week and experience life in a town that has been ransacked by illegals and we will see how long you keep spouting your nonsense. With any luck they will take over your neighborhood. I will pray for that to happen."
All comments on the Fairfax County day labor story are here.
All comments on the Frederick County board action are here.
All comments on the Prince William County boycott are here.
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