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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > The Campaign to “Fear the Illegal” is Unraveling

The Campaign to “Fear the Illegal” is Unraveling

LatinaLista — Do “illegal” immigrants scare you?

Demonstrator Inocencio de Jesus, M, walks through the Barrio Logan area during an immigration march on May 1, 2007 at Chican Park in San Diego, California. Demonstators from around the United States held protest rallies in an effort to send a message to congress to act on immigration reform. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Well, if they don’t, you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t bought into the extremists’ hype that they’re all dangerous lawbreakers.
It’s been a successful strategy, but truth be told there is a giant sting operation being perpetuated against undocumented immigrants that forces the criminal label on them without any chance to be free of it.


First off, as tiring as it is to repeat this: entering the country is a misdemeanor, not the kind of crime that puts a person on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
In other words, the vast majority of undocumented aliens are as law-abiding as they can be, but in an effort to force them out of the country, state and federal actions against them have succeeded in doing nothing more than criminalizing a group who would like to follow the laws but have become the perfect scapegoat for public officials and pundits who build their power base feeding off the fears of people.
For example, a Denver Post editorial outlines how an immigration forum organized this week by Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck was nothing more than a platform for to continue this campaign “To Fear the Illegal.”

On the one hand, Buck has repeatedly acknowledged publicly that only a small fraction of illegal immigrants commit crimes — beyond their unauthorized entry into this country. On the other, he attempted to whip up a crowd of 600 that gathered at an auditorium Tuesday night by flashing a slide show of photos of Hispanic men and the crimes they’ve committed. It was accompanied by an “ominous soundtrack,” according to a Rocky Mountain News story.
Coupled with a Weld County Sheriff’s Color Guard presentation and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the mood was cast for an us-versus-them event.
It’s hard to view it any other way.

However, there’s some good news on the horizon.
There are some states and cities who are realizing that it’s much better to have a sizeable portion of your community in compliance with U.S. laws, a.k.a. know who they are, than not.
It started in New Haven, Connecticut this summer when the city issued what they call a Elm City Resident Card.

More than 3,000 Elm City Resident Cards have been issued since the program’s July 24th launch. The first of its kind in the nation, the Elm City Resident Cards allows residents access to basic City services such as: the public library, the City’s parks, the public transfer station, recreational sites and more. The Elm City Resident Card also includes a Parcxmart feature that allows the card to be used to pay for parking meters Downtown or as a debit card at participating New Haven merchants.
In order to qualify for a card, residents must show valid government issued photo identification (from the United States or other nations) including a passport, driver’s license, consular identification and other official identification documents. Applicants must also demonstrate residency in the City by bringing in two utility bills, a pay stub, tax statements, rental/purchase agreements, original documents from health/social service agencies or other approved documents.

And today comes word that the state of New York also sees the benefit of decriminalizing the undocumented when it can be done.
The state of New York will allow undocumented immigrants who have a valid foreign passport to get their driver’s licenses.
The move to give this kind of legal recognition to undocumented immigrants is for a very basic reason that flies in the face of extremists’ arguments: “to enhance security, safer streets and a reduction in insurance premiums for all New York drivers.”
David Swarts, New York’s Motor Vehicles Commissioner, said that because of this measure New York residents are anticipated to save $120 million a year in insurance premiums.

“They no longer need to hide and pretend they are not here,” said Gov. Spitzer. “We will not become part of what is propagated on the federal level that if we don’t admit they are here then we can somehow not provide services. That is bad policy.”

But more importantly, it’s not a solution to the bigger issue either.
Two down, a nation to go.

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Comment(22)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 21, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Don’t bet on the rest of the nation going along with this. Americans are fed up with illegal aliens and want them gone.
    I don’t know what our government was thinking in making the violation of our immigration laws only a misdemeanor. It should have been a felony from the get go. It is a felony however if deported and the alien comes back. Bet there are millions who are felons based on that. It is also a felony to commit document fraud and stealing SS numbers and identity theft. That should encompass a few more million already in this country too.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 21, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Illegal aliens are packing their things and heading north to Canada. There’s a recent and noticeable trend of Mexican nationals selling their homes and packing their belongings and heading south. As long as these people are an economic threat to the local communities, efforts will be made to remove these people from our society. The right to govern immigration is a state right, one that was never relinquished when the old Confederation was dissolved and the Constitution enacted. States and local communities have every right to rid themselves of illegal aliens. It’s the intent of our immigration law and will continue to be, the efforts of 5th column advocacy groups, and their immigration lawyer efforts nothwithstanding.
    Though Hispanics are the fastest growing political group, they are hardly the monolith that some hopeless socialists believe them to be. And even if they were a voting block, they’re currently so dispersed our country as to be weak.
    The citizens of this country will not be steam- rollered by foreigners into surrendering their birthright stewardship to govern their own country. Illegal aliens must go in order to restore sovereignty to our people.
    Whatever victory Hispanics have in the war against illegal immigration, it will ever been known as a pyhrric one, as the very foundation of our country, the rule of law will be surrendered to ignominious pandering to special interest groups. Might will make right.

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    September 22, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Americans are fed up with illegal aliens and want them gone.
    You don’t speak for all Americans. If nothing else, reading this blog should have taught you that.
    I don’t know what our government was thinking in making the violation of our immigration laws only a misdemeanor.
    You don’t seem to grasp the nature of the legislative process. Some crimes are designated misdemeanors because that is how Congress writes them. Some are judged, again by Congress (with approval of the president), to be more serious. There is not some eternal category of “felony” that all “serious” crimes inherently belong to. If Congress thought those acts were sufficiently harmful to society, it would have made them felonies–it didn’t.
    The right to govern immigration is a state right
    So that means you’re ok with Spitzer, Gavin Newsom, Giuliani, and the elected leaders of New Haven granting out-of-status immigrants IDs and allowing them to access public services?
    Illegal aliens must go in order to restore sovereignty to our people.
    Trolls must go in order to restore sovereignty to this blog.
    Whatever victory Hispanics have in the war against illegal immigration, it will ever been known as a pyhrric one, as the very foundation of our country, the rule of law will be surrendered to ignominious pandering to special interest groups. Might will make right.
    I can’t even tell what that means, but I think it should win some kind of award.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    September 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Illegal aliens must go in order to restore sovereignty to our people.
    Trolls must go in order to restore sovereignty to this blog.
    That was utterly hilarious!
    Whatever victory Hispanics have in the war against illegal immigration, it will ever been known as a pyhrric one, as the very foundation of our country, the rule of law will be surrendered to ignominious pandering to special interest groups. Might will make right.
    I can’t even tell what that means, but I think it should win some kind of award.
    It means his neighbors listen to Banda y Norteña.
    🙂

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 22, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    So anyone who has a difference of opinion from the pro-illegals, is a troll?

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 22, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Frank, it’s a blessing that illegal immigration is not a felony. Misdemeanor crimes do not warrant providing free legal counsel under our Constitution, a costly benefit that would bankrupt us under the circumstances. The true trolls are those the advocacy groups that chip away at our national soveignty. They currently have the upper hand, but the conservative Supreme Court will soon reverse the ACLU gains, as issues like Hazleton, et al, come before them. I thought that yave was a girl, but I did a search and found out that he/she might actually be male, the character of his writing nothwithstanding.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 22, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Apparently, Maldonado, neither you nor yave have a say in who is or is not allowed to comment in this blog. Free speech for me but not for thee, eh, Danny boy? Calling people trolls often enough somehow translates in discrediting the opposition. This is typical advocacy group tactics.
    I’m amazed at delusion of the Hispanic community in their failure to understand how widespread is the opposition to illegal immigration. Every newspaper that has a blog or comment section shows the opposition as five or six to one against the advocacy cause. And not surprisingly, the great majority of the deluded are Hispanic. That’s understandable because their world view consists of fellow Hispanics. The few socialists in our country are having a field day at self-deception.

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    September 23, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I thought that yave was a girl, but I did a search and found out that he/she might actually be male, the character of his writing nothwithstanding.
    Oh, snap! I’ve been put in my place. Did you notice the proprietor of this blog is a woman? Did you know Michelle Malkin is also a woman?
    So anyone who has a difference of opinion from the pro-illegals, is a troll?
    A troll is an internet-specific term that has nothing to do with immigration. Look it up on Wikipedia.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Odd that the only time I hear the word troll is on pro-illegal websites and forums directed at those who are opposed to illegal immigration. Coincidence?

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 23, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    “A troll is an internet-specific term that has nothing to do with immigration. Look it up on Wikipedia.”
    Actually, a troll is a scandinavian mythical character thich lives under a bridge and eats children. Now, if we could import them and encourage them to change their diet to illegal alien……..

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 24, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Does anyone in here live under a bridge? Not me! I am on a low fat diet too, so I don’t eat children.

  • Avatar
    David O.
    September 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Horace wrote,”..Every newspaper that has a blog or comment section shows the opposition as five or six to one against the advocacy cause.” Yes and all are slightly to the right of David Duke or in your case, Chicken Little, clucking around with fear.
    Yes the blogs and threads really show nothing more than hate from America’s right wing dummies.

  • Avatar
    malito
    September 24, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    well well.
    frankie and horatio defenders of the faith.
    if you are the ‘minute men’ of this blog well your rhetoric is thread bare.
    if you represent the opposition to the great migration north. we the huddled masses yearning to be free do not have anything to worry about.
    so keep harassing the gracious host of this blog.
    we are everywhere and we aint going anywhere. we enjoy the best insitutions of learning and everything else you get with working really hard.
    when a people cannot raise their head when the scourge passes they are degenerate.
    mircea eliade.
    fear not we will banish you to the dustbins of history.
    you will you will be sent to crawford to rake leaves.
    what comes around goes around.
    forget about the reconquesta the empire is so crippled it belongs to the original inhabitants by your sheer incompetence.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 24, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Have some morals and come here legally or don’t come at all. Is that too much to ask? Afterall it is the law!

  • Avatar
    Skeepy
    September 26, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Have some morals and come here legally or don’t come at all. Is that too much to ask? Afterall it is the law!
    Parece que no es moral propagar el odio contra los mas pobres y los mas indefensos usando la ley como pretexto. No todas las leyes son justas ni morales.
    Si no entiendes esto traducelo con google

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 26, 2007 at 11:05 am

    David O, you can only wish it were so. The fact is the those who speak out in this country have the greatest influence, especially if their concerns are reasonable, and in this case they are. Be dismissive of the majority opinion if you will, but the truth is that the presence of illegal immigrants in this country is a gut issue that has most Americans up-in arms. Think about it, do you really believe that the Amemrican character is such that they are accepting of foreigners imposing their presence and their demands for acceptance. Most Americans find this down right rude and respond negatively. It is only those that have ethnic or personal interests that are motivated to accept illegal aliens and grant them citizenship. You underestimate the value that Americans place in following the social and legal norms in our society. Some, certainly not all, Hispanics side with the illegal immigrants, but those that do are deceiving themselves that victory is possible. The latter are plagued by a delusion fed by mutual affirmations and their memberships in socially isolated cliques with narrow ethnic interests. Step out and smell the roses, they’re not as sweet beyond the Hispanic population centers as they are within.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Actually, frustrating the attempts of the American people to control illegal immigration only serves to generate more bad will towards illegal immigrants. Advocacy groups are seen as rogue winners acting contrary to the interests of this nation. I don’t how you can say that the campaign is frustrated if the rationale behind their feelings is not eliminated. Preventing the citizens from exercising actions to reclaim control over their national sovereignty only makes it worse for illegal aliens, as some elements of our society who are prone to violence take action.

  • Avatar
    David O.
    September 28, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Horace,
    You wrote,
    “Victory is possible..”
    “delusion fed by mutual affirmations”
    No. It’s called fighting the good fight and I’m helping as many as I can. One by one.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 28, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    So you are helping those who violate our laws? Isn’t that aiding and abetting?

  • Avatar
    nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez
    September 29, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Poor Horace. So full of hate. Needs to spread it around. Too much for his plate.
    Enjoy your salad, Horace. Enjoy your fast food. Enjoy every single product and luxury brought to you on the backs of those you loathe. Must be a drag to be so dependent upon people you can’t stand. What a sad, self-loathing, hypocritical and ignorant life you lead.
    “Think about it, do you really believe that the Amemrican character is such that they are accepting of foreigners imposing their presence and their demands for acceptance.”
    This is a land of foreigners who imposed their presence upon others through murder and lies. You ought to get humble, fool. You ought to have some gratitude and share the stolen wealth, especially with those who are descended from the indigenous. Who the hell are you to get possessive now?
    “Most Americans find this down right rude and respond negatively. It is only those that have ethnic or personal interests that are motivated to accept illegal aliens and grant them citizenship.”
    Idiot. Americans are immigrants. We ALL have personal interest in extending the opportunity to others that we ourselves have. Additionally, you employ empty rhetoric as if you have facts at your hands. You do not. You have muck on your hands, the muck of confusion, of fear. You wave your skeletal outline of adolescent-thought up in the air. “Most Americans” you say, without numbers or links, and you sound like O’Reilly!
    Annnnnd I think that says it all.

  • Avatar
    David O.
    September 29, 2007 at 8:32 am

    To Frank:
    Yes, every chance I get.
    Nezua,
    I would be proud to share copa with you.
    A heartfelt thank you.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 29, 2007 at 8:43 am

    So the U.S. has no right to have immigration laws? Every other country does. Most Americans aren’t immigrants, their families have been here for generations. Are you one of those sore losers clinging to the past? By the way, neither you or I were even alive when this country became the U.S. Wars have been fought throut history and lands exchanging hands either from victory or monetary compensation. Both occured in this nation and other nations. It is just a fact of life.
    We can’t take in immigrants in unlimited numbers or we would destroy ourselves. Do you just lack common sense? There is no hate in honoring our laws and wanting to safekeep our country for future generations. The ones who don’t are the true haters.
    I dont’ mind LEGAL immigrants picking fruits and veggies for my consumption. Why don’t they come here legally to do that? That is all we ask.
    Let’s face it those of your mindset are ethnocentric racists. You just won’t admit it.

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