Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > From Speaker Pelosi to local city leaders, more speaking out in defense of undocumented immigrants

From Speaker Pelosi to local city leaders, more speaking out in defense of undocumented immigrants

LatinaLista — In the past, as of three months ago, it used to be wherever ICE wanted to build an immigrant detention facility, they would encounter some local resistance, but eventually they got their way.
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Immigrant detention facility
However, there are signs everywhere that people no longer feel pressured to “tow the party line” since the party isn’t in power anymore. The latest example of a local community rebuffing ICE is Mineral Wells, Texas.
Mineral Wells is so small that it’s not even listed on the U.S. Census Bureau’s official list of Texas cities but it seems to be big enough for ICE to want to build an immigrant detention facility.
Usually, the carrot for small towns to host such facilities is the revenue it automatically generates through incarcerating the immigrants. In the case of Mineral Wells, the expected generated revenue is $1 million.
Yet, city leaders in Mineral Wells aren’t as greedy for the money as ICE officials were hoping. In fact, they’ve done their homework and are exercising a vision that, up until now, the U.S. government has failed to utilize.

Ellen Hargle, a Mineral Wells resident, expressed her opposition for economic and moral reasons. She cited reports that small communities with ICE facilities “end up worse than those that do not have them.”
She added that this includes such issues as “the prison town effect, which deters business and economic development; tourism is deterred [and] there is a drain on the city’s infrastructure. This is all compacted by private investors receiving more return on the investment than the city gets.”
“Private companies have little oversight,” Hargle added. “I do not believe this type of system is a morally correct way to treat immigrants. We need to find industry that benefits all citizens.”

A few other city leaders joined Hargle in her opposition of the facility for a variety of reasons and so the city council has tabled the motion to allow the building of the detention facility until a community meeting can be called in the next few weeks.
It’s clear that between now and then the people of Mineral Wells will learn a lot more about who is housed in such facilities. Usually, the undocumented immigrants incarcerated in such facilities are the ones caught by surprise in work site raids or by way of a traffic stop.
Once caught, the immigrants aren’t allowed to contact their families to let them know what happened to them or where they are. Once they do re-establish contact with their family, they have been moved hours away to detention facilities far from easy access by their families.
This kind of “catch-and-jail” is unnecessary and inhumane when better alternatives exist. The rage for this kind of abuse of authority is finally being talked about in Congress.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has recently come under fire for declaring that current immigration enforcement procedures, used in rounding up the undocumented who are eventually housed in these detention facilities, are “un-American.”

““About a week and a half ago, Congressman Gutierrez was in San Francisco on a Saturday night. We were packed and jammed in St. Anthony’s Church, hundreds and hundreds of people came. We heard from families who have had raids into their homes and into their families where families were separated.
And at the time, I said it there and I’ll say it here, that raids that break up families in that way, just kick in the door in the middle of the night, taking father, a parent away, that’s just not the American way. It must stop. It’s just not the American way. So we need this comprehensive reform, and we need it soon. And we need to stop those kinds of ICE raids in the meantime. .

The Speaker is right in that there are better ways to achieve our “rule of law” without resorting to the tactics long used by oppressive governments.
What is so un-American about drawing attention to that?

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  • Sandra
    March 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Pelosi is the un-American one. Where is her concern for citizens who are arrested for their crimes and separated from their families? Sorry, if you break any of our laws, citizen and illegal alien alike you pay the price. If you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime.

  • Hissy
    March 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I heard NOBAMA tell a group of amnesty lovers that the “undocumented” (in the U.S. already) will have to pay a hefty fine and must learn ENGLISH. Now…will that ever happen? I think not. They DON’T want to be a citizen…citizens pay taxes and can’t get away with getting paid cash on jobs. I think the prez is trying to do too much too fast. Maybe he should skip LENO and basketball charts and work on policy a bit more. It is very unfair to leave all these people in limbo.

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 21, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Nancy Pelosi is the best! and I wrote her to thank her for all her efforts. She hit my heart when she said: “When italian immigrants came her they thought the streets were paved with gold; little did they know they would be the ones to pave the streets” Nancy reminds us that we are a proud nation of immigrants and how America is built on hard working individuals.

  • adriana
    March 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I love how people only complain about it being un-American to break immigration laws, yet they don’t say that it is un-American to hire the undocumented. The level of hate and disgust toward the individuals instead of the corporate entities profiting from the labor of the undocumented is baffling.
    Marisa, I also blogged about this too here (so know that we aren’t alone in the blogsphere):

  • Sandra
    March 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    ME, we used to be a nation of immigrants but we are now a nation of Americans by several generations now.
    We are also a nation of laws and that includes immigration laws.

  • Irma
    March 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    EVERYONE is an immigrant , except for the
    American Indian. Several generations does not a native make.
    I dont hear the American Indian chirping about immigration laws. Why not?
    They know it is all hypocrisy.

  • Sandra
    March 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Irma, are you nuts? Anyone BORN HERE is not a immigrant, they are a natural born citizen. You don’t know the difference between an immigrant and a citizen?
    I worked at an Indian Casino and most of them are opposed to illegal immigration in today’s world also. Unlike the raza ethnocentrics like yourself they honor U.S. law and they know the devastating affects of unbridled illegal immigration. You don’t as usual know what the hell you are talking about. The past has nothing to do with the present anyway!

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 23, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    We are a nation of immigrants…is what separates us from all the other countries. We are a diverse melting pot and the most successful one in the world!! It is our broken immigration system that is causeing us to fall behind. We must have comprehensive immigration reform and continue the right to the pursuit of happiness for all people….without this basic principal we lose the principals of our founding fathers and we fall behind as the leaders of technology.

  • Sandra
    March 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    ME, are you and Irma just plain dense? We are a nation of native born Americans now by several generations. Just because we still take in immigrants, doesn’t make us a nation of immigrants anymore when the native born outnumber the immigrants today. What about all other countries that take in immigrants? Why don’t they have to wear that label eternally? They and we all have our own identities now and are nations of citizens not immigrants. Get the hell out of the past and bring yourself up to 2009, will you?
    It isn’t our responsibility that all the humans on the face of this earth get to pursue happiness,, espcially on our own soil.
    I get so damned sick of this “nation of immigrants” propaganda that I could just choke! As though because in the past we have had relatvely open immigration, at no point in history will we ever have the right to restrict or slow down the rate of immigration. So, unlimited immigration must continue in perpetuity because of immigration policy in the past when this country was an unpopulated, undeveloped wilderness?
    The fact that this nation has experienced immigration is NOT what sets us apart from other nations! Every other nation in this hemisphere has experienced immigration, including Canada, Mexico, and most of the other Latin American countries. Most Latin American countries are made up of European, Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants in addition to their indigenous population. Canada has also experienced much immigration from China and the Middle East. Interestingly, nobody even remotely suggests that these countries have no right to enforce their immigration laws or set immigration policy as they see fit. So we can dispense with that propaganda also.
    No, what sets this country apart from others is our Constitution and the rule of law upon which this country is based. Without the rule of law which our civil society is based upon, we will become another chaotic third world nation.
    Even the Native Indians migrated here; they merely came before the others. Our ancestors were ALL immigrants from somewhere else. Nobody sprouted up here like corn from the ground. That is no reason why our immigration laws TODAY should not be enforced for the greater good. Unless ones wants to suggest that Latin American countries also suspend their immigration laws and open up their borders to the entire world.

  • RealDemocrat
    March 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    You forgot the nursing mothers who are taken away to be deported…

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Sandra, if you are tired of a Nation of Immigrants and the principals of what the United States of America means and you want a country that suites yourself and not everyone else than maybe America just isn’t your cup of tea. You choke when you hear the words “A nation of immigrants”. That’s really insensitive of you because most people are proud to live on this soil and are grateful to be in a diverse melting pot society that gives all people the right to the pursuit of happiness. You take about captitalism and free enterprise but if Americans were to embrace your ideas we would live in a dictatorship. Lets see…Ummm first you would detain undocumented workers using taxpayers dollars…than you would detain the people who tried to protect them…then you would detain their relatives etc. etc. etc. and you would do this using our taxdollars in private industry with no regulations. lol-If this is your idea of capitalism than…maybe this is why Americans are finding the looks of socialism much more attractive.

  • Karen
    March 25, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Sandra, you’re a reactive person who cannot see the big picture. Millions of poor people are coming here because they have been pushed off of their land by NAFTA. That’s the BIG picture.
    Putting them in jail for the crime of being poor and hungry is not a viable solution to this problem. NAFA has to be eliminated, ot renegotiated. Mexican immigrants are not going away. They have survived this mess for 500 years.

  • Jason Hunter
    March 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Karen – They have survived this mess for 500 years.
    Really? NAFTA has been around for 500-years? It seems to me that the Mexican government and its people had a choice. The Mexican government, democratically elected by its people, has recently expressed support to maintain NAFTA. It’s the US that’s tending to rethink this treaty. If NAFTA is so onerous to Mexico and its people, then they are free to abrogate the treaty. Overall, NAFTA has been good to Mexico. We have a balance of trade heavily weighted in favor of Mexico. If NAFTA were declared null and void, far more Mexicans would be in poverty than are now.

  • Sandra
    March 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    ME, I am not tired of living here, I am tired of people like you that want to still claim we are a nation of immigrants when the native born population outnumbers immigrants by far. At that point we stopped being a nation of immigrants and a nation of Americans instead. Why does that bother YOU so much? It has nothing to do with diviersity. It has to do with the right of American citizens to call themselves a nation of Americans and claim their identity as such.
    What I want is for immigrants to come here legally and not to expect to be rewarded for not doing so but instead deported as our laws demand. Maybe it is YOU that should leave since you don’t go along with that concept of our laws. A concept that is place for every country in the world that has immigration laws.
    And Karen, I don’t care why people migrate here illegally. They either follow the rules to get here or don’t come at all.
    “Mexican” immigrants have survived this mess for 500 years? What mess? Mexicans aren’t even idigenous to our COUNTRY. As for legal immigration quotas Latinos get the second highest quotas allowed into our country and only by a few pecentage points. I see no discrimination or “mess” in that.

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 28, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Sandra, You are not interested in Immigrants coming here legally. You do not support reform on any level. You are fully aware that the legal immigration is broken and a closed door policy that was intended to be that way for the purpose of giving employers a slave staff of workers that were not protected by US labor laws. Your ideals on immigration keep 12 million undocumented in the same status. You are perfectly aware that as you continue to go on your path of this rhetoric that you are hurting the American worker and you are also being harsh towards the undocumented immigrant. You talk about wanting the US to be a country that no longer calls itself “a proud nation of immigrants”! This is America…without this principal of our founding fathers we fail. Today we are still the most successful melting pot in the world but we are starting to slip. We are losing to other countrys in technology and innovation. This innovation creates jobs and a lifestyle that no country can compare to. Sandra, Americans want our America back…we want reform in all ways. Your ideals are hurting America. You are trying to re-define America and that is not America.

  • Horace
    March 28, 2009 at 11:35 am

    It just shows how pathetic that advocates can be when one of they’re arguments for legitimizing illegal immigration is that because most of us are not descendants of American Indians, and thus not entitled to establish rules and regulations for contemporary immigration. The same rationales could be made ad infinitum for just about every regulatory law established in the 20th century. What’s next, violators of our motor vehicle laws arguing the right of communities to post speed limits because there was once a time that our ancestors had no need for them? Only very immature minds and apologists for illegal aliens make such excuses for acts of bad behavior. In the case of this blog, we seem to have immaturity and the advocate’s ethnocentricity coinciding in the same persons.

  • Horace
    March 28, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    ME said: Your ideals on immigration keep 12 million undocumented in the same status.
    You are absolutely correct, ME. There is really no legal or moral rationale for granting amnesty for these people based upon numbers. They put themselves in the status in which they remain today. There is no reason to believe that giving 12 million illegal aliens amnesty will change the habits of Mexican nationals who have not yet migrated. What if your amnesty only results in more uncontrolled immigration, ME? If another 10 million should follow, ME, what will you do then? Will you call for another amnesty, whining that our laws are invalid once again.
    People like yourselves tell these illegal aliens and would-be illegal aliens in South and Central America that this country is one of immigrants and have effectively told them that the U.S. has no right to keep anyone else out. How can we ever enforce our immigration policies with people like you de-legitimizing the sovereignty of our country and saying that rule of law is unimportant and unjust?
    CIR will never work, because traitors like yourself cannot even recognize America’s right to control immigration and you’ll always support the 12 million and others that will follow, should an amnesty be given.
    Shallow anti-law people like you, ME, are dangerous if present in great numbers, so we are indeed fortunate that you are of a very small minority, albeit given far more credence than you deserve. You talk a lot but none of your arguments go any deeper than exhorting to pity and declaring our country unworthy of self-governance.

  • Sandra
    March 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    ME, how dare you accuse me of not wanting immigrants to come legally when I stated othewise over and over!!! Who the hell do you think you are accusing me of that? You don’t even have any basis for calling me a liar on what I said.
    Just because I don’t think we should give yet another amnesty to the millions who are already here doesn’t make me anti-“legal” immigrant. So knock of your BS!
    How the hell are we hurting the American worker by not giving these illegals amnesty? Are you nuts! Not giving the illegals amnesty does quite the opposite. It will HELP the American worker to get a job at a fair wage without competition from foreigners. It is your ideals that hurting America, not mine.
    We are no longer a nation of immigrants. We haven’t been for decades! Our native born citizens outnumber immigrants by the millions. So how the hell are we still a nation of immigrants? We are a nation of citizen Americans today. Stop living in the past for God’s sake. It is like saying that China is a nation of Germans just because there are some Germans living there when clearly the population is overwhelmingly Chinese. Your rational is simply astounding!

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Sandra. You are nuts! How do you think Americans are going to get a fair wage if the 12 million undocumented here remain undocumented!! This gives employers a slave labor work force that is not protected by labor laws. The employer will continue to hire the undocumented and pay below minumim wage. If you think that 12 million people will ever be deported you are absoluteing dreaming and someone has sold you on a bunch of anti-whatever rhetoric BS. Do you realise this country needs reform on all levels?? We need this bill passed…We need these people to come out of the shadows and get in line for citizenship…(and then if they do not want to pay the fine and come out of the shadows and take a part of America they need to go home)they need to become a part of our system and invest their dollars and future here. We need secured Borders…We need Labor laws enforced. Sandra, Did it ever occur to you that comprehensive immigration reform will make the people that are serious about giving into the American system come forward) What is so unreasonable to you about this!! This is the obvious solution. Honestly, your posts show me that you are not into a reformed legal immigration system. It seems like you want to keep things the way they are.

  • MaryElizabeth
    March 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Also Sandra, We will always be “A Nation of Immigrants”. I prefer to listen to Pelosi’s definition then yours. Pelosi and Obama represent the majority of Americans and their opinions since as the results show…the majority of Americans voted their ideals in. Our President ran on a platform that ended segregation in the United States and amongst his platform he clearly supports undocumented workers to pay a fine and get on the back of the line. Now Sandra, whether or not you want to except it you need to do a head count when it comes to the House and the Senate and that will show you where Immigration is going. Immigration reform is not based on your opinion. Reform is will come based on the numbers…and the numbers look good. Maybe you ought to oppose something that makes sense…like oppose the cronnies (the employers that were the magnet that brought them in to begin with). Not the helpless worker!!

  • Horace
    April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    ME said: “Our President ran on a platform that ended segregation in the United States and amongst his platform he clearly supports undocumented workers to pay a fine and get on the back of the line.”
    Cite his statements pertinent to ending segregation. You made this up, ME. And how is being allowed to stay and work in the U.S. part of getting in back of the line, which for everyone else is in their homeland? Paying a few thousand dollars over some nebulous period of time hardly amounts to a hardship. Would anybody who didn’t pay actually be deported? We all know that the fee would be waived and this provision would be ignored. It’s just another lie, like the amnesty of the 1980’s. I wonder how many of those resident alien candidates in Korea already in the back of the line wish they were illegal alien Mexicans who are getting exactly what they came for in the first place after paying what amounts to a paltry sum? Repatriation to their homelands,and applying for residency as millions of legal Latino immigrants have done, and continue to do, is the only fair remedy. And if these people are deemed likely to be potential welfare clients, they should be rejected just like every other applicant who fails a means test. Anything else is a sham and unfair to other would-be immigrants awaiting their turn.

  • MaryElizabeth
    April 4, 2009 at 1:11 am

    “We are not a white America…We are not a red America…We are not a blue America..We are one America…and that is the United States of America”!! (What part of that Obama statement didnt absorb into your brain yet?? or are you a part of that small margin of Americans that allowed this to fly over your head??) You know there aren’t too many of you out there anymore. You are becoming a minority. lol..Wake up!! America elected a president that is half blk and half white.(The majority of Americans aren’t segregated anymore./Now as for; The undocumented are Welfare potentials?…fill me in…im a little confused here. I thought they broke the borders to fill in the positions that the people on welfare didnt want to do,and it was ancestors that repressed our Americans that are on welfare with this same stinking thinking that gave America disfunction through horrible segregation throughout history. Welfare people are a result of the other groups that were repressed and beatened down from years of being held back from racism, slavery here in America. Our current private industry prisons and Crimmigration crisis is beating down our society again using repressive tactics. CIR gives them the path they need to make sure that they never need that crutch. The more we allow Crimmigration to take place…the larger our private industry prisons get. To much Crimmigration leads us to a larger prison monopoly and we do not want to become a Crimmination!

  • Sandra
    April 5, 2009 at 7:58 am

    We are racially diverse but we are still a white majority country.
    The thing is that some groups in this country don’t think of themselves as Americans first. In their minds their race/ethnicity comes first.
    “Crimination”? Uh, a country based on the rule of law will and should detain criminals. Without consequences for their actions our country would be ruled by chaos.

  • MaryElizabeth
    April 6, 2009 at 12:58 am

    “Crimmigration” it is and it is turning us into a “Crimmination”. A country based on the “rule of law” does not detain the undocumented and allow them to die in prisons without medical attention and abuse their Civil Rights. A country based on “rule of law” does not take Pay for Play money lobbyed to elected politicians that give government contracts using our tax dollars to pay for private industry prisions that detain the undocumented and accuse them of a “felony” because they came here for the “pursuit of happiness”. A country of “rule of law” follows the basic rules of humanity when detaining people in a prison. Do not talk to me about “rule of law”. When it comes to these private prisons and cronism they have broke the meaning of “rule of law”. When it comes to the employers that hired workers for years knowing that they were undocumented you need to rally up all your efforts against them and not the workers. “Rule of Law” is not the law you want to inforce when you just want brand a group of people in society. And FYI Sandra, we are no longer a white society. We are a melting pot.

  • Sandra
    April 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

    The thing is that there is no proof of abuse in these detention facilities and even if there were, they are remote incidents and can and should be corrected but that is no reason not to continue to detain immigration law violaters. The pro-illegals would like us to believe that they are all being abused and that is the norm because they can then beat he drum for their agenda to stop detaining illegal aliens.
    The CIR I would like to see happen is to continue detentions and make sure there are no inhumane conditions in them and expedite their case hearings so they don’t have to spend more than a couple of weeks in them. As Liquid already pointed out the private facilities are actually cheaper for the taxpayer.
    The only way that these illegals can be accused of being a felon in regards to just crossing our border illegally is if they were deported before and came back. It is the law!
    We HAVE rallied against the employers so what the hell are you talking about, ME?? We have talked about it at length in this blog but that doesn’t mean that the illegals should get a pass. Both parties are guilty.
    Yes, we are still a white majority country RACIALLY! Sorry you are in denial about that. I would be glad to prove it to you but you already know it is true. That doesn’t change the concept of the melting pot. They are two unrelated things. Melting pot refers to culture. Race is an entirely different thing. I am simply amazed at either the lack of facts or the denial of them by some in here.

  • Marisa Treviño
    April 7, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Sandra, you’re somewhat misinformed about there not being proof of abuse in the detention facilities. Had there been lack of proof several court cases would not have gone through where neglect and abuse was cited and the judges ruled against the detention facilities.

  • Sandra
    April 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Marisa, I am aware of some minor problems in the detention facilities in the past and they have since been corrected. But there is no heinous and widespread abuse going on in them as some in here would like us to believe.

  • Marisa Treviño
    April 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Rape and neglect resulting in death, among others, are not minor problems. Your response truly puzzles me that you can so easily dismiss these instances and others that are coming or have come to light. I have to question your motives for such blatant dismissal even when the facts exist. All I have to say, if you’re on someone’s payroll to spread misinformation, you’re earning your keep. If not, then you’ve been effectively brainwashed to the point that you can’t be looked upon to add anything to the conversation on this blog because you’re too busy pushing an agenda. Sad.

  • Sandra
    April 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Marisa, I have read nothing about any proof of rapes or neglect resulting in death in those detention centers. Perhaps you could provide us with some viable proof?
    I am retired, so no I am not on anyone’s payroll and I haven’t been spreading misinformation.
    As for pushing an agenda…well, are you not?

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