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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazy Towns

Steve and Vanessa Rini-Lopez

Since 2003 the U.S. Congress has obligated nearly $400 billion for U.S. efforts in Iraq; the National debt is $9,168,352,339, 338.57, as of December 9, 2007; and the Internal Revenue Service estimates that it loses $70 billion in tax revenues due to the $5 trillion held
offshore in tax havens. Yet our elected officials are telling us that "illegal immigration" is the most important issue affecting our lives.

The Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff's Department is seeking delegated 287(g) immigration enforcement and corrections authority from Immigration Customs and Enforcement. Immigration law is extremely complicated, and there are over 100 violations of immigration law which can serve as the basis for removal from the U.S. However, Sheriff Jenkins doesn't seem to know the difference between the words "Hispanic" and "illegal", yet he is confident that he will be able to oversee this complex program without profiling minorities. Where are the statistics and facts to back up the Sheriff's perception?

Speaking of perceptions, all five Frederick County Commissioners voted to include a request to the state of Maryland to support convening a U.S. Constitutional Convention to address these citizenship/immigration issues because of a perception that Frederick County has a substantial population of illegals. The presence of these "illegals" causes a burden on many programs the County must provide. How can the Commissioners know if undocumented workers from Latin America or elsewhere are a "burden" without analyzing the facts?

Just because a majority of their constituents perceive undocumented workers from Latin America as being a problem, doesn't make it one. Also, h ow is the word "substantial" quantified in the Legislative package? We get the feeling that for a lot of people having one of us (Latino/Hispanic) move in constitutes a burden. We'd also like to understand the commissioners' use of the word "illegals" in the legislative package since that word is not defined under U.S. immigration law. Should we assume "illegal" includes individuals who commit criminal and/or civil illegal acts under the law such as speeding, tax evasion, or discriminating against others?

Then there is Taneytown in Carroll County, Maryland that is seeking to classify itself as a "Non-Sanctuary" city. It has declared war with the Nation's most overblown issue; "Illegal" Immigrants living in "My" country and in "My" hometown. Give me a break! There are only 70 foreign born residents in the entire town. Trust us Councilperson Paul Chamberlain, you don't have to worry about Taneytown residents starting a petition to change your hometown's name to Teotihuacán (Aztec capital in Mexico) anytime soon.

How do these efforts help or benefit society in anyway? We know who will end up losing, but who truly wins? Who is the real villain? Are the immigrants the criminals that should be prosecuted and deported, or should the U.S. government deal with the business practices of multi-national corporations? What about our own government's policies, that have and continue to significantly contribute to economic, political, and social instability throughout Mexicó and Central America? No one wants to leave their homeland, but the fact is that NAFTA and CAFTA have been a sham.

During NAFTA's first year, Mexicó lost one million jobs. Massive agricultural imports from the US have displaced an estimated two million Mexican farmers, as subsidized grains from the United States take over their local and regional markets. Guess where all these unempl oy ed people are going to find work? Why should the victims of NAFTA and CAFTA be the ones prosecuted and condemned, for trade agreement our government forced on these poor countries?

The next time you are tempted to ask, "What part of illegal don't they understand?" go get a copy of
Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations and see for yourself how extensive, complex and overwhelming U.S. immigration law is.

And, no more lectures about how your ancestors immigrated legally. After all, before the Immigration Act of 1965, U.S. immigration policy discriminated against everyone who wasn't a white northern European. This included the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was the first law to ba n a nationality. You call it following the law, we call it white privilege and blatant discrimination.

From our perspective the problem isn't being caused by "illegal" immigrants, the problem is intolerance and bigotry. It is easy to bully people who don't have the right to vote, and who aren't going to show up at a public hearing to express their opinion for fear of being taken into custody.

What is the goal? Does an Angel gets it's wings each time a family is broken apart and children are separated from their deported parents?

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