Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Illegal immigration

Can a small city in Pennsylvania do something about illegal immigrants? Probably not but Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta is trying to make it an issue locally. Somehow I'm skeptical of his efforts. As far as I know only the federal government can make and enforce the immigration laws. The problem is the federal government won't enforce the immigration laws on the books. When the last overhaul of the immigration laws were enacted in the 1980's it put the onus on employers to verify that companies were hiring legal residents and provided harsh penalties for those who hired illegals. Today those laws are not enforced. You can talk all you want about deporting people but if the companies that hire them aren't punished it makes a joke of the whole system.

Some great quotes from the TL story today:

Mayor Lou Barletta has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit and punish the hiring of illegal immigrants and renting property to them.
"I don't want them here in Hazleton," Barletta said. "They're not wanted. " The jobs most work are selling drugs. Many I am dealing with are not law-abiding citizens."
The city's population has spiked from 23,000 to 31,000 residents in six years because of an influx of Hispanics.
Barletta said he doesn't know how many of the city's new residents are in the country illegally.
"Many new residents are a productive part of our community," Barletta said.
"But a group of people are here illegally, not paying taxes, using city resources, and I have just had enough of it," the Republican mayor added.

Gee, I wonder if this initiative has anything to do with the Senate race.

TT: In dueling statewide radio commercials, the two major-party candidates for Mr. Santorum's Senate seat scorch each other for opposing views on the immigration-control bill that easily passed the Senate on May 25.....

The Russians had to build a wall to keep people in, the United States is talking about building one to keep people out. I'd rather live in a country that people want to come to instead of one that people want to get out of. Yes we have to get controll of our borders but I'm getting sick and tired of vilifying people because they are "different."

A hundred years ago our grandparents were looked down upon because they had a different religion, had a better tan and couldn't speak English.

This is America, a nation of immigrants.


D.B. Echo said...

Damned immigrants, coming here and using our resources, crowding our cities, bringing their alien ways of acting and talking, messing up property values, littering the landscape with their McMansions. Let's send all those New Yorkers and Philadelphians the hell back where they came from.

Seriously. My parish just got semi-consolidated with two other Nanticoke parishes - we'll have a priest-sharing agreement. The problem isn't so much a drop in the Catholic populations of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties (which are losing people) or a drop in the number of driests in the diocese (and there rally are fewer); it's the population explosion in the newly-established New York suburbs of Monroe and (I think) Pike and Sullivan counties, all of which are still in the Scranton Diocese. These immigrants are increasing the demand for pastoral services, but are not bringing any priests (or vocations) with them.

Hazleton really does have an issue. Federal enforcement of Federal laws is the only real answer, and that ain't gonna happen. I think Barletta is setting up at least a housing discrimination confrontation that will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court.

Bill Fitzpatrick said...

there is no possible ciscrimination case aghianst Barletta he even created housing for the immigrants
It is importnat to note that
Barletta is a freeind of the Hispanic community in Hazleton and has stood up for them against many racists attacks. He has even been accusesd of bussing them him self in one class where he was guest i asked him point blank
did the recnt hispanic growth save the city of hazelton and he said yes. he is just sick and tired of the illeglas committing crimes. Also the Hispanic community is behind barletta for the most part on this issue

Anonymous said...



pope george ringo said...

Obviously the immigration issue opens a path for those who are racist, but His Holiness believes the majority of Americans who share concerns about the border are NOT doing so for racial reasons. Barletta is more than likely grandstanding for political gain, but he also has some valid points. The crime rate in Hazleton has risen and more than likely the reason is the influx of out of towners, whether they be Hispanic Purple or White, etc. This is also why the W-B crime rate has risen in the past years. It makes no difference to me whether my neighbor is Hispanic Black or White as I am only interested in whether my neighbor is a good person. Unfortunately, whether we want to admit it or not, the influx of crime is at the hands of a majority of those of minority persuasion. This is a fact--but it does not lend credence to attacking an entire race for the sins of a few either. His Holiness would rather live next to a good Hispanic neighbor as opposed to an a..hole White neighbor. SO, what do we do? Neighborhood watches, watches which include minorities so as to not alienate those who break no law by appearing to place them in the category of those who do. We cannot hope to accomplish a great world by segregating our neighbors. If we are inclusive in the fight against crime we can only win. Barletta's mistake is that he does not seem to be including Hispanics in his quest to rid the city of crime. Bless YOu All.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I really resent pols who blame all our nation's ills on undocumented workers. It's a nice way to avoid facing the real problem. Hitler did it pretty effectively mit der Juden, and now the new bogeymen are "illegal aalines," dirty and smelly Mexicans and PRs who refuse to speak English.

Of course, the real problem is the bastards who hire them and then refuse to pay a living wage.

In Northampton County, John Morganelli is on a perpetual quest to rid the area of undocumented workers. He gets tips from unions and then rounds them up. But he never prosecutes the pricks who hire them. I wonder why.

But he gets elected all the time, and I suspect other pols want to cash in on our xenophobia as well.

Tara said...

I live in Hazleton (and have all my life and wish to continue to do so) and there are MAJOR issues that these proposals stem from. Remember the huge drug bust on Wyoming Street at "New York's Finest"? You still can't travel down Wyoming Street feeling safe. Hear about any gang activity lately? Probably Hazleton. I don't think this is solely a political move, it's high time something gets done!

The problem with Hazleton are those non-English speaking residents that REFUSE to speak English and expect professionals like me to cater to them by speaking their language. Uh-uh, no way, not happening. If I went to Mexico, France, Russia, etc. that wouldn't fly. It shouldn't fly here either. If my working-class great-grandmother could come here and learn English while she was in her early thirties, they why can't they?
I am a pharmacist and I know firsthand how dangerous not be able to speak and/or understand English can be when it comes to medications. If you're trying to figure out allergies or even a name of a patient and all they can say is "yes, yes, yes", then there's a potentially fatal problem on your hands.
If someone is going to live in the US, then learn the language. I think that's bare-bones survival to make it in your new country.

As for illegal immigrants, they're ILLEGAL! What's the issue? Like I said before, try to enter any other country illegally and see what happens. They have it easy here and it's time to STOP.

I just hope these problems improve. Otherwise, people may start taking the law into their own hands, and that may be even scarier than the present situation.

pope george ringo said...

This is a question for the Pharmacist: Doesn't a doctor issue prescriptions in his/her very "illegible to the layman" writing? So I do not understand what someone's race has to do with understanding a doctor's instructions on a small piece of paper. I don't prescribe to medications so I am not aware as to whether one has to furnish ID in order to have a prescription filled nowadays. I am very curious as to how this process is conducted. Bless YOU.

Tara said...

It's not someone's race, it's whether or not they can tell someone about drug allergies or even whether they are getting the right drugs for them when they pick them up. I never mentioned anything about a person's race. I think I communicated quite clearly that it's about being able to speak and understand English.

As for an illegible prescription, if we can't read it then we call the doctor. And it may be unable to read by a "layman" because of the abbreviations used, i.e. QID, qs, OU, AD, etc.

Because of mix-ups that have occured, IDs are requested if the person cannot communicate.

I have no problem with trying to get the person to understand what I am trying to get from them information-wise if they are willing to work with me, because my job involves maintaining the person's well-being. But there are some people out there who just say "no comprende" and look at me like it's my problem I don't know their language. It shocks me that people act that way.

I had three years of Spanish in high school so I know some bare-bones phrases to try to use with our Spanish-speaking customers. But I have no way of telling them about side effects, precautions, etc., such as "Don't drink any alcohol with this drug, even with mouthwashes or OTC's like Nyquil- it may make you very sick to your stomach." So is that a potential malpractice suit on my hands? Do you see where I'm coming from?

pope george ringo said...

With all due respect, your commentary prior to your previous one referred to "non english speaking residents in Hazleton" which is a saavy way of saying Hispanics. You may deny it all you want but it is the proverbial "Elephant in the Room"--you 'are' referring to "Race". As far as label warnings on prescribed drugs--I would assume that a physician would advise his patient as to the side effects, etc. of the drug that he is prescribing. I am not taking away from your position as a Pharmacist (which is very important), but I do believe that there are ways to easily address the problem to which you refer. I do not believe that it would be all too horrible if we had bi-lingual warning labels on prescription drugs. THerfore, your conscience would be eased and everyone will be happy. Of course, I am certain that some people may be opposed to such a bilingual warning--but I certainly would have no respect for them as we are talking about saving peoples lives and all life is precious under our Lord Jesus Christ whether they be WASP, Hispanic, African AMerican and on and on. God Bless.

Tara said...

There are Hispanics in Hazleton that can speak English. There are people from other, non-Hispanic countries who can't. So, no, it's not about me being against a "Hispanic race". God bless you too. Because you're not listening to what I'm writing, just jumping to conclusions that I'm a racist. I'm done. Adios!

pope george ringo said...

His Holiness did "not" call you a racist--I was just pointing out that you wrote a commentary referring to crime in Hazleton and "non english speaking residents" and your frustration with the situation. This commentary was in response to the story that Gort wrote on the Hispanics and Barletta. Yes, you did not once mention Hispanics in your commentary by name--but only a fool would believe that you were referring to those who only speak Russian, Italian, Klingon, whatever. ANd His Holiness did not call you a racist--I only pointed out that you were referring to 'race'. You brought the dirty word up and are now angry about it. You must ask yourself "Why am I angry?" We would all do well to follow the command of Isaiah: "TO UNDO THE HEAVY BURDEN, AND LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE". God Bless You.

Bill Fitzpatrick said...

hazleton is getting alot of immigrants from easter europe as well
as a cahier in the grocery store in the philly burbs i wxperince the languge barrier all the time, most of the hispanics are cool, they just come in and pay cash and as long as they are not getting hosed dont care, while the asians whoo may speak better english expect us to understand them becuase they meticoulsy read thier recpts complain to each other in asian and then one in very broken english complains about the price of something and I, the cashier was usally right, but since we cant understand them, they can say nouns but cant make a sentance we just give in becuase they are holding everything up, they should be more like my one asian customer who just brought in his burned out ligh bulb and was able to help me help him

LVDem said...

bill, I hope you can laugh at yourself b/c the man who types English the way you do shouldn't be complaining about language of anybody. I say that completely in jest knowing that you have a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to what elite in the United States believe supported by the mass media, immigration into the United States is a priviledge and not a "right." Furthermore, illegal immigration into the United States is a crime. Period. End of story. It does not matter that those illegally entering the country are "hard working," "family oriented," are "looking for a better life," or whatever slogans are used to characterize millions of criminals.

The proposal of Mayor Barletta to the City Council of Hazleton represents the interests of the legal citizen population of the Hazleton area. As the Mayor has stated, the rapid rise of the Hispanic population into the area has had serious detrimental consquences for the area and is decreasing the quality of life for those local people who have been here for generations. While the immigrants - both legal and illegal - obviously want a "better life" is it certainly not fair that their desire for a better life lowers the quality of life for those already here. Increased crime, overcrowded schools, expensive bilingual education, lower standards of medical care, higher taxes, and a local population fearful of walking their own streets. How is this fair to the native Hazletonians and why should their lives be so negatively impacted because foreigners do not want to make the necessary changes in their homelands to bring about freedom and opportunity there?

For those who are against this ordinance given the largest group of people that will be effected are the Hispanics, since nationally they comprise the largest group of illegals in the country - principally from Mexico -any type of enforcement of imigration law on a local, state, or national level or a means to proactively deal with illegal immigration is denounced as "racist," "bigoted," "mean-spirited," "xenophobic," "discriminatory," "hateful," etc. Use of such words simply places those in favor of supporting our laws on the defensive. It is designed to change the debate from one of enforcing the laws and addressing the criminal acts of foreigners to one of a personal attack whereby the proponent of enforcement must defend himself as not a "racist" rather than the opponent of enforcement defending himself and his rational for not upholding the laws of the United States.

Furthermore, Hispanics are not a "race." From the Rio Grande south there are hundreds of millions of people of various ethnicities, colors, religions, languages, and backgrounds who are native Indian, African, European, Asian, as well as racially mixed. Therefore, anything that may be deemed "anti-Hispanic" cannot be "racist" since such a Hispanic "race" does not exist. However, in spite of that, one of the largest "civil rights" organizations for Hispanics in the United States which routinely denouces such actions as Mayor Barletta's as "racist" is the National Council of La Raza, or in English, the National Council of THE RACE. How hypocritical and racist is that?

Additionally, according to FBI crime statistics, Hispanics do in fact have a higher criminal rate than non-Hispanic whites. Thus, it makes perfect sense that with the rapid increase of Hispanics in the Hazleton area that you would also see an increase of crimes in the area. Unfortunately, those have also been very violent high profile crimes which did not happen prior the Hispanics being in the area. Furthermore, if the first action by a Hispanic entering the United States is a violation of America's sovereignty and our immigration laws, why should we expect them to abide by any other laws? Additionally, many of those Hispanics are from poverty stricken, corrupt, Third World countries where the rule of law does not exist. Is it then at all suprising that they would also bring with them a criminal Third World mentality to the area as well since this is what their culture is back home?

Concerning the Hispanics in Hazleton not speaking English, this is not unique to Hazleton. This is the result of chain migration. Simply put, one Hispanic moves to Hazleton from New York, they tell a friend or family member who also moves, who then tells a friend or family member who moves, and so on and so forth. That is how you see a population increase of an estimated 8,000 Hispanics in the area in the last 6 years. However, that personal chain not only extends from Hazleton to the New York area, but also to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other areas in Latin America. In fact, there are websites in those areas that have mentioned Hazleton, Pennsylvania even though the city is thousands of miles away. That is something most Hazleton residents are unaware of. So, as the Hispanic population grows, they open businesses that cater primarily to other Hispanics, their transactions are done in Spanish, they begin to publish newspapers and magazines in Spanish, television stations begin to broadcast in Spanish, they then seek to have everything done for them in Spanish, and eventually there is absolutely no reason for them to ever learn English. In the end, they will just simply recreate in Hazleton what they left in Latin America.

Hazleton is not the first city to experience this, Miami and Los Angeles are two primary examples.
In 1960 Miami's population was American, English speaking, 90% white and 10% black. In 2000 Miami's population was foreign, Spanish speaking, 75% Hispanic, 15% black, and 10% white. Of course, this was the result of 40 years of Hispanic immigration for those wanting a "better life" in America beginning after the Castro revolution in Cuba.

While there are certainly political issues involved, Mayor Barletta is actually represeting the citizens of his city and their wishes - unlike the US Senate and President Bush and their treasonous amnesty bill recently passed. As an elected official, Mayor Barletta's job is to represent his citizens, not thousands of illegal alien foreigners who have invited themselves to take advantage of his city. With any luck, the illegal Hispanics will receive his message loud and clear - "You are not welcome!"

Anonymous said...

Being a Hispanic woman, I fully support Mayor Barletta's proposal. Let's say I was German and I wanted to move here. I would have to go through the right channels, learn the language, apply for citizenship, and pretty much prove to the government that I have a reason to be here. It'd be the same if any of us moved to a foreign country. I don't think you're entitled to anything if you're in a country illegally. The last time I checked, the word 'illegal' means it's against the law. People in a country illegally are breaking laws, and should be sent back to wherever they came from.

Anonymous said...

Its pretty bad that I had to go and get a gun permit and a gun just to feel safe driving in Hazleton. I never thought for a minute I would be a person having to conceal a weapon for my safety. But since the shootings and such, I can't take the chance of getting hijacked or something.

I have been here all my life and can remember leaving the doors unlocked to my house. Try and do that now!

Anonymous said...

Simple question:

If I offer a guy who just knocked off the grocery store down the street to live and hide out in my basement, am I then aiding and abetting a criminal, therefore committing a crime?


The fact of the matter is that illegal immigrants are just that: "ILLEGAL" (meaning that their crime is living here illegally, for those who don't get it). So, if I knowingly offer these individuals a place to live and give them a job (wait..isn't it already illegal to hire illegal immigrants?), am I then aiding and abetting a criminal, therefore committing a crime?

Answer: Absolutely!

Where's the question in any of this? Where's the racism? Oh, that's isn't there. It's a simple question of what's legal and what's not. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

I am from out of State but enjoy off roading at Paragon adventure Park. Our club comes to your area at least three times a month.

It is a comfort to know your Mayor and others are hitting this crime problem head on.

With efforts like this We are sure to continue to make the trip to your town.

Thank you for the great town of Hazleton.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody tell me how to figure out if a person is "illegal"? People who come across the border without permision - probably "illegal". But what about people who come with permission and stay too long? I hear that they can still become permanent residents sometimes.

And what kind of documents am I supposed to use to figure out somebody's immigration status? Their birth certificate? Their visa? Their passport? Their Social Security cards? Their driver's licenses? Something else?

If I was a landlord in Hazleton, my only way to avoid penalties would be to simply refuse to rent to anyone with an accent, a Latino last name, or brown skin. That seems to be the real goal of this ordinance and it's not fair to anybody.

don't worry about it said...

I think this so called mayor is just ignorant. his kid's are probably selling drugs right out of his back yard.

PA_Lady said...

This discussion is getting some big play in my house - partly because of the recent bust of 26 illegals in Athens, and because I'm the great-granddaughter of two illegals and the granddaughter of one non-English-speaking but legal. Two Irish illegals - my Gram snuck in from Canada with her sister and brother, and my granddad simply walked off his ship (he was a steward) in Philly. But they were white, could speak English, and managed to find jobs working for the LVRR through other Irish. Those were about the only advantages they had. Being Irish in this country in the 1800s was like being Hispanic today. They worked their asses off, usually at below-market wages; the only apartments available to them were filthy, broken-down places in the poorest section of town - owned by the elite, naturally. If they complained, the landlords tossed them out. The men were often beaten by "true" Americans because they were taking their jobs and causing a lowering of wages. They could only shop in town on Mondays and Wednesdays, weren't allowed in to most bars, and the "good" people would literally cross the road to avoid them. So, they built their own stores, their own bars, etc., and mostly kept to their "own kind."

I also have a grandfather from Italy. Couldn't speak a word of English when he arrived at 19, could barely speak more than his name and a few simple phrases when he died at age 87. His wife (2nd-generation Italian) and his kids were his translators. Through other Italians, he was able to get his job, and saved enough to buy a small farm. After that, his few English contacts were people who stopped to buy his produce.

Now, how did they accomplish all that? Well, they lived in communities with other people like themselves. They learned English through the church and their children, and from citizens who worked to help them integrate. Maybe, just maybe, if we help these immigrants, encourage their kids, and give them hope and a future - Hispanics in 100 years will be the Irish of today.

Anonymous said...

I support the Mayor's case. My grandparents on my mother's side came through Ellis Island and had to go through several tests including health and their intention was to become citizens. My father's ancestors came to America back around 1700s. But the point is that most illegal Americans that are in America have no desire to become citizens, they sneak across the border (any of the borders even by air), they get fake drivers licenses, fake social security cards, they don't even attempt to get work visas, etc... What characters do you think they have? They work around food and have never had any health tests and they are not documented. They could be spreading hepatitis.
Our young men and women are fighting in Iraq while they are sneaking around. It’s not right. For National Security, we need to document everyone or deport them. If they have good intentions they will apply for citizenship.