Archive for the ‘Hazleton’ Category

There is a horrible misconception in this country right now, based mostly on what people hear rather than on what they know, that illegal immigrants perform jobs that Americans won’t do (though of late, this has been altered by illegal immigrant activists to “jobs Americans are too qualified for” since the condescending catch-phrase “jobs Americans wont do” was failing miserably.) This is patently false, but it’s been regurgitated over and over so much that people simply accept it. (There was an incident recently in the post-Katrina south where African Americans looking for work at a specific job site were told to go home because “the Mexicans” were coming to work for less pay.)

For those of us living in border states, particularly southern California, keep in mind that Latino workers makes up only 5% the total workforce in the United States, and they don’t make up a majority of the workforce in any occupation in America–yes, not even car washing, gardening, or house cleaning.

Much of the problem lies with employers who hire illegals for a lower wage than actual American citizens are willing to take (well below minimum.) It’s about a fair wage. Pay American citizens a fair wage and they will do those jobs that so many are claiming only illegals will do because we, as American citizens, are too good to get our hands dirty. In fact, if there weren’t as many illegals doing “jobs Americans won’t do” then Americans would be able to fill those jobs, probably promoting a general increase in wages for many Americans altogether.

American citizens are doing jobs throughout the country that illegal immigrant activists say they won’t do. Americans are making livings and getting paid fair wages gardening, house cleaning, building homes, and working at McDonalds. Often views are skewed by where people live (border states) and what they see in the news.

Many legal immigrants (Latino and otherwise) find great offense to the idea of illegals getting any sort of benefits, let alone amnesty, by being in the country without having gone through the proper channels. Most immigrants have waited with great patience, going through those proper channels in order to become American citizens. The general disdain and disrespect pro-illegal immigration protestors and activists have towards the country that they are trying to win favor from is galling.

What needs to happen? Mexico needs to step up to the plate and provide for its citizens, and the United States needs to stop paying their bills without any help from Mexico. Mexico relies on the fact that its citizens emigrate to the US. It even took out full page ads in American newspapers supporting Bush’s guest worker program! It’s what keeps the rich wealthy, and the poor even poorer. The corruptness of the Mexican government is abhorrent, and if it were governed with any sense of responsibility (doubtful there will be any change even with the new leadership), the situation would probably be different, especially considering Mexico is rich in natural resources. What the illegal immigrant demonstrators and activists should do is use that same determination to protest their own government in Mexico to incite change instead of alienating the American audience it’s trying to win over.

Ultimately this is not a racist issue, at least for me (Since I’ve already done so in the past, I’m not even going to go into the stress illegals place on our health care and school systems–it’s no wonder emergency rooms in southern California are shutting down in record numbers.) This is about providing American citizens a fair shot and keeping our economy running smoothly. Simply, if you pay people more money, they put more money back into the economy. If you pay them less, they put less back in, which weakens the economy. Add to that, most illegal immigrants send much of the money they make back to their families in Mexico and you can see how much of problem this will ultimately become (and already is.)

Late last week in Hazleton, PA, an ordinance, originally proposed by Mayor Louis Barletta, was passed by the city council which would punish employers who hire illegal immigrants. Additionally, any landlord who knowingly rents to an illegal immigrant will be subject to stern measures and penalties.

Of course, not everyone is pleased with the passage of this ordinance.

Anna Arias, who with Natalia Gomez and Dr. Agapito Lopez formed the Hazleton Area Latino Taskforce to fight passage of the ordinance, called it discriminatory, bigoted and racist.

I find it amusing when individuals or groups pull the race card when situations like these arise. Hazleton is simply enforcing the law, with no perceivable or, I believe, inherent racism. It is people like Anna Arias and Natalia Gomez and Dr. Agapito Lopez who are the racists for making such a claim. They are pouring a spotlight on their own intrinsic racist tendencies by even making such an absurd claim in the first place.

Lopez said the Civil Rights Act requires all agencies that receive federal money to provide information to all of the constituents. One-third of the constituents that you are representing is Latino. And some of them do not know English and will never learn English.

I completely understand the concept of pride in country, in community, and who one is and where one comes from. But why will they never learn English? This is why–they are here illegally. If they had actually gone through the legal process of becoming a citizen of this country, they would have been required to learn a respectable amount of English in order to gain that citizenship. Stating that they will never learn English is a positive indication that those individuals are in this country illegally.

As Ive stated before, I believe it will be incumbent upon each state to deal with their own illegal immigration problems. The federal government is not going to help. Hazleton, PA has taken another strong step in the right direction.


Immigration act passes

Hazleton mayors controversial law OKd amid tension

By STEVE MOCARSKY smocarsky@leader.net


This is not about racism. Its about the law.

HAZLETON City council on Thursday adopted legislation that, if it passes expected judicial scrutiny, could have major implications for illegal immigrants nationwide.

By a 4-1 vote, council passed Mayor Louis Barlettas controversial Illegal Immigration Relief Act.

As council President Joe Yannuzzi announced the passage, most of the audience in council chambers broke into applause, and Barletta shook hands with city Solicitor Chris Slusser, who wrote most of the language.

Yannuzzi, Evelyn Graham, Tom Gabos and Jack Mundie voted in favor. Robert Nilles voted against.

Shortly after the meeting began, Barletta explained his reasons for proposing the ordinance, which will punish employers and landlords who employ or rent to illegal immigrants, and makes English the official language of the city. He said illegal immigrants are draining city resources to the detriment of residents with legal residency status.

We must draw the line, and we are drawing it tonight.

Barletta denied accusations of racism and said that suggesting he put the ordinance before council for political reasons is insulting to the families of local victims of violent crime committed by illegal immigrants.

During public comment, council heard several people speak for and against the ordinance.

Anna Arias, who with Natalia Gomez and Dr. Agapito Lopez formed the Hazleton Area Latino Taskforce to fight passage of the ordinance, called it discriminatory, bigoted and racist.

Lopez said the Civil Rights Act requires all agencies that receive federal money to provide information to all of the constituents. One-third of the constituents that you are representing is Latino. And some of them do not know English and will never learn English. So you have to provide city documents in Spanish for them because they are paying your taxes and they are attending to their businesses here, fixing up their homes.

Amilcar Arroyo, president and publisher of the local Hispanic newspaper El Mensajero, urged council to consider that the number of Latino businesses in the city increased from four in 2000 to almost 70 this year, and that approximately 2,200 Latino families here earn about $8 million in salary every month and spend most of the money in the city.

Hazleton resident Gene Cannon paraphrased Thomas Jefferson, saying the United States has an obligation to provide asylum to immigrants, but the first consideration in immigration is the welfare of the receiving nation, state or city.

This is not about racism. Its about the law and the welfare of our community. I for one am thankful that Mayor Barletta has had the courage to advance this ordinance and I call on council to pass it without delay.

Bill Hines, mayor of Beaver Meadows, said he and his borough council support the ordinance. He hopes legislators in Harrisburg and Washington notice that Hazleton is stepping up to the plate.

John Homa, vice president of locally based Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, said his organization has qualms about parts of the ordinance for various reasons, and cautioned council to spend more time considering its adoption.

Abe Amoros, a former councilman from York, said he disagrees with the section of the ordinance that claims illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, contributes to crowded schools and subjects hospitals to hardships.

The anti-immigrant sentiment is particularly disturbing. Singling out those individuals whose primary language is not English today is just as wrong as those signs that appeared in the 30s and 40s that said No Irish need apply, No Italians need apply,.. Amoros said.

Ed Makuta of McAdoo said he grew up in Hazleton and is saddened that he has to tell his daughter that he cant take her to the playgrounds where he spent his childhood because crimes are being committed there by illegal immigrants.

Councilman Nilles said he voted against the ordinance because he received legal opinions that say were on dangerous ground.

Nilles said there are federal programs that mandate housing for mixed families, some of whose members have legal residency status and some of whom do not.

He said the parts of the ordinance that would, in effect, deny housing to illegal immigrants conflict with federal regulations and policies and might be subject to legal challenge on pre-emptive grounds.

Nilles added that states and localities are pre-empted by federal law from making their own independent assessment as to whether an alien has committed an immigration violation, and (from) imposing penalties against such aliens along with persons who have provided them with assistance.

These are some of the legal questions that will need to be addressed, and hopefully not addressed in a court of law, where its going to cost us and you, the taxpayers, money. We need to address this before we get to that. We need to find out why we are in this position to begin with.

City officials can expect legal challenges to the ordinance, despite Solicitor Slussers assurances that it will pass judicial muster. Eleven attorneys sent the mayor a letter earlier this week promising legal action if the ordinance was passed.

After the meeting, Lopez said the attorneys have been in town collecting plaintiffs among the (Latino) people here, and they are ready to present their case, probably in as short as one week.

Currently listening:
38 Counts of Battery
By Pig Destroyer
Release date: By 01 January, 2001

Read Full Post »