immigrants in the cross hairs again

Brent Finnegan -- November 1st, 2006

A follow-up on Gxeremio’s post a few weeks ago on the issue of illegal immigration: I spotted two stories (so far) this week putting local immigrants in the hot seat again.

Yesterday the DNR ran this story about how “illegal aliens” are bringing Tuberculosis to Virginia. The story also states that probably at least half of the immigrants in H’burg/Rockingham are here illegally… Funny how you can usually tell where someone stands on the immigration issue by whether they say “undocumented workers” or “illegal aliens.”

Also, WHSV ran this short story about how the local government in Herndon is cracking down on undocumented immigrants there. There’s a more substantial account in The Washington Post. It states that the folks at Reston Interfaith (who run/ran the Herndon Official Worker’s Center) haven’t been checking documentation, and that the town is ousting them from management of the Center.

I suppose this story is WHSV’s answer to Gxeremio’s question “Can local government do anything about undocumented immigrants?” Is this a wink and a nudge to our city council?

So yeah, I guess local government can crack down on these organizations. But should they? So many of the local immigrant organizations are run by churches, or at least supported or affiliated in some way with charitable religious organizations (VCC, New Bridges, etc). What baffles me is that often it’s the WWJD Christians who want crackdowns and deportations. Who Would Jesus Deport? Who indeed?

This week I met one of these so-called “illegals.” He told me about a recent conversation he had with a black man. The black man told him that “illegal Latinos” do the sorts of jobs that his great-great grandfather did as a slave–jobs he wouldn’t even consider doing… Jobs I probably wouldn’t consider doing, either.

So what I’d like to know is — exactly whose jobs are they stealing?

-finnegan

6 Responses to “immigrants in the cross hairs again”

  1. Gxeremio says:

    You probably saw the news about a town in PA trying to crack down on “illegal immigrants.” These efforts have been temporarily blocked by a judge but already many Latinos (including citizens, documented, and undocumented immigrants) have left the town.
    Regarding the spiritual side of things, the Bible tells us to take care of “aliens and strangers” among us, and the theme of Israel’s time of “illegal immigration” is constantly referred to in Scripture. Strangely, this connection is rarely made in the debate about undocumented immigration. Maybe we need a state amendment to prevent activist town councils and state legislatures from changing the definition of hospitality and forcing their anti-biblical ways on the rest of us. I mean, that’s what the state Constitution is supposed to be for, right?
    I’ll be working on a related story to this topic about the effect of ESL students (usually the children of immigrants) on local SOL scores, so stay tuned.

  2. finnegan says:

    Nice amendment jab.

    Look forward to reading your post.

  3. linz says:

    It amazes me how many people are unaware of the limitations placed on businesses when it comes to identifying undocumented candidates during the hiring process. The hiring official is not allowed to ask for documents by name (only that the candidate satisfy “what is required on the I-9“) because it would be considered discrimination. Also, unless the documents provided are blatantly false, the hiring official must accept them.

    And yet some politicians at all levels of government claim platforms of cracking down on businesses and organizations who hire “illegal aliens;” as if the businesses are the real bad guys. The businesses are then trapped in the middle. Hiring officials’ hands are tied and yet they are also held accountable.

    It seems to me the real solution is amending the laws surrounding the hiring process. But then how could certain groups in power maintain the capital generated from undocumented workers in our country while still having the convenient scapegoat of blaming those who hire them?

  4. finnegan says:

    Your last statement is the crux of the issue, Linz. Corporations know that undocumented workers are A) cheap labor and B) won’t stand up for workers’ rights or better wages for fear of being discovered as “illegal.” And as we all know, corporations hold sway over the politicians.

  5. Daytonres says:

    Folks should be very careful about the TB story. Some read a headline and are declaring that illegal immigrants are causing Harrisonburg’s TB rate to increase. If you look at the accompanying chart (and bother to read the whole story), the TB rate in the “friendly city” has DECREASED dramatically in the last couple years. From memory, I think it was in 2003 that the rate was above 12 per 100K, now it’s under five per 100K. Maybe we’re just getting a healthier or better quality illegal moving into the area?

  6. finnegan says:

    I did say “to Virginia,” not Harrisonburg, which is what the article says.

    Tipple said increases in TB cases were prevalent in the Northern Region of the state, where the immigrant population has grown dramatically in recent years.

    I know the article says TB rates have decreased in the city, but I believe the way it’s presented would lead people to think “well, that’s just another reason immigrants are bad.”

    Harrisonburg’s rate was also higher than the state’s rate of 4.7

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