Thursday, October 06, 2005

strangers in our midst

very important article for us Jesus followers in today's Times.
most of us still want our gardens landscaped and our plates washed...we just don't want to see who is doing these things (especially if they are moving into our neighborhoods and living rough on our streets). you can read the full article here but i have selected some quotes that i thought were interesting.

from the New York Times (free with registration)
As Illegal Workers Hit Suburbs, Politicians Scramble to Respond
By PAUL VITELLO Published: October 6, 2005

- "Immigration has become a local issue because, at least from their perspective, local governments feel there is no federal policy in place," said Audrey Singer, immigration fellow at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution. "Local officials don't want to be responsible, but they have to respond to local concerns."
The scramble for solutions reflects a major shift in immigration patterns during the last decade, she said. Since 2000, the number of immigrants living in suburbs, legally or illegally, has surpassed the number in cities, 52 percent to 48 percent.

- The illegal newcomers have attracted notice in the high-cost suburbs primarily by overcrowding single-family houses, which neighbors then complain become eyesores, and by assembling for day laborers' jobs in parking lots and on street corners.
The local response has been somewhat like the suburbs themselves: decentralized; somewhat haphazard; self-contained; aimed at enforcing a set of "quality of life" standards that are defined differently from place to place. In Silver Spring, Md., local officials support a hiring hall for immigrant workers. In neighboring Langley Park, also home to many immigrants, they do not

- The reasons for the perceived paralysis of national immigration policy are many, experts say: post-9/11 antiterror politics; deep conflicts within the ranks of both the Republican and Democratic Parties; and, not least, ambivalence among the general public, which opposes illegal immigration in principle but generally benefits from the low-cost services of those illegal workers - who mow lawns, clear tables, pack meat and dig holes for swimming pools.

- Local and state politics seems to be filling the gap. During a nasty Republican primary last month in the Suffolk County town of Brookhaven, which includes Farmingville, the two candidates for town supervisor vied to be known as the more hard-line anti-illegal-immigrant candidate.
One accepted the endorsement of a local organization that has labeled illegal immigrants terrorists. The other mailed a campaign flier that claimed "illegal immigrants are taking over our community" and "eroding our quality of life."
The slightly less strident candidate, Edward Hennessey, won that race, but the campaign raised the fear that immigrants will become scapegoats. "It's scary how readily some will attack immigrants, demonizing them, just to get votes," said Nadia Marin-Molina, director of the Workplace Project, a Long Island-based immigrant-advocate group.

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