Friday, October 19, 2007

Enter the bottom feeders

From Irving Texas to Prince William County Virginia, municipal governments are currently engaging in legislative efforts to drive immigrant populations out of their communities. Many make no bones about their intentions to "do the job the federal government won't" and make their towns and cities as inhospitable for immigrants as possible. Whether enacting legislation to limit housing in immigrant communities, or extending powers to local law enforcement previously restricted to the federal government, local governments around the country, see the expulsion of the immigrant population as a quick way to capitalize on the growing fear and xenophobia fueling much of the current immigration debate.

Despite overwhelming evidence that such plans eventually created greater burdens on taxpayers and do irreparable harm to the local business climate, local leaders have continued to push for harsher and harsher policies. All this in the hope that they can drive what they viewed as an undesirable population to more distant communities…not unlike the "sundown town" policies used in previous generations to keep an unwanted Black population from taking up residence in certain areas.

And with this climate of government-sponsored intimidation and fear comes the inevitable arrival of society's bottom feeders, those all too willing to exploit an already exploited population for personal gain.

Latino residents of Arlington (TX) apartment complexes say they received letters threatening a visit from federal immigration agents if they didn't send $95 cash to a post office box.

"People have fear, and more than anything because of what is happening in Irving," said Ruby Valenzuela, assistant manager of the Las Lomas apartments, where at least four residents said they found the notices from the nonexistent "Immigration Citizenship Enforcement" agency taped to their doors.


The letters, written in English on official-looking letterhead, ask that the recipients send the money to a post office box in Dallas to help start the citizenship process.

"If the amount is not received in 14 days, you can get a visit from an ICE agent," the letter warns.

"When I saw it posted on the door and read it for the first time, I felt very scared," said one homemaker who spoke on the condition that her name not be used. "One cannot do anything with something like this."

Giovani Estrada, a tenant and employee of the Park Row apartments, said he also received a letter, and about 10 residents at the complex had asked him to translate the letters they received. Mr. Estrada, a permanent legal U.S. resident, said the letter looked real. "People were terrified," he said.


Like the nooses hung from trees and locker rooms, and all the other current racists trappings of a time we had hope had long passed in our nation, the arrival of the bottom feeders to these communities, now controlled by modern-day White Citizens Councils, only reminds us of just how far from the ideals of equality we truly are.

While these modern citizen councils try to wrap their hateful policies in the rhetoric of patriotism and the "rule of law", they are no different than their hooded forefathers, intimidating and bullying those they wish to eliminate. They leave their victims vulnerable not only to state condoned coercion, but the exploitation and abuse of those who will always prey upon the weak and defenseless.


yave said...

That scam is disgusting. It's also far less common than the practice of charging immigrants obscene amounts for no measurable benefit perpetrated by notarios, agencies, and, too often, unscrupulous attorneys. This happens every day in communities across the country. Somebody's cousin says they got their green card through so-and-so's agency, and people are desperate, so they pay thousands of dollars for bogus "legal assistance" which may land them in removal proceedings with charges of misrepresentation, a deportable offense. The scam artists know there will be no repercussions for their actions, since vanishingly few immigrants are willing to pursue legal claims, and going after these operations is not high on the list of priorities of law enforcement. It doesn't help that the scam artists can always pick up the phone and call ICE if they ever feel threatened. Simply threatening to call ICE is usually enough to silence any complaints.
There's a special place in hell reserved for those who take advantage of desperate people in this way.

Anonymous said...

The Dream Act is set to come up for a vote according to Congressional Quarterly and CSPAN. Please call your Senators and voice your support for the Dream Act!!!

CQ article:

Larry said...

I've seen that photo before. It's from around the time of WWII, isn't it?

Duke1676 said...

don't know the exact era ...but it is an historical image from a sundown town ...most likely around that period.