Saturday, January 13, 2007

Monitoring Immigration Status

Centers for day laborers see significant numbers of immigrants every day as these laborers congregate there. According to this item in the January 13, 2007 Washington Post, Herndon, Virginia — which runs a taxpayer-funded center — is seeking a firm not only to manage the center but also to check the status of workers:
The Herndon Town Council has voted to solicit proposals from employment firms interested in operating the town's center for day laborers.

The council, which has promised to crack down on illegal immigration, is looking for a firm that will require workers to present documentation proving that they are in the country legally. Project Hope & Harmony, which operates the Herndon Official Workers Center with Reston Interfaith, does not require extensive documentation....
See additional information about Project Hope and Harmony here and here.

According to Mukit Hossain, founder of Project Hope and Harmony in his May 14, 2006 letter to the Washington Post, humanitarian concerns trump checking on immigration status:

...We felt it was a moral imperative to help those who badly needed help and to solve a community problem with the help of members of that community. Sadly, opponents of the site say that it serves illegal immigrants...The site has done its intended job....But apparently it doesn't matter how well the site works...

Some say the laborers would be better served by returning home and perhaps trying to come back as legal immigrants. Some say they don't want the "illegals" to be put on a path to legalization. But the more I hear these opinions, the more I see them for what they really are: bigotry.
How is the enforcement of the rule of law "bigotry"? Or is the use of the term "bigotry" merely the best way to shut up oppposition in our politically correct society?

A section of today's item in the Washington Post echoes Hossain's views, but without hurling the accusation of bigotry:
Opponents of the plan warned that it could drive immigrant laborers back to the town's streets to look for work. The center opened in 2005 in response to complaints about workers congregating in a 7-Eleven parking lot near downtown.
Laborers might also decide to return to their own countries instead of hitting the street, particularly if local law-enforcement is involved in checking immigration status.

Only one member of the Herndon Town Council voted against the proposal for management of the center to check immigration status. Meanwhile, Herndon has applied for training for the local police to begin enforcing immigration laws.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 1/13/2007 01:20:00 PM