Monday, April 03, 2006

A town looking beyond the immigration debate

While the children of privilege sit in their Washington chambers discussing varied plans to address the "problem" of "illegal" immigration, Maywood, California, a Los Angeles suburb with a population that is 97 percent Latino, is singing its own tune:
In the midst of an intense national debate about immigration the city council has officially declared Maywood a safe haven for illegal immigrants.

At a weekly immigrants' support group meeting there is a sense of purpose in the air.

It is chaired by the driving force behind the controversial decision, Maywood's deputy mayor Felipe Aguirre.

"We don't think that people are breaking the law if they simply don't have documents, so we decided to turn this place into a sanctuary city," he said.


When he is not preaching to his flock, Pastor David Velasquez is speaking in revolutionary tones.

"The people felt that they were being persecuted, but now they have the power over the police. They can't tell us what to do."


Felipe Aguirre says he has had threatening phone messages and other council members have received physical threats. But he remains defiant.

"We don't consider these immigration laws to be just. It's not right that if I'm talking to someone who doesn't have the correct papers, I could be considered a felon. No, we answer to a higher law."

And other communities are beginning to follow Maywood's lead.

[Latino suburb welcomes illegals, BBC, 1 April 2006]

One can only wonder when the higher law will be struck by the cruel baton of those seeking to "secure the border."


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