Leonardo Salazar, left, and Eaulojea Martinez, center, join a "A Day Without an Immigrant" rally in Philadelphia. (Photo Credit: By Bradley C. Bower -- Bloomberg News)
Excerpts from the Washington Post -
Immigration Debate Heats Up
Undocumented Workers Rally as Tough Measures Are Considered
By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff WriterWednesday, March 22, 2006; Page A03
PHILADELPHIA -- The phones started jumping off their hooks early on that "Scary Tuesday," so named because callers were spreading panic in this city's Spanish-speaking community. They said federal agents were hauling illegal immigrants from their jobs and deporting them.
Osmin Amilca of Guatemala ran home and locked the door. Daniel Tetl of Mexico shut off the lights at work and cleaned in the dark. "It was the craziest day of my life," said activist Peter Bloom, who fielded dozens of calls, including one from a man who said that agents were right outside his front door. "People were literally hallucinating."
Activists say the debate in Washington over the toughest proposals against illegal immigration in recent times was the reason behind the panic. The fear and paranoia were so strong on that Tuesday, Jan. 31, that the Italian Market at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue virtually shut down because illegal immigrants refused to come to work at meatpacking plants, vegetable stands, fish markets and restaurants.
Pro-immigrant activists are planning an April 10 protest in 10 cities that could pull tens of thousands of immigrant workers from their jobs.
Such a day was carried out with mixed results on Feb. 14 in Philadelphia, when about 5,000 immigrants rallied on Independence Mall, according to the activists who organized it. But downtown civic groups said the economic impact was so small that they barely felt it.
Opponents of illegal immigration were unsympathetic. Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, said Diaz and others are not "representing the immigrant community" but rather "representing the illegal immigrant community."
"I'm sorry that they're fearful that we're going to enforce the law," Simcox said. "Maybe that's a sign that they should return home and reenter this country by our rules. Then they would have nothing to worry about. They could hold their heads high."
On Martes de Miedo -- Tuesday of Fear -- men carried half their family savings with them in case they were picked up, Diaz said. Mothers did not go to work for fear their children would return from school and discover that their parents had been deported.
"It was really, really bad," said Raul Castro, who closed his Mexican restaurant for lack of business that day.
On the following Thursday, Romero said, he sold 12 airline tickets to people who have since returned to Mexico, an assertion that could not be confirmed. "I've never sold that many tickets," he said. "They said they would have to go back anyway."
Please quit whining if you are here illegally. Gaining respect is a two way street.
Is it to much to ask that our laws are to be respected and enforced? Please show up at these rallies and work boycotts, maybe then our laws will be enforced.
Freedom is not free, but it can be relatively easy to obtain. Petition the world to change the country you are born into (the UN?) or move to the United States legally … please have a working knowledge of English; it will help ease the transition.