Hispanic immigrants: Virginians will tolerate you, as long as you, you know, stay inside

The Fairfax County police thought it would be a good idea to hold an open Spanish-language demonstration on how to install and use a child car safety seat. The idea was to try to build up some goodwill between the cops and a rapidly growing segment of the population.

So why did nobody show up?

It seems that immigrants are afraid of being deported by the cops after the passage of a (say it with me now) new state law. The law allows the arrest, without a warrant, of immigrants with prior felonies who are suspected of committing another crime.

The law's passage has been a daily topic on media outlets within the immigrant enclaves. Sgt. Richard Perez, a Fairfax police spokesman, said he has appeared on Spanish-language television and radio stations to explain the new law. Each time, his office has been flooded with calls as soon as he left the air.

Hispanic residents, he said, "are under the impression that this law was going to be used to start deporting all illegal aliens." Perez added that "people are contemplating hoarding food and staying inside to withstand the initial onslaught of enforcement."
I can't understand why they would be afraid to step outside in the county that's home to Pat Buchanan, who is of course a friend to all immigrants. But there you go.

Part of the problem is that it can be hard to prove one's status, said Frecia Guzman, a Salvadorian immigrant who owns a deli in Fairfax.

She noted that many of her Salvadorian friends are in the United States with a special asylum grant known as Temporary Protected Status. But many don't have the papers to prove it and have been waiting for months to get their documents from the federal government.

Now they are afraid of venturing outside their homes, believing they will get stopped by police and asked to produce documents that prove their immigration status, she said.

"They are scared to go out to the restaurants," Guzman said. "They don't even want to go outside."
Virginia: Give us your tired, your poor, your agoraphobic.

No comments:

Post a Comment