Where were the Republicans?

Leesburg Today
September 26, 2007
By Russell Muños
Vice President, Equality Loudoun

Because the illegal immigration issue in Loudoun County has evolved into drama-based politics, I thought I would, well, try and get some facts on the subject by attending the American Dream Alliance Civic picnic in Algonkian Park Sept. 23.

The mission of the alliance was stated as thus; “The mission of the Alliance is to support New Americans in Virginia by creating a welcoming and positive environment for all people through dialogue and reconciliation that will transform our neighborhoods and communities with a spirit of inclusiveness, offering everyone an equal opportunity to live the American dream.” I thought to myself, well, that sounds very noble, since I myself am a second generation American. And facts about immigration, both legal and illegal, I did get at a table set up at the event which had some very interesting statistics based upon studies done here in Northern Virginia by our centers of higher learning.

This being an election year, there were two facts that were hard for me to ignore. One was the presence of hopeful candidates seeking re-election or challenging an incumbent. Their presence made sense to me as illegal immigration is something that obviously needs addressing, so it was obvious that I would hear their thoughts on the issue.

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7 Responses to Where were the Republicans?

  1. paula says:

    very nicely done. thank you.

  2. David says:

    Charleyp1,

    I don’t know if Russell has had a chance to check back here, but I can try to answer why Equality Loudoun got involved in this (per your question at the L2D site). I’m sure that there are many varied opinions in our group about what should be done about illegal immigration at the local level. I also think we would all agree that using dehumanizing rhetoric to talk about a community, so that community becomes a scapegoat and a means of mobilizing voters, is definitely NOT something that should be done.

    The GLBT community recognizes this particular activity because we have been on the receiving end of it. Last year at this time, we were the scapegoat. Voters were told that we want to destroy the institution of marriage, that we harm children, and that if we are not stopped with a constitutional amendment we will cause the downfall of western civilization. Let’s see, what else? Oh, and that we have “so-called ‘families'” that we only use to get sympathy. This was all done initially for the purpose of turning out conservative voters to insure the reelection of George Allen (which you’ll notice didn’t work out as planned, but that was the rationale).

    Anyway, I’m sure you see the similarities. Notice that I’m NOT saying that there isn’t an illegal immigration problem. Nor do I believe that people who think something needs to be done about it are necessarily racist. Unfortunately, some people are racist; and the situation with our immigrant communities is not a simple one given the high proportion of families that are of mixed status; and stirring up frustrated people, some of whom are racist, just to get them to vote for a particular candidate is not going to solve any of this – any more than passing a useless amendment made heterosexual marriage more stable.

    I totally agree with you on the wish for sincere dialogue, and I hope you’ll continue it.

  3. Russell says:

    Hi charleyp1,

    You may be surprised if I tell you that we might see eye to eye on a few things.

    Anyway, I posted a reply to you on L2D as follows;

    Posted to L2D:
    ” charleyp1, respectively, you may have made my point about drama. All I clearly asked in my letter was why Loudoun County Republican candidates did not come to a non-partisan event of the immigrant community. I myself was also there to understand and get some facts, again, stated clearly in my letter. That I had identified myself as a member of Equality Loudoun is due to the fact that the same type of language that is/was used against the GLBT community of Loudoun County is very similar to the language being used collaterally toward the immigrant community of Loudoun County – nothing more, nothing less. This is what people are hearing – not facts, but drama, and again, if elected officials are misunderstood in the language that they use, then I would think that constituents have the right to hear them be clear about what they mean and say. Equality Loudoun will take a stand against unfair, irresponsible, and disrespectful treatment toward others … this is the greater context in which Equality Loudoun operates. The theory that the only people that should feel unwelcome are the ones that are not here legally is sound from my perspective also, however, putting that theory into practice is quite a different story. If the immigrant community in Loudoun County felt welcome (corrected from original), then they would have no reason to form the American Dream Alliance – I can’t speak for them since I am not a member, but hearing them talk I got that message. I guess as good Americans we would be asking ourselves why would they need to do that and why they feel unwelcome. Their mission statement is probably a little wide, but it seems like a good place for them to start as they grow into their identity. I also am interested to see what impact the group will have, if indeed an unwelcoming environment is developing in Loudoun County towards immigrants – that would be a sad thing. Make no mistake though Charley, my personal views on ILLEGAL immigration are a different story, quite known, and are probably not far off from your own. Good conversation … thanks. I hope I cleared up a few things. ”

    In relation to ILLEGAL immigration, I do not see any difference in a parent putting their family and children at jeopardy and risk by coming to this country illegally, getting caught breaking this law, and being deported than anyone else in this country breaking a law, getting caught, and going to jail as a consequence, leaving their family and children behind in tatters. It is a sad commentary all around – especially when it is dramaticized by shallow politicians. I guess this is one of those things we agree on. The “family destroyer” thing is just pitiful when people say that. I guess our whole justice system is a “family destroyer”.

    I think it is easy for people to confuse illegal immigration and have that be collateral damage to our immigrant communities, and easier for shallow politicians to cause confusion even more by feeding into hysteria. In essence, we are all immigrants, but I think you get the point. Immigrants to me are new Americans – i.e. they were born somewhere else and came here – legally. A clear distinction has to be made so we focus on the correct issue and the right tasks.

  4. Russell says:

    oh BTW charleyp1 … In answering your question in your first post, I do think we should be protected from illegal immigration. How we should do that, I really do not know. All I know is that it should be done without barbarism and guided by our values.

  5. Find Ur Husband says:

    Great article.
    I hope you’ll check out my diary..
    Bye

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