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Immigration Thu Jun 16 2011

Exodus: Immigration, Law and Activism

by Brian Reilly

"Look how numerous and powerful the Israelite people are growing, more so than we ourselves! Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase..." Exodus 1:9-10

Rosanna Pulido is stabbing at me with her finger. After talking about illegal immigration for almost an hour now, she is both more comfortable and more agitated. Pulido says everything with some kind of emphasis.

What is it about illegal immigration that makes someone, a latina no less, an activist? Pulido answers by singing, not just quoting, America, the Beautiful. "You know the song, America? America, America God shed His grace on thee...o.k., there is a line in that liberty in law. That's how you and I have so much freedom and liberty and prosperity."

Freedom, liberty, and prosperity are pretty much universal aspirations. They have moved people to action since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt up until the protests in Tahrir Square. America has, throughout its history, been a place where people have fled in order to live their aspirations. That history is filled with the brutal struggle over who belongs and who decides.

"You put laws down and if you don't obey them, you know what? You're going to pay for it," Pulido says. But who decides crime and punishment?

American immigration law has always been tied closely to race and ethnicity. The nation's first immigration law, the Naturalization Act of 1790, was passed only a year after the constitution and allowed for the immigration and naturalization of "free white persons" of "good moral character."

Prior to the Civil War, the Know-Nothing party gained seats in Congress by seeking to restrict the rising immigration of Irish Catholics. The Immigration Act of 1882 restricted all Chinese immigration to the United States for a period of ten years and would be renewed in 1892 and 1902. In 1921, Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act which severely limited immigration from southern and eastern Europe.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 replaced the national quota system with hemispheric caps: 170,000 persons for the Eastern Hemisphere, and 120,000 for the Western, with a limit of 20,000 annually from any nation.

The system prioritizes family reunification, needed skills and refugee status when granting individual visas. The result has been the current shift to greater numbers of immigrants coming from latin America and Asia.

So, the law is what we say it is. Meanwhile, current immigration limits fail to meet those aspirational demands of people from many nations, including Mexico. It is the Mexican experience which Pulido best relates.

Pulido was born in Chicago 54 years ago. She is combative when questioned about her own heritage. Pulido takes issue with, without denying, a Wikipedia biography claiming her father was an anchor baby, son of a Mexican migrant worker, who was born in Texas and raised in Mexico before moving to Chicago.

Was her grandfather a legal immigrant to the United States? "No he wasn't, end of story," Pulido says while hanging up.

Rosanna Pulido would go to Mexico for a year to work as a missionary. "I went down there," Pulido recalls. "I lived next to a garbage dump and worked with people and it was one of the best experiences of my life...because when you learn to live with nothing, that's really livin'."

The missionary experience would be followed in 2005 by a visit to the Arizona-Mexico border with the Minuteman Project. "When I first heard about the Minuteman Project on the border I thought it was crazy." Pulido recalls. "Who is going to take their vacation, go down there and sit on the border with binoculars; who'd do that? But when the time came around I said, 'I'm going because I thought it was going to be a historic event."

Inspired by her fellow Minutemen's stories of lost jobs, Pulido founded the Illinois Minuteman Project. She would later become a regional field coordinator for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and a spokesperson for a FAIR associated group called You Don't Speak for Me! which organized Hispanic-Americans against illegal immigration.

Pulido's early efforts in politics would start off well. In 2007, advocates were able to defeat a bill in the Illinois State Senate that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver's certificates.

In 2009 Pulido won the Republican nomination for the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel in the Fifth Congressional District. But the win would be a high water mark for Pulido.

Already facing overwhelming odds against Democrat Mike Quigley, Pulido's campaign received a death blow when she was exposed as the person behind racist, homophobic, and vulgar comments posted under the internet screen name "Chicagolady" on the right-wing message board Free Republic.

"According to the African Americans in L.A. The Mexicans are the NEW KU KLUX KLAN with the TAN!! Sounds right to me!!, " Pulido writes in one post. In another post, mocking a picture of muslim men kneeling on rug in prayer, Pulido opines, "It reminds me of my dog, smelling buts,." (sic).

Pulido would continue to speak before Tea Party and other conservative groups after her defeat and would run again for the congressional seat in 2010. But by the time of the Republican primary, Pulido was out on the fringe, losing that nomination to attorney David Ratowitz.

No longer a candidate, Pulido increasingly confronted Republicans whom she opposed on immigration such as Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady.

"Bill Brady? I got up and publicly slapped him around and it made the Huffington Post," Pulido brags. "I was giving people his record on illegal immigration."

"The Minutemen, we got him at the Lincoln Restaurant, he was practically crying. We were relentless. We were beating the shit out of him, saying what about this, what about this? He was nuts. He couldn't wait 'til he left there. I could care less. He needed that to happen to him.

"Most of us are hard core."

Today, Pulido no longer considers herself a Republican but works with a few conservative legislators who are interested in supporting the Minuteman agenda. "Yeah, laws on the books enforced...No matter what the ethnicity. That's it, that's all; we just want laws enforced."

Ten bills were introduced into the Illinois General Assembly during the current session that would speed deportations, deny services without documentation, or require stricter identification for aliens. All ten bills were killed in committee.

State Representatives Randy Ramey (R-West Chicago) and Bill Mitchell (R- Decatur) each sponsored two bills apiece. Ramey's bill, HB 1969 is a copy-cat of the controversial Arizona immigration law SB 1070 that would, in part, require law enforcement officials to establish the immigration status of persons, "where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien unlawfully present in the U.S."

FAIR estimates that illegal immigration costs Illinois taxpayers approximately $4.6 billion per year for expenses related to education, health care, public assistance, incarceration, justice administration, and general government expenditures. By contrast, the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), estimates that illegal immigrants in Illinois pay $499 million per year in income, property and sales taxes.

The underground nature of illegal immigration itself makes any cost/benefit of illegal immigrants hard to verify. The strategy is to deport and defund illegal immigrants out of the state, and hopefully, the country.

"It's very, very, very simple because it's happened over and over and over again; we know the proof is in the pudding. When Oklahoma passed their law what happened," Pullido asks rhetorically. "They were the first state that had the guts to say if you're not a citizen, you're not getting services...Guess what happened, guess what happened in Oklahoma. There was a mass exodus. To what, probably to Illinois because we hand out everything.

"O.K, so that was the first. Then other places did little things. Lou Barletta, the mayor in Pennsylvania. I can't remember the town...passing something."

Republican congressman and former Hazelton, Pennsylvania Mayor Barletta passed a series of ordinances designed to crack down on illegal immigration that were later struck down by a federal judge. Barletta was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010.

"What happened? A mass exodus," Pulido checks off on her mental list.

"Arizona, SB1070, what happened? A mass exodus. Guess what.

"Oklahoma...they saw their revenues...they were in the hole...they recovered at such a rate that they understood that what they did worked. I know personally the woman and the group who helped with the legislators to get that passed; that was a grassroots movement.

"So, we know it works. You get it passed: they leave. Because, you know what, they may be illegal, they don't want trouble; they don't want to be arrested; they leave."

The latina Minuteman in a twisted version of Exodus, both Moses and Pharoh. Make my people go. "We honestly believe that illegal immigration is destroying America. So you know what, there is no compromise. There isn't."

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Dennis Fritz / June 16, 2011 1:41 PM

Actually, US-born Latinos and established Latino immigrants are hostile to newly arrived Latino immigrants more often than you might think. The real issue isn't immigration status; the real issue is jobs. US-born latinos and established Latino immigrants are often competing with newly arrived immigrants in the same job markets and fear being undersold.

A Legal American / June 16, 2011 3:03 PM

Nice to see someone in Illinois actually TRYING to do someting about the half million illegals we got running around. Too bad that we have many pandering, illegal lovin politicians here like Quinn, Emmanual and that weasel Luis "I Represent the Illegals" Gutierrez. We are still a sanctuary state (as is Chicago).They just passed a goofy DREAM Act and TRIED to get out Secure Communities, even tho they were told there is no opt-out and they have to participate. IL has no intention of enforcing our immigration laws unless they are forced to by the Feds. I hope the people of IL will recognize how the illegals have ruined so many nice towns and neighborhoods and stop re-electing the same bozo's who only care about protecting illegals instead of LEGAL citizens.

Dennis Fritz / June 16, 2011 3:40 PM

So long as the US-Mexico border remains open enough to allow legal trade--vital to the economies of both countries--it will remain open enough to allow illegal crossings and smuggling. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have a free northward flow of eggplants and avocados without also having a free northward flow of undocumented workers and marijuana. People like A Legal American can rant and rave against "illegals" all they want. The kind of border control they want will never happen. It wil not happen because it cannot happen.

Brittanicus / June 16, 2011 5:49 PM


Republican lawmakers Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has filed bills in Congress, after promising they would push for a national--MANDATORY--E-Verify, also called the "Legal Workforce Act." It would require all US businesses to verify workers' legal status through the Social Security database linked to the US Immigration and Citizenship Services. It would restrain unlawful immigration and bring jobs back to citizens and legal residents. It seems that the special interests are fearful of the imminent consequences of this law, because it would curb the open border mentality of the majority of Liberals, Democrats and a few Republicans. The bill is obviously being criticized by Hispanic and ethnic advocates, who are saying that the database was costly to run and generated errors, hence exasperating prejudice against legal workers whose personal data is comparable to illegal aliens using false ID.

Hispanics of legal status need not worry as E-Verify serves them as well as every America of any race? It takes just a few minutes to use and easily verify 99.5% percent of work-eligible employees. Others with ID irregularities receive a referral letter to resolve the problem at the SSA office. There is no other legislation that can be enacted that will generate more jobs for American labor. In actual fact there is no expenditures to the business world and as for irregularities, there is no high level of problems, as new innovations are being added to cross-reference who has a right to a job? Seeing so much business lobbyists as support for E-Verify is a positive signal at a hearing of the House immigration subcommittee. Companies have implored the Washington leadership to force their competitors to stop employing foreign labor, moreover having taxpayers subsidize their upkeep. Incidentally--when does a foreign nation have a right to interrupt laws, to protect the majority of the US population from illegal foreign invaders? Next thing we know the Liberal Progressives and Obama's Czars will be pushing our court system to recognize "Sheria" Muslim law; God help Us.

The bill would also make the E-Verify program permanent and in addition re-establish the no-match letter program. It assists in identifying the 8 million illegal immigrants that are presently hired in non-farming employment. E-Verify within two years of enactment would enforce Zero-Tolerance laws on this bad business practice. Large company owners, federal, state, and municipal agencies and federal and state contractors would need to abide by these rules within six months. Here is a very good chance now for the passage of this law, that business owners, who try to bamboozle the immigration system, will be held accountable with harsh sanctions. In many ways this is monumental because Republicans normally will demean any new laws that cut off their access to the illegal alien workforce. But with 9 percent of Americans not employed, perhaps millions more working temporary or part-time larger numbers far exceed the government statistics they better show some humble pie.

Notably the Liberals and Democrats are still insisting that E-Verify doesn't work, or preaching that it will cause racial profiling. For decades now we have accepted there "political Correct" ideology, which we have all had to stomach? Ask the families of the 9/11 mayhem, that if the police had a right to question those Middle East murderers, the near 3000 death toll may never have happened at the World Trade center. If law enforcement were debilitated in asking questions, the terrible catastrophe may have been avoided? To compliment E-Verify we should demand “The Secure Communities" mandated as well. These enforcement programs installed will begin the reduction of illegal aliens in this country and the millions of others thinking about the illegal trek from whether they come from? Americans can assist Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas and Sen. Chuck Grassley, demanding from both Federal and State senators to Mandate both E-Verify and Secure Communities at Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121.


According to NumbersUSA The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2164) would: Phase in E-Verify over three years, starting with the largest companies first.

* Require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to target illegal aliens using fake social security numbers by sending out “no match” letters to employers if the name and social security number of a current employee do not match. Requires the employer to check those employees through E-Verify after receiving a “no match” letter.
* Require SSA to send a yearly notification to each owner of a social security number that has multiple employers reporting income to that number indicating that the number may have been stolen and is being used by illegal aliens. Requires employers to run through E-Verify those employees who are likely to have stolen the number from the legitimate owner.
* Establish a phone verification system as an alternative to using the electronic system.
* Require the use of E-Verify for those contracted at day labor sites and other referral or recruitment services.
* Protect employers who use the system in good faith from liability if the system makes an error on eligibility.
* Protect states’ and localities’ authority to revoke business licenses of employers who fail to use E-Verify as required by this Act.
* Significantly increases the penalties for employers who refuse to use the system, or who intentionally try to game it. The fines levied can be up to $25,000 per unauthorized worker and a minimum one-year prison sentence may be imposed on an employer who engages in a “pattern or practice” of violations.
* Require SSA to lock the use of social security numbers when it is being used by someone other than the rightful owner, when the owner has violated immigration laws and been ordered to leave the country, or when the owner’s temporary visa has expired.

Once Secure Communities becomes the policing companion of E-Verify immigration laws, then we can further slow the massive costs associated with the annual flow 300.000 instant babies, who parents intentionally enter America taking advantage of the welfare system. As in conclusion, we must lock the border down and stop the unfettered rush of legal immigration. We must track persons who enter America by other means, to make sure they depart when the visa expires. All immigration must be cut and only the most highly skilled available outside this country, should be given a visa; not the semi-skilled? Those under the Washington Rotunda should further commit themselves, to authoring new laws. Such a uniform “quota system” that only allows a reasonable amount of new immigrants from countries around the world, or a points system as in Europe that only allows persons of the highest qualifications and personal background through the open door.

We cannot meet the expense in pandering to the endless flow of poverty into this nation anymore, as to repeat that we have countless amounts of homeless, disabled and penniless veterans, the sick and the mentally ill. They need our dollars first and not foreign nationals. TEA PARTY Chairperson Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has joined the Presidential race and is adamantly opposed to any Immigration reform package. The 1986 Immigration amnesty was a dead loss, as it was never enforced and was rife with fraud, costing eventually $76 Billion dollars. The Liberal progressives or the dark side of the Democratic Party are silent about the final expenditure, to enact an amnesty today. The heritage Foundation has accessed it at $2.5 Trillion dollars, that it’s incomprehensible when America is riding on a dead horse-deficit of $14.5 Trillion dollars and racing towards a cliff. Connect with the Tea Party today and add your name to the tens of millions of legal people, from every race and political party, disheartened with the path Washington has followed.

No Copyright. Distribute Freely.

Dennis Fritz / June 17, 2011 11:46 AM

Christ, nothing is more annoying than people who cut and paste huge blocks of someone else's words. Please, use your own words, think your own thoughts. Don't just parrot what you've read.

Mike / June 22, 2011 5:15 PM

Decent article. I would argue that the Latina minuteman is not indeed all that twisted. It's rather commmon in the Latino community for the more well-to-do Latinos, regardless of their own immigration story, to shun working class Latinos. Status and class mostly overrides bonds of ethnicity and heritage.

NotARealAmerican? / July 6, 2011 4:07 PM

Who cares what the anchorgrandbaby has to say. There's a reason you lost. STFU and go back to the hole you crawled out of. Pendeja.

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