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Mexican Immigrants Face New Set of Fears
New York Times ^ | 10/15/01 | Sam Dillon

Posted on 10/15/2001 1:46:42 PM PDT by uscit

DENVER, Oct. 12 — The whole nation has been anxious this past month, but for millions of Mexican immigrants around the country there have been added fears.

Roundups of illegal immigrants in Colorado and tough enforcement of immigration laws at workplaces in Oregon have led to anguished, and apparently unfounded, concerns that the government is cracking down on Hispanic workers in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But the truly punishing repercussion of those attacks has been a round of sweeping layoffs in the airline and hotel industries and other industries with large Mexican labor forces. One national union estimates that a third of its 265,000 members, most of whom are Hispanic immigrants, have been dismissed since the attacks.

The layoffs have posed harsh choices for Mexican immigrants as they consider whether to live with joblessness in the United States, where food stamps, health benefits and other services are mostly unavailable to them, or return to Mexico, where the outlook is still more foreboding. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Mexico have been eliminated as the American slowdown has sparked a serious recession south of the border, not only in the villages that depend on money sent home by Mexican workers in the United States but also in the maquiladoras, the border assembly plants, where employment is off about 20 percent from last year.

The hardship began in late September for Dario Elizalde and his wife, Olga, when they returned to their home in a trailer park in Avon, Colo., after visiting relatives in Mexico. Olga, who had earned $7 an hour scrubbing toilets in vacation homes, was dismissed by her employer, who said tourists had canceled fall trips to the Rockies. Mr. Elizalde, who had earned $12 an hour framing houses, was also laid off.

"Its like we're in purgatory," Olga said in Spanish. "We don't know if we're staying or leaving."

The government registered a sharp drop in the number of illegal immigrants detained along the Southwest border in the first eight days of October — 10,622 people, less than half the 22,912 detained in the same period last year. The drop may indicate that many workers are not trying to travel north, at least for now, because American agents have been searching border crossers more vigorously since Sept. 11.

But others may be staying home because they have heard about the layoffs of thousands of Mexicans in the United States. Leaders of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union in nine major cities reported last week that between 25 and 40 percent of the union's heavily Latino work force in those cities had been laid off.

"This is devastating," said Maria Elena Durazo, a national vice president of the union, which is setting up several relief centers to collect food for unemployed workers. "Nothing like this has ever happened in the memory of our union's leaders."

Thousands of Mexican workers have been dismissed from airport restaurants and parking lots and from companies that prepare in- flight meals. Others have had full- time jobs cut to part-time.

Ramiro Rivera, a father of two who waits tables in one Houston hotel and washes dishes in another, was working 80 hours a week before Sept. 11. Both hotels have trimmed his hours, to a total of 32 a week. "I'm surviving, but barely," he said.

Other industries with large Hispanic work forces have not seen large layoffs. Meat packing and poultry processing plants concentrated in the Great Plains and the Southeast are operating normally, although construction has slowed.

Still, some workers are returning to Mexico to wait out the storm. At a meeting that brought hundreds of Mexican workers together in a Roman Catholic church near Vail, Colo., last week, an unemployed carpenter said he was leaving for home and asked Leticia Calzada, the Mexican consul general in Denver, whether authorities would levy a tax on his power tools when he returned home. (She said they would not.)

Ms. Calzada said she received scores of anguished calls from workers fearing mass deportations after 29 Mexican dishwashers and janitors working at the Denver airport with false documents were detained on Sept. 19 and sent home.

Mexican workers were involved in at least two other immigration enforcement actions in recent weeks, one small and the other sweeping. But nothing suggests that the terrorist attacks have resulted in harsher treatment of Hispanic immigrants.

The same week as the airport roundup, immigration agents detained and deported more than a dozen Mexican laborers outside a slaughterhouse in Fort Morgan, Colo., northeast of Denver, workers said in interviews. Nina Pruneda- Muñiz, a spokeswoman in Denver for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, confirmed the detentions but said they were part of a long- running criminal investigation.

In a broader action that also raised fears that authorities had begun to enforce immigration laws more harshly, 834 Mexican workers in Portland, Ore., most of them janitors, were dismissed in recent days. But the mass dismissals resulted from an audit of 41 companies by the immigration service, begun in July, which determined that the workers lacked valid work permits, said Karen Kraushaar, a national agency spokeswoman. The agency has not altered its enforcement tactics with regard to Latin American immigrants since Sept. 11, she said.

At last week's meeting near Vail, Ms. Calzada repeated what President Vicente Fox of Mexico had said on a visit just before Sept. 11: that the United States could benefit both nations by granting legal status to three million undocumented Mexicans. But Tom Stone, a local county commissioner, told the largely Mexican audience that Americans now favor tightening, rather than relaxing, immigration laws.

Ms. Calzada has learned how the attacks have emboldened some anti- immigrant groups.

After ski resort owners invited her to address a Sept. 20 gathering in Snowmass, Colo., she received a letter from Mike McGarry, a leader of a group that opposes growth in Mexican immigration, warning that it would be "grossly inappropriate" for a Mexican official to speak in public after "the murderous destruction" caused by "illegal aliens."

"I don't like the idea of Fox telling us to legalize Mexicans who compete unfairly with the native American worker," Mr. McGarry said in an interview.

Yet Ms. Calzada said she had been warmly received everywhere she had appeared recently, a sign of continued good will toward immigrants.

"Americans as a people have noble hearts," she said.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
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Roundups of illegal immigrants in Colorado and tough enforcement of immigration laws at workplaces in Oregon have led to anguished, and apparently unfounded, concerns that the government is cracking down on Hispanic workers in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Americans are being laid off in droves, the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, illegal alien terrorists easily hide in our "wonderfully diverse" communities waiting to murder us, and we're still not enforcing our immigration laws?

We're spending untold billions and risking our people's lives and killing innocent Afghans and engendering ill-will among the world's Muslims by pursuing terrorists overseas, which, to some extent we need to do. However, dollar for dollar, pound for pound, our overall well-being would be much more assured if we focused on securing our borders, expelling illegal aliens, and tightening up on legal requirements for those we let in.

1 posted on 10/15/2001 1:46:42 PM PDT by uscit
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To: uscit
Border Bump!
2 posted on 10/15/2001 1:50:30 PM PDT by poweqi
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To: uscit
and apparently unfounded, concerns that the government is cracking down on Hispanic workers in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

God forbid the government would do it's freaking job.

3 posted on 10/15/2001 1:50:30 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: uscit
Lets see, There are reports now that over 800,000 Americans have lost their jobs since 9/11 and there are still those that have sympathy for CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS.

Deport all these criminals now! I don't care where they came from, get them the hell out of here.

4 posted on 10/15/2001 1:54:24 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: american arnie james
For some reason, I'm not at all glad about this. I wish hungry Mexicans were the only immigrants we had to worry about. I hope that Fox takes a different policy now and builds up their situation in Mexico, makes the reforms needed in Mexico so they can have a future of some kind there.
6 posted on 10/15/2001 2:01:33 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: uscit
It's rough all over, get over it!
7 posted on 10/15/2001 2:08:08 PM PDT by Republic of Texas
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To: uscit
Yeah, I'm feeling real sorry for these poor little immigrants who are getting food stamps, medication, education, housing, etc. at our expense. Seeing my tax $ going to these people instead of building a future for our children is a terrible injustice as well as the fact many of our neighbors who own cash businesses are evading payroll taxes week after week. These meek, disadvantaged immigrants are playing us for fools with the mainstream media idiots providing cover with these hand-wringing articles. For more truth go to www. americanpatrol.org and learn the reality of this parasitical relationship Mexico has with the USA.
8 posted on 10/15/2001 2:12:52 PM PDT by american spirit
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To: uscit
These are illegal aliens and they have no rights here. If they have problems, they and the person who wrote the article should address their concerns to Presidente' Fox.
9 posted on 10/15/2001 2:15:37 PM PDT by dfrussell
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Republic of Texas
an unemployed carpenter said he was leaving for home and asked Leticia Calzada, the Mexican consul general in Denver, whether authorities would levy a tax on his power tools when he returned home.

Oh sure, now he is concerned about paying taxes when he leaves! How many years did he recieve his paycheck "under the table"?

11 posted on 10/15/2001 2:18:29 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: uscit
"but also in the maquiladoras, the border assembly plants, where employment is off about 20 percent from last year." GOOD! Every maquiladora job is a job that used to be held by an American, and still should be.

The hardship began in late September for Dario Elizalde and his wife, Olga, when they returned to their home in a trailer park in Avon, Colo., after visiting relatives in Mexico. Olga, who had earned $7 an hour scrubbing toilets in vacation homes, was dismissed by her employer, who said tourists had canceled fall trips to the Rockies. Mr. Elizalde, who had earned $12 an hour framing houses, was also laid off. Again, those are American wages for those jobs, and that pay should be going to Americans.

"Its like we're in purgatory," Olga said in Spanish. "We don't know if we're staying or leaving." Olga, my dear, any foreigner who relates America to purgatory should never set foot on our good soil again. Get out and stay out. I'm sure you'll be much happier in Mother Mexico.

12 posted on 10/15/2001 2:18:55 PM PDT by holyscroller
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: american spirit
In my hometown, all the local workers at a Certain Well-Known Meat Processing Plant (T----s) were being paid $7.00-10 an hour. Over a period of about 3-5 years, they were slowly replaced by Mexican and other south-of-the-border "immigrants", who are paid minimum wage to $7.00 an hour. The few locals who refused to quit or weren't laid off or fired have been mostly forced to quit by the actions of their "fellow workers", who've made it plain that not only are nonHispanics not welcome at this plant, it is considered a group sport to harrass and assault them. At least one woman claims she was dragged behind a large piece of machinery and gang raped by "immigrants", and another says she was jumped late one night in the parking lot after her shift ended. Today, that plant is mostly employing "immigrants" as laborers, while the management staff remains primarily white (as is my hometown).

This is what our fellow citizens are talking about when they smugly inform us that we need immigrants because Americans "won't do the jobs they do." Gee, it looked like my local blue collar workers were happy to work at T----s ; it was the plant management that threw them aside like trash, with the connivance of the "immigrants", who harrassed and threatened the few hardy souls who tried to stay on.

14 posted on 10/15/2001 2:23:52 PM PDT by kaylar
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: uscit
They aren't immigrants, they are illegal aliens. Kick them out now!

If any of those illegals can read this: we don't want you here, go back to your country the way you came!

16 posted on 10/15/2001 2:26:43 PM PDT by madrussian
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To: kaylar
The situation that you describe is outrageous! The employer must be fined so that it never hires a single illegal!
17 posted on 10/15/2001 2:30:12 PM PDT by madrussian
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To: kaylar
I'm sorry to hear a story like this, but there are many reasons behind all of this. First of all greed, then not too far behind are those in the business of nation wrecking. This all not happening by accident and I blame Congress for selling us out to "big business" all in the name of profits and power. If you could somehow let us know which meat co. you're talking about maybe we could start a boycott?
18 posted on 10/15/2001 2:34:57 PM PDT by american spirit
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: FITZ
Do you really think that Fox will try to change anything related to our illegal immigration problem? He won't even try. All he has done so far is try to enforce their "right" to send people here.
20 posted on 10/15/2001 2:38:04 PM PDT by FreePaul
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To: madrussian
Sure when the going gets rough they leave.....Good,get out!
21 posted on 10/15/2001 2:39:17 PM PDT by poweqi
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To: uscit
Mega tonnage of bumpage
22 posted on 10/15/2001 2:40:38 PM PDT by junta
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To: american spirit
Probably Tyson's (Chicken). The same story applies to meat packing plants all over the country. They used to pay $15/hour even years ago in many places, but all the Americans have been replaced and the wages have plummeted.
23 posted on 10/15/2001 2:42:06 PM PDT by uscit
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To: dennisw; sarcasm; t-shirt; ouroboros; Mercuria; skeeter; Campion Moore Boru
bump to all anti-illegal-immigration warriors.
24 posted on 10/15/2001 2:43:56 PM PDT by madrussian
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To: uscit
I don't see any of these Mexicans defending our freedom. Therefore, they don't deserve our freedom. DEPORT NOW!!!!
25 posted on 10/15/2001 2:46:33 PM PDT by boycott
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To: american spirit
And here I thought "T-y-s-o-n-S was so obvious, I was gonna hear from their goons-or worse, their lawyers!

I seem to vaguely recall the company buying out their second largest rival (H----l? B--------l?), so they now control a horribly high amount of the meat produced in America each year-60% or higher.

26 posted on 10/15/2001 2:47:09 PM PDT by kaylar
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To: uscit; healey22; StarFan; RaceBannon; Arleigh
BTTTT....Poor things.....
27 posted on 10/15/2001 2:47:24 PM PDT by Dutchy
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To: FreePaul
On top of that, the news reports out of Mexico are that the people as well as the politicians have been basically gloating over the WTC massacre. The arrogant imperialist Americans had it coming to them, you know. Days passed before there was even any expression of condolences from anyone in Mexico, much less even lifting a finger to help us with the terrorism problem.
28 posted on 10/15/2001 2:48:04 PM PDT by uscit
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To: madrussian
Actually, they HAVE been fined-by the EPA, for gross (literally) environmental abuses. Like, say, a lake used to collect the runoff from the rendering with five FEET of fat floating on its surface, which was contaminating the ground water. Doesn't matter-they make so much money, they just pay the fine and continue the same offenses.

As for the "immigrants", the INS has raided them several times-but all that means is a busload is deported to the border. A few weeks or months later, they're back again. Rumor has it that T----S send busses down the Texas border towns to collect workers, no questions asked, but no one really knows if that's true. And rumors also persist that someone tips them off as to win a raid is going to go down, so the worst workers are the only illegals in the plant that day. But again, no one knows how much truth there is in that.

29 posted on 10/15/2001 2:52:09 PM PDT by kaylar
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: CarolynBe
Our borders have become a national disgrace and now a national security nightmare. Sadam Hussein himself could enter our nation with little or no effort.

And you are correct, our immigration "free for all" got us into this disaster.

31 posted on 10/15/2001 2:53:07 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: kaylar
This is what our fellow citizens are talking about when they smugly inform us that we need immigrants because Americans "won't do the jobs they do."

Long ago I was one of two non-mexicans waitering at a upscale Mexican restaurant in my hometown. Talk about your 'hostile work environments' - every night was a battle.

32 posted on 10/15/2001 2:53:45 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: FreePaul
I really hope Fox and the other politicians down there will now work together (they haven't been) and get those changes made that they must make. Mexico has plenty of land and resources, and the people there could make it if the system was right. The last thing we need is an unstable southern border, we should want them to be part of the capitalist world more than ever. I don't believe in illegal immigration at all, I just want 2 stable neighbors for the US.
33 posted on 10/15/2001 2:56:41 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: uscit
Thats why the government and these large companies and corporations encouraged and supported this massive criminal invasion. Greed, the all mighty buck, slave labor. We were sold out for cheaper, less costly workers.
34 posted on 10/15/2001 2:57:26 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: uscit
Yes, and that is damaging in so many ways-First, the American workers are deprived of their jobs, and usually wind up making much less elsewhere. Second, the immigrants get paid less to begin with. And what does that mean? It means that all the local businesses are hurting and even shutting down, because there are no longer enough workers making enough to have the kind of disposable income to keep them open. And the tax base shrinks , too, hurting the city and the county....It's not just the American workers eased out of Tysons who are hurt by Tyson's greed and inhumanity to local and 'imported' workers alike. It's beyond a vicious circle.
35 posted on 10/15/2001 3:00:03 PM PDT by kaylar
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To: american arnie james
I GUESS AMERICA REWARDS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR,THAT IS UNLESS YOUR AN AMERICAN.IF THE MEXICANS FEEL ANGUISH,THEN THEY CAN"GO THE HELL HOME"!
36 posted on 10/15/2001 3:16:19 PM PDT by INSENSITIVE GUY
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: Joe Hadenuf
DEFINITELY A RACE TO THE BOTTOM! Hopefully, there'll be enough of us around to help preserve some sanity after all the useful political and media idiots have ruined this country.
38 posted on 10/15/2001 3:35:24 PM PDT by american spirit
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To: Dutchy
Yeah, I feel so sorry for these ILLEGAL ALIENS
39 posted on 10/15/2001 4:43:01 PM PDT by RaceBannon
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: Maalaea
If these Mexican immigrants are so desperate for a job, they should consider serving their newly adopted country in the military. They would receive training, and when they were done serving they could feel like they had earned their citizenship.
41 posted on 10/15/2001 5:29:46 PM PDT by Billy_bob_bob
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To: Billy_bob_bob
I thought of this same idea, but my husband said he didn't WANT anyone serving in our Military who didn't want to be there.

I still think we should focus on the word "illegal", which means, "against the law". We give the "illegals" all the benefits of US citizens and that in and of itself, is the crime.

sw

42 posted on 10/15/2001 5:40:20 PM PDT by spectre
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To: uscit
Ms. Calzada has learned how the attacks have emboldened some anti- immigrant groups.

Let's hope it emboldens average Americans, who want immigration levels reduced but are afraid to speak their minds lest they be branded "racists."

Illegal aliens are the sea in which terrorists swim. Even if they are here for benign reasons, they create an underground world where terrorists can hide.

Find, arrest and deport all 9 million illegals NOW!

43 posted on 10/15/2001 5:44:43 PM PDT by Arleigh
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To: american spirit
There was an article earlier today about how "undocumented workers" were trying to get aid from the American Red Cross funds that are set up for NY, since they are suffering from lost wages due to the attacks.
44 posted on 10/15/2001 5:50:30 PM PDT by pnz1
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To: Maalaea
Money's too tight to mention ......

Get the bleep out of America ya bums. Go back to GuateMexiRagua Your services are no longer needed and don't you dare try to suck of the welfare tit.

45 posted on 10/15/2001 6:10:32 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: uscit
How dare you make such common sense remarks, it's obvious that you don't intend to run for public office, hahaha.
46 posted on 10/15/2001 6:11:31 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: uscit
"We're spending untold billions and risking our people's lives and killing innocent Afghans and engendering ill-will among the world's Muslims "

think you solved the problem!
draft all the "illegal mexicans": send them to afghanistan...

47 posted on 10/15/2001 6:16:22 PM PDT by hoot2
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To: Joe Hadenuf
joe; you're just too practical n logical....
what do you expect from washington?
48 posted on 10/15/2001 6:17:48 PM PDT by hoot2
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To: FreePaul
"Do you really think that Fox will try to change anything related to our illegal immigration problem

Audio

he's meeting with some of his "top people" on this...

49 posted on 10/15/2001 6:38:35 PM PDT by hoot2
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To: kaylar
Sounds like the hotel industry. My mom works for a DC hotel. She sees American women show up every week pleading for work but they don't get hired because the hotel would rather hire "immigrants" who will work longer hours and for less. Thousands of hotel workers and tourism employees have lost their jobs. I simply don't have the inclination to listen to a illegal alien sob story.
50 posted on 10/15/2001 6:38:40 PM PDT by thathamiltonwoman
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