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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Battle rages on in Danbury over illegal immigration

Alexandra Marks for the Christian Science Monitor has an article on the ongoing battle between Danbury residents regarding the illegal immigration situation.

Marks quote Paul Streitz, founder of
Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control and member of the Minuteman project. Although I haven't heard any allegations about Streitz, it has been well reported that the Minuteman project members, such as Joe McCutchen, have alleged ties to White Supremacist groups such as the ultra-racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

"The illegals have a distinct advantage economically over legals: They displace workers who would otherwise have those jobs," says Paul Streitz, cofounder of Connecticut Citizens. "They accept wages that are so low that it eventually gets to the point that contractors and others can't but use illegals. Otherwise, they can't effectively compete for business."

But some of Danbury's residents, old and new, see such concerns as shortsighted and uninformed at best, and bigoted at worst. These residents note that undocumented workers make it possible for many traditional businesses to survive: They do jobs, such as cleaning toilets, that others shun. They also help keep consumer prices low on everything from a dinner out to a new jacket at the mall.

[...]

Some are concerned that groups like Connecticut Citizens are scapegoating Danbury's newcomers. "These men are really talking pure nonsense. What they're saying about the immigrants is so poisonous and vile, it's so anti-everything," says Maria Cinta Lowe, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury. "What they're really trying to do is damage the situation in our community. They're instigating evil."

With both groups recruiting more members and media attention, this
issue is not going away anytime soon.

"The bottom line is that we have close to 11 million unauthorized residents in the country today," says Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration in Washington. "We have to decide either to regularize it or combat it. But what you're seeing is a normal reaction to a huge population."
Can't wait for the town hall meeting in Danbury tonight. If any members from Connecticut Citizens are there, then it should be very interesting.