Am I anti-Latino?

Posted: August 12, 2014

I AM XENOPHOBIC. I am anti-Latino. I am hysterical. I am irrational.

Combine two full pages of letters to the editor in recent weeks - from the ACLU, the mayor's chief of staff and the Al Dia newspaper - and that's what I am.

Why? Because I oppose illegal immigration and the mayor's recent executive order that thwarts Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts to deport foreign felons, making ICE jump through a hoop as tight as a rat's sphincter.

Saying I am hysterical and irrational goes to a state of mind. Saying I am xenophobic and anti-Latino goes to a state of heart.

It's baseless, and I resent it.

Those "without documents" resent being called "illegals," but that's what they are. The Associated Press got cowed into banning the word, replaced by a clumsy mouthful such as "people in this country without proper documentation."

Calling me anti-Latino because I oppose illegal entry into this country is like calling me anti-Russian because I oppose Vladimir Putin's illegal entry into Crimea.

Xenophobic? Once a year I write a column praising newly naturalized Americans - from South Korea, Sierra Leone, Iraq in recent years. They are foreign, but came here legally. They waited their turn, and sometimes it was a long wait, too long.

I welcome them, as do most Americans. What we do not welcome are people who disrespect our laws, sneak across our borders or overstay their visas. They are lawbreakers. It's not their ethnicity, it's their activity.

In 2010, D.A. Seth Williams said that the people whom ICE wants to find "are criminals who most frequently victimize" their own community.

Is Williams xenophobic, too?

The Al Dia editorial followed my attack on the mayor's executive order. I called it insane, I didn't call him insane. (I have referred to City Council as a "clown posse." Not as bad as being called racist.)

The ACLU and Al Dia say that those prosecuted are guilty of only "minor" charges, but is not true. My column cited two recent convicted felons. There will be more.

Prior to the executive order, the city had reached a compromise, which I praised, as did the Inquirer in a Sept. 4, 2011, editorial: "Philadelphia officials have worked out a carefully calibrated agreement to share with immigration authorities the names of people arrested for other crimes." (Italics added.)

That wasn't good enough to quell the ceaseless carping of the enablers of illegal immigrants, such as the Philly nonprofit group Juntos, which states: "We believe that every human being has the right to a quality education and the freedom to live with dignity regardless of immigration status." (Italics added.) That's why I call Juntos an illegal-immigrant enabler. It is their stated mission. To them, legal and illegal are the same thing. To me, and U.S. law, it is not.

Juntos and Al Dia have a different constituency than I. Latinos are theirs, whether here legally or not. Mine are American citizens and legal residents.

In the last three years I have written eight columns to get a Graterford convict the correct sentence he should have received. His name? Marcus Perez. I've done other columns supporting religious institutions in Harrowgate and Kensington providing aid to Latino immigrants, including those here illegally. Am I anti-Latino?

Al Dia says I criminalized a "whole community, documented and undocumented." No, just those who arrived illegally. It does make a difference.

No one has a right to migrate to America. We admit almost 1 million legal immigrants each year.

Juntos and Al Dia don't care how you got here.

Like almost all Americans, I welcome immigrants who enter through the front door, not break in through a side window.

Does that make me anti-Latino? You decide.


Email: stubyko@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|