From Miami to Minnesota, protests call attention to immigration crisis
This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
Along East Seventh Street in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul, Minn., more signs are in Spanish than English, advertising everything from used cars to groceries.
That backdrop certainly made Larry Dalin’s sign stand out.
Holding a sign that read “In Mexico, illegals are jailed,” Dalin was a lone sentry outside the Mexican Consulate on Friday afternoon, part of a national protest against illegal immigration and the Obama administration’s response to the on-going crisis at the nation’s southern border.
Though he may have been alone at the protest, Dalin’s frustration is embodied by many Americans. He’s 58, unemployed for more than a year, and facing bleak job prospects after a career in manufacturing. His frustration boiled over after hearing stories of undocumented and unaccompanied children being allowed into the country during the past several weeks.
Even though he was stationed outside the Mexican Consulate, Dalin’s frustration was directed at the American government.
“The whole thing has been created by the (Obama) administration,” he said. “In Mexico, it’s illegal to be an illegal … but in the United States, they give them a new car and a cell phone. Or at least a drivers’ license.”
Dalin didn’t know it, but in the largely immigrant community in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, he would have found dozens of people who agreed with his point of view.
With bright yellow Gadsden flags waving in the bright Florida sun behind him, James Schafer told Watchdog.org the sudden influx of immigrants was bad news for the country’s future.
“The law is not being enforced, and it’s putting too much of a strain on the resources of the country,” he said. “It’s going to break the United States.”
This weekend’s protests were organized by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, a political action committee that supports candidates who fight to limit illegal immigration. After organizing more than 300 protests during the weekend, the group said on Monday it would plan more protests in states with primary elections in the coming months.
“It is clear that the surge of illegal immigrants on our borders coming for the immigration reform amnesty promised by Obama and some Republicans has brought a great change in public views on this issue,” said William Gheen, president of ALIPAC.
Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to care for the thousands of people — primarily teen males — who recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The money also would be used to hire additional judges and lawyers to help expedite the process of sending undocumented immigrants back to their home countries.
About 52,000 unaccompanied children have been caught at the border since October, double the number from the prior year.
Republicans in Washington, D.C., largely blame a 2008 human trafficking law for the influx. That law allows minors entering the country from Central America to request asylum hearings. Most of the immigrants have been from Guatemala and El Salvador.
“Don’t come into this country and expect the rest of us to lift you up and support you,” Joanne Gulliksen said at the protest in Miami.