By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Approximately 1000 Mexican day laborers have come to work in Farmingville, Long Island, a hamlet of 15,000. The Sachem Quality of Life Organization was founded by residents concerned about this influx. On August 4, the SQLO sponsored a symposium titled "A Day of Truth." Turnout was lowabout 100 people.
The trial of two white supremacists accused of assaulting two Mexican workers and the Bush administration's talk of amnesty for illegal immigrants formed a backdrop. Glenn Spencer, director of American Patrol, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center labels a "hate group," was the main attraction. What follows are excerpts from interviews with key members of the growing anti-immigrant movement.
Margaret Bianculli-Dyber, president, SQLO
We always had a few day laborers in Farmingville. In the spring of '98 I came out of my house; there were hundreds of men on the corner. I called the police. I said, "There are hundreds of men standing on the corner. Send a patrol car." They said, "You mean the Mexicans waiting for work? We're not sending a car. You're a racist." I didn't even know they were Mexicans.
I went to a civic meeting400 residents from Farmingvilleand we were told by our elected officials, "There's nothing wrong. Everything the Mexicans are doing is legal." So seven of us got together to exchange info. Marianne [a neighbor] sat down at her computer and typed in the word immigration, and up popped all the organizations working on this. She called me, practically shouting, "Margaret, we're not the only ones." We contacted FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform]. That's how we met Glenn Spencer. That's when we began to network and branch out. [Glenn told us] the enemy is our own government.
My husband works for a large food-distribution warehousehe's a forklift operator. Traditionally, they make 20-something dollars an hour. My husband makes $12 an hour. Labor is so plentiful for [the company], they say, "I can just replace you and get El Salvadorans for $6 or $7 an hour." Now this company made $1 billion in profits last year. They have 300 El Salvadorans working there. Because of a plentiful supply of cheap labor, my husband's wages are held down, and I have to work.
Now, because of all the Mexicans, my property values have fallen $18,000 in four years. So I can't afford to sell my house for a profit and move away.
Ray Wysolmierski, spokesperson, SQLO
The reason this is such an important meeting is a few brave men and women do what they have to do out of a sense of duty, like General MacArthur. In spite of being called racists, you have to look at this crowd as so many heroes, and you do not have a lot of heroes. Otherwise they would not give out medals for heroism.
I'm not going to call them undocumented. They are illegal. You don't like the word? They are illegal. Illegal is criminal. The core problem is the state of mind all over the country. Not located in any one placeit's located in the minds of people who have bought into political correctness, which is another word for psychological terrorism.
If the Mexicans come here and have a baby, it's called an anchor baby. What is happening is our goodwill and tolerance and love are being used against us. Everybody knows the American people are kind and just. If you have a baby here, [and] you use the baby as a magnet to stay here, you're pollutingto use a word popular 25 years ago, you're creating "populution."
You've heard about the [dual] citizenships? My god, two illegals come here, have children in America, force themselves upon the population, and then insist [on their right]when they want to go on vacationto go back home to Mexico and live like kings. And then to come back when they want to and make some more money and go back. The whole thing is insane. If they continue to come and have families and grow, we'll no longer exist as the United States of America.
Dave Drew, member, SQLO
When the framers designed the constitution, they put in an answer for every problem. The only reason we won't succeed is if we quitif we don't employ the tools given by the founding fathers.
Success would be the removal of all illegal aliensdeportation. Some say, "There are millions of illegal aliens. That's a big job to deport." Is it really? How many planes and cars are on the road as we speak? Not that big a deal to deport a couple million people. Farmingville is a one-day job, that's Farmingville! If the INS wanted to do it, they'd come in in the morning with buses, with document people, remove them all, repatriate them. One-day job. Farmingville would be restored.
First you enter the country illegally, then you work off the booksthat's another illegality. You can pretty much do what you want. We've had rape and murder. Why not break the law? Once you start, you've got to keep going.
Let's talk about the hiring hall. They start with a hiring hall, now they're going to want benefits, now they're gonna want to bring their wife, education for their children. You collapse the entire society. It is not socialism or communism here. We want to reap the benefits of our own work. Not to pay for illegal immigrants.