Initially, I was cheered by this story: Yard signs welcoming immigrants to Madison are starting to appear on the snow-piled landscape..
The signs say "Immigrants Welcome" printed in English, Hmong and Spanish. The word "Welcome" also is handwritten in six languages: English, Hmong, Spanish, Norwegian, German and Arabic, by members of immigrant families in Wisconsin.
"We've heard a lot of angry anti-immigrant sentiment. We're glad to be giving people an opportunity to express welcome and love to immigrants," said Janet Parker, co-chairwoman of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
Well, they sound like hippies, but at least I can agree with the message. I like immigrants and I'm glad that they see the United States as a good place to live and work. We must be doing something right.
Then I read down a bit further:
Parker said her group supports the work of immigrant rights groups like the Workers' Rights Center and Immigrant Workers' Union in Madison and Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee.
"We see the war in Iraq as intrinsically tied to the war against immigrants," Parker said. "At the core, they are both about racism."
Ah, no. No, no, no. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with racism. Anyone who sincerely holds that opinion has tapioca between their ears. Also, Voces de la Frontera is a bit of an unsavory group.
As reported earlier members of Voces de la Frontera violated the home of State Senator Cathy Stepp last night shouting and attempting to intimidate her into signing driver license legislation for illegal immigrants.
I took the following from their website:
Description of Agency/Activities: Voces de la Frontera is a low-wage and immigrant worker's center that opened in Nov. 2001. The center was created to respond to the immediate problems low-wage immigrant workers face. The center provides a legal clinic where workers can obtain free legal advice about labor and civil rights, as well as ongoing English language and citizenship classes. The agency provides classes to train workers and other immigrants about discrimination, OSHA regulations, labor laws, worker's compensation, legalization and work visas, and more day-to-day topics such as how to obtain a driver's license, how to buy a house, and how to fill out taxes and open bank accounts. Ongoing campaigns include legalization and access to higher education for immigrant students.
Notice any trend there? All kinds of training on how to get government cash and sue people, nothing on job training or English language courses or fitting into society.
Don't expect to find one of those yard signs in my lawn. Not if buying the sign means supporting groups like Voces de la Frontera.