Would you consider this aiding and abetting illegals?
Over the back windows of a weathered cottage-like building on First Street hangs a row of flags, each representing a Hispanic region.
So far, there are three: Mexico, Honduras and Puerto Rico.
Ken Seda hopes to add more. As he sees it, every new one hung means another group of immigrants has gained a voice in Central Jersey.
"We're forming a civic group for each country," said Seda, a 51-year-old Puerto Rican who runs a financial consulting firm in the building's front while serving day laborers coffee and doughnuts in the back. "As they start to meet, their flag will go up."
Still to come: Costa Rica, Peru and Columbia. El Salvadorians have organized in the region but have yet to get a flag.
Not everyone agrees with Seda's approach. Rita Dentino, who leads the immigrant advocacy group Casa Freehold, politely declined to participate, saying: "It's not that we don't want to recognize all the countries, but we don't want to separate them, either."
But the strategy to create union-like coalitions based on nationality does represent a broader effort these days by many advocates and public officials to empower low-income immigrant workers and integrate them into their larger communities.
On Friday, some 40 mostly undocumented immigrant day laborers crowded into Seda's tiny back room to hear Mayor Steven Langert talk about options. Langert acknowledged he might have gotten it wrong in June when he went only as far as designating a muster zone in a municipal lot for the laborers to flag down employers. He then pledged to help the hundreds of workers toward assimilation in town as long they do their part, namely staying in the zone and off Clifton Avenue.
For the laborers, it could soon mean identification cards to secure a lease or a cell phone account, computer and language classes, trade skills training, and open doors at the community center on Fourth Street during cold morning hours.
"The culture of America is not to hang out on the streets all day," Langert told the workers Friday through a translator.
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Avoiding the sensitive debate over illegal immigration, the mayor added: "The fact is you are here and you want to work, and we want to help you if we can. And in return we want you to help us."
Some of the workers requested more signs posted to direct contractors to the muster zone, and a shelter for when the weather turns bad.
"When it rains, we run to the businesses to take cover," said Memo Angeles, 38, a laborer in Lakewood for three years. "If we have a roof, we wouldn't have to go there."
Langert said it was possible to bring to the municipal lot the shelter once erected at a previous — and wholly unsuccessful — muster zone in the industrial park. He held fast, however, to the notion that the laborers get nothing until they prove willing to stay put.
The workers have historically not been well-received by business owners and many residents, who find their curbside loitering bad for the town's reputation. These critics also see any offers of services, and the muster zone particularly, as encouraging an illegal immigrant work force.
"But burying my head in the sand is not going to make it go away," Langert said later by phone.
Issuing immigrants ID cards and providing space for classes is nothing new. Princeton, Asbury Park and Queens have all issued them. Casa Freehold is modeling cards for Freehold laborers after Trenton, Dentino said. Her group also has held computer and language courses, as well as forums on legal rights. Freehold has had its own muster zone on Throckmorton Street since 2003.
What's perhaps more remarkable, then, is the theme of immigrant integration and empowerment that has resonated throughout Central Jersey.
- Fed up!Lv 69 years agoFavorite Answer
Yes, it is aiding and abetting CRIMINALS. Here we go again with the 'but they just want to do the jobs that Americans don't want to do'. BULLCRAP!! BUT, it's a MASSIVE voting base, legal or not, that Obama just recently told to stand against their enemies and vote for the Dems who will get them AMNESTY. They can call it "Immigration Reform" all they want, IT'S AMNESTY for law breaking border jumpers! Janet Napolitano support this, ICE supports this, Obama supports this. The PROOF? Our Federal Government is suing Arizona for trying to ENFORCE our borders. NOW, Hillary Clinton has turned Arizona in to the UN as being the poster child for human rights violations!!!!
If THAT doesn't make your blood boil, then I don't know what would. WE have to DO something, because WE'VE become the laughing stock for thinking that we have the RIGHT or NECESSITY to secure our borders! NO OTHER COUNTRY WOULD ALLOW PEOPLE TO JUST HOP THEIR BORDERS AND EXPECT TO HAVE ACCESS TO ALL OF OUR SOCIAL PROGRAMS!! NONE!! Yet, even China is lining up to read Arizona the riot act, so is Iran. Are you F**KING kidding me??
How about a 'wink & nod" on amnesty?
- Maricopa CountyLv 69 years ago
. Casa Freehold is modeling cards for Freehold laborers after Trenton, Dentino said. Her group also has held computer and language courses, as well as forums on legal rights, I want to know at what point do we Americans have legal rights ? The activists are all for law and order as long as the law protects illegals and punishes everybody else. ICE needs to make a run down there.These folks are not hiding in the shadows nor are they fearful of police. we should not have selective law enforcement
- Anonymous9 years ago
Immigration is going to be dealt with, without Amnesty. It will take some time, as it is a sensitive issue with getting the right electorate back in control of government. I think we are having a new wave of politicians that have promised to seal our borders and have made a pledge to all Americans. This IS a big step and will have an enormous positive effect on the American people. We will just have to keep sending a message to Washington on our feelings on this and that we will not stand for an invasion taking benefits and jobs from us.
- klynLv 43 years ago
" Martin says he's a humanitarian who had to help undocumented immigrants get the comparable probability to artwork interior the U.S. that he have been afforded whilst arriving legally from El Salvador years in the past. " -i contemplate whether he helped any unlawful immigrant or in simple terms the hispanic ones? I guess in basic terms hispanics. -He broke the regulation, he would desire to be convicted and he would desire to lose his residency status. "there have been Christians and Germans who helped the Jews get away for the duration of the wars the two by applying hiding them or giving them pretend records so technically the Jews have been illegals and those people have been breaking the guidelines on the time." -completely diverse situation and the US might certainly grant asylum to Mexicans fleeing from a central authority subsidized genocide in Mexico, that's no longer occurring. the persons illegally interior the US are no longer dealing with persecution everywhere close to to that which the Jews confronted interior the holocaust. If it became, i think of that they had be attempting to get out of the US, no longer in, no? Gee, asking ability immigrants to maintain on with the regulation of the rustic they decide for to stay in, SUCH persecution!
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- Anonymous9 years ago
Looks like Jersey is getting overrun. I thought they only wanted to conquer Atzlan