Elizabeth Llorente, NorthJersey.com, Jan. 5, 2006
They’re tired of illegal immigration, of people who they say make a mockery of U.S. laws and drive down wages.
So on Saturday morning, immigration control activists are joining in a nationwide demonstration, “Stop the Invasion” — coordinated to take place near sites where day laborers congregate — to call for tougher enforcement of immigration laws and tighter patrolling of U.S. borders.
Some 36 groups will protest in about 20 states, including New Jersey, say national organizers.
“We want to preserve our country for everyone,” said Ron Bass, founder of United Patriots of America, an Essex County-based group that is organizing the New Jersey protest. “For legal immigrants as well as other Americans.
“We want to send a message to illegal aliens that you’re in this country illegally, you’re breaking our laws,” said Bass, who is planning to hold the protest in Bergen County, a magnet for day laborers over the last decade. He refused to disclose the exact location out of concern that pro-immigrant activists would try to undermine his group’s plans.
The nationwide protest is being coordinated by the Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, a group that advocates closing U.S. borders and deporting illegal immigrants.
One of its founders, Paul Streitz, said the demonstration is meant to call attention to illegal immigration at a time when Congress is poised to discuss major immigration reform proposals.
Nationally coordinated protests usually are staged by pro-immigration advocates. Those on the opposing side tend to be less public — fearing retaliation — and usually draw much smaller crowds to their events.
But immigration control groups have grown bolder as they’ve seen a conservative momentum build in Washington backing tougher border enforcement.
Recent polls show many Americans believe some illegal immigrants should have a chance to become legal, but they also think the U.S. government has been too lax in controlling the borders. So, in an important election year, many in Congress are making immigration a cause célèbre.
In New York, protests are planned for Rockland County and Long Island, where confrontations between residents and day laborers have at times turned violent.
“Rockland County has an estimated 11,000 illegal aliens who are occupying low-income housing, causing rezoning and a virtual war among mayors and town supervisors over rezoning,” said William Tibbe of the Citizens Civil Defense, which is staging a protest in Spring Valley. “Illegals violate health codes, fire codes, sanitation codes, pile up many to a single-family dwelling. They degrade neighborhoods, lower housing values, and lower wages of working Americans. Worst of all, Mexico has a plan to colonize America. We want to take back our neighborhoods and secure our borders.”