HARRISONBURG, Va. – I’m tired of being mistaken for a Mexican – legal or otherwise. An innocent trip to a military surplus store to get Mr. Baseball some kind of a boonie hat resulted in the clerk making pointed comments about Mexicans and of the four people in the store, I was the only brunette. For the record, I’m Japanese American. But I seemed to have moved to a town with some Hispanic immigration issues.
The local newspaper, the Daily News Record, publishes multiple articles about traffic accidents, domestic incidents, and shootings that are too often peppered with Hispanic names like Martinez, Hernandez, Diaz, Castillo.
Here in Harrisonburg, VA our state and nationally elected officials can’t seem to go a week without mentioning “illegal immigrants” and the need to stop the deluge.
Classrooms are filled, too, with little children bearing hyphenated Hispanic names and often speaking little English. It’s basically fruitless to send homework home to parents who aren’t even as proficient as their children with the language.
And yet, this part of the Valley is an agricultural area with a large poultry “plant” mix. In fact, three of the ten largest employers in Harrisonburg are poultry plants where old MacDonald’s chicken enters feathery at one in and pink and wrapped in plastic at another. And this part of the Valley is the northern-most edge of the 6th Congressional District Republican Bob Goodlatte, a seat he has held since 1992.
Roanoke, VA is almost 200 miles southwest of Harrisonburg and is historically a railroad town and a gateway to the coalfields. It happens to be near the southern edge of the 6th Congressional District. When living in Roanoke, I assumed that Representative Goodlatte’s guaranteed votes to limit immigration reform and amnesty for illegal aliens already in the States was simply toeing the party line. Now, living where I do and watching this odd community collective denial with Goodlatte leading the way, I have to wonder just what he thinks might happen to this area of his district if it weren’t for alien employment – legal or illegal.
If Goodlatte insists on absolutely refusing to consider or advocate for illegal alien amnesty, whom exactly does he expect to take over the cold room line at the area’s poultry plants? If Goodlatte insists on making drivers’ licenses illegal for illegal aliens, then who’s to blame them for not knowing the traffic laws to obey them? If illegal aliens are so illegal, why not charge and prosecute their employers? How do you sit in such self-righteous judgment while representing an agricultural district and a poultry-dependent district where you definitely know that illegal aliens are doing a large majority of the undesirable work? How, sir?