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Dozens Protest Immigration Policies Outside Arlington DMV

by ARLnow.com September 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm 2,500 21 Comments

Nearly 100 people chanted slogans, held signs and beat drums outside the Arlington office of the Virginia DMV this afternoon, decrying tougher policies on immigrants enacted in the wake of a nun’s death in Prince William County.

The protesters, many of whom were affiliated with the Laborers International Union of North America and Alexandria-based Tenants and Workers United, were noisy but peaceful. Their hour-long protest was watched closely by a dozen Arlington County police officers.

The demonstrators were protesting two recent actions that they say amounts to a “war and persecution of Virginia’s immigrants.” Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell barred the Department of Motor Vehicles from accepting “employment authorization documents,” commonly used by immigrants, as proof of legal residency. Then this week, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency revealed a change in policy that will put illegal immigrants charged with DUI on the fast track to deportation.

Both policy changes come after a Benedictine nun was killed in a crash that police say was caused by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk. Carlos Martinelly Montano, 23, was awaiting a deportation hearing on two prior DUI charges at the time of the August 1 wreck.

While calling Sister Denise Mosier’s death “tragic,” organizers of the protest said the crash should not be used to “promote an anti-immigrant agenda that would effectively segregate immigrants from society.”

“Some people are going all out to turn Virginia into the next Arizona,” Tenants and Workers United Suyapa Hernandez said in a statement. “We will not stand for this… we must unite and fight back against policies that divide and weaken our communities.”

“Racist application of the rule of law and state resources is an unfortunate legacy in Virginia politics,” said John Liss, executive director of Tenants and Workers United. “From slave-owners of the old South to the life-long disenfranchisement of ex-felons and recent attempts to… detain and deny immigrants their basic civil rights, we are witnessing the struggle of the dominant class to maintain control as the demographics… in the Commonwealth change.”

As they marched past the doors of the DMV, at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, protesters with megaphones shouted slogans in Spanish and men with drums and guitars provided a musical rhythm. At one point, the protesters gathered in front of the building and several people gave short speeches.

“It’s pretty clear that this is a war on the immigrant community,” one protest organizer said. “We are the victims here.”

This was the first of at least four DMV protests that will be held around Virginia. The next protest is scheduled to take place in Richmond one week from today.

  • TGEoA

    Illegal aliens are criminals.

  • JimPB

    I have yet to hear a strong rationale for why immigrants should be other than legal immigrants.

    It would be an enormous expense and present a forbidding image of the U.S. to make our long borders — north and east and west as well as south — “secure”, i.e., to effectively prevent illegal immigration.

    The alternative: Vigorously enforce the laws against hiring illegal immigrants and block the extension of other privileges to illegal immigrants.

    • Anthony

      Agreed. Fyi: the hiring of illegal immigrants is a result of the greed of American companies. Well, not just companies. American people have been hiring illegal immigrants to mow their lawns, clean their houses and care for their children.

      • NotJustHiringIllegals

        It’s not just the hiring of illegal’s that is hurting – it’s lazy Americans who’d rather take the handout that the government is going to give them than make an honest day’s pay. The illegal’s are willing to work, and frankly do jobs that keep the US running, and do it for cheap. FDR era social welfare programs were never intended to be permanent. Part of the problem is the nanny-state that the government has created. The mentality for many has become: Why go work construction, agriculture, service industry jobs when the government check and section 8 housing covers my needs just fine…

      • Ali

        Would these illegal aliens even be here if their OWN countries were providing jobs and services for them? If THEY had some of those “greedy” companies in their own countries (subject to their laws) and creating jobs for them? How is it that WALMART creates more jobs in Mexico than the richest man in the world, a Mexican, who owned Circuit City and is a backer of the NY Times? Fact is, Mexico severely limits foreign investment especially in petroleum but is so corrupt anyway that it discourages foreign investment and even local investment. Look what socialism and corruption have done for Mexico–it’s one of the richest countries in the world yet most of its people live in poverty.

  • Jack

    enforce the immigration laws — if that happened, the illegal immigration problem would work itself out.

  • Let’s Be Free

    Fascinating — that’s the DMV where the terrorists who flew into the Pentagon secured their driver’s licenses, they got an illegal immigrant hanging out in the parking lot to vouch for them ($50 did the trick) — great place to promote immigrants and immigration.

  • que_de_que

    Thanks for covering this. It’s sad to think McDonnell and Cuccinelli want to make Virginia into another Arizona.

    • ArlRes

      Depends on your point of view. Some actually respect the laws of the land.

      • que_de_que

        Obviously – what’s your point? I don’t think I said I was speaking for the entire American people. And just because certain laws are in place doesn’t mean they’re fair OR reasonable.

        • Ali

          And you think illegal immigration is “fair” or “reasonable”? Guess what the one country sending the most LEGAL immigrants to the United States is? MEXICO. 15-20% of our total legal immigration over the past two decades, largely because of the illegal aliens legalized by the 1986 amnesty. As an Arab-American, I don’t consider that “fair” or “reasonable”, given that there are almost 200 countries in the world.

          • el fat kid

            exactly! immigration #’s should be divided evenly among the world’s 200 countries… this way we can fully assimilate Liechtenstein within 6 years.

  • Spock

    Do you have a problem with the focus on your camera?

  • NPGMBR

    I don’t have any issues with immigration, however, I have serious issues with illegal immigration.

    One of my best friends had to wait fourteen year to be granted citizenship. Ya see, he was born in Ghana and although his brother and sister were born in the U.S. and his dad works for the U.N. you’d think it would be easier but it wasn’t.

    But he hung in there and waited patiently especially after 9/11 when it seemed his paperwork just seemed to keep getting pushed aside. He immigrated the right way so its very difficult for me to feel sorry for people that came here illegally and demand to be treated better than those that immigrated the right way.

    • Neighbor

      I’m also a proponent of legal immigration. My wife and her family legally immigrated to the US in the 80s. Are we supposed to have sympathy for people who have no regard for our laws? Are we to assume that they will obey the rest of our laws?

      In my opinion, if you go after the businesses hiring (and often taking advantage) of the illegal labor, our illegal immigration problem probably goes away. But, that’s a sensitive political issue that neither party will ever take an affirmative stand on.

      • MB

        Both you and NPGMBR break laws all the time. You don’t report your online purchases and remit your use tax to Virginia at tax time. You go faster than 65mph on I-66. Am I supposed to care for people who have no regard for our laws think?

        • Ali

          MB, do Neighbor and NPGMBR break a law every single minute of every single day? Do they think that if they’re caught, they should get amnesty? And even be rewarded for what they’ve done? Do they make lying, cheating, jumping lines, and breaking the law literally a way of life? Illegal aliens do, and then don’t think there should be consequences. There’s a reason that the countries they come from such as Mexico have the problems they do, and that reason is often CORRUPTION and disrespect for the rule of law.

          • MB

            Ali, I’m sorry you’re such a bitter and uninformed person. It’s really got to be tough to go through life that way. You might find it easier if you look at the real motivations of the people involved, stop making up things about people you don’t know, and quit pretending that there’s some magic moral wand that dehumanizes people as soon as you can call them law breakers.

        • Ali

          By the way, MB, I’ve taught in the Middle East. Should I start telling my students that they shouldn’t bother to obey our laws? That they should apply for non immigrant visas they have no intention of honoring? Or, if they can’t get them, that they should fly to Mexico or Canada and cross in illegally? I’ve tried very hard to get them to understand the idea of respecting the law, since they come from corrupt countries, but if people like you think the laws don’t matter, why should I even bother?

          • el fat kid

            sounds like your only choice is to give up.

  • LawAbider

    Ali, you are so correct. Notice the signs do not say “illegal” and the director of this organization does not mention “illegal”. Another thought, how about these illegals go back to there own country and protest their government for the crappy economy which leaves them jobless.

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