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      The Grime Scene Terms Of Service and Forum Rules   08/23/2007

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Beth n Rod

Hispanics Protest, but Impact Questioned

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Hispanics Protest, but Impact Questioned - washingtonpost.comHispanics Protest, but Impact Questioned

A work boycott called to protest Prince William County's proposed crackdown on illegal immigrants appeared to have limited impact yesterday as construction sites, restaurants and retail stores hummed with business as usual.

The one-day stoppage, organized by the immigrant advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders, did cause a smattering of businesses to operate with smaller staffs or close.

La Azteca Latina, a small grocery in Woodbridge, closed after two hours while its owner and employees attended a rally. Ten employees of a waterproofing company in Woodbridge walked off their jobs in the morning, even though their employer threatened that they wouldn't be able to work for the rest of the week.

"We're doing it for our own good. And if the boss doesn't like it, well, we will look for other work," said Ruben Garcia, 28, of Woodbridge.

The stoppage was intended to demonstrate the economic impact of immigrants on the local economy and how businesses would suffer without Hispanic workers.

Protesters gathered in the afternoon at the county's government complex as the Prince William Board of County Supervisors held a regular meeting. A caravan of about 500 cars drove from the government complex throughout the county, said Ricardo Juarez, a coordinator at Mexicans Without Borders. The cars had slogans such as "Tell the Supervisors -- NO!" written in shoe polish across windshields, Juarez said.

Business owners and county leaders said the effects of the boycotts were minimal.

"I don't see anything different today than usual," said Corey Stewart, chairman of the supervisors. "And if someone is here illegally, they shouldn't be working here in the first place."

The boycott protested a resolution, passed unanimously by the supervisors in July, that denies many public services to illegal immigrants and empowers police and other officials to question immigrants about their legal status and, in some cases, turn them over to federal immigration authorities.

In contrast, Alexandria's City Council voted late yesterday on a measure that gives illegal immigrants access to public services and legal protection.

Carlos Castro, a business owner who has helped lead a separate effort to oppose the Prince William resolution, said the stoppage wasn't promoted well and probably wouldn't leave a strong impression on county leaders.

"I respect that form of free speech, but I personally would like to continue to do what we business leaders have been doing -- trying to keep up the dialogue and trying to make sure that we are getting people to understand that . . . we want to come to a more peaceful and more honorable solution to the problem," he said.

At Abuelita Mexican Food Products in Manassas Park, nearly all of the tortilla chip manufacturer's 60 employees -- mostly Hispanic immigrants -- came to work.

"We didn't even know there was going to be a protest from work today," said Eugene Suarez Jr., who helps run the family business with his father.

Bill Fairchild, president of general contractor R.W. Murray in Manassas, said his staff and the employees of the hundreds of subcontractors he uses showed up at construction sites around the county as usual.

Mariana Vasquez, a cashier at Latino Pollo A La Braza restaurant in Woodbridge, said she knew about the work stoppage. She agreed with the cause but opted to work anyway.

"I need the money. I don't have a choice," said Vasquez, the mother of a 1-year-old.

At the afternoon caravan rally, Stanley Castillo, a 29-year-old painter for a Hispanic-owned company in the county, said he lost out on about $150 by boycotting work. His boss agreed to let him and nine other employees take the day off to protest.

"I lose a lot but think I gain more here supporting this," Castillo said.

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They should be arrested on the spot because they are illegal & therefore don't have the right to assemble a public protest! Go back to mexico,then apply to come here to work leaglly. PS; when you go back to mexico,take Bush,all his cabinet, all the so called democratic leadership & 95% of congress with you & keep them!!!!!!!!!! Jimbo

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They should be arrested on the spot because they are illegal & therefore don't have the right to assemble a public protest! Go back to mexico,then apply to come here to work leaglly. PS; when you go back to mexico,take Bush,all his cabinet, all the so called democratic leadership & 95% of congress with you & keep them!!!!!!!!!! Jimbo

As normal, they are fighting for imigration reform. Its not possible to do what your saying in the second sentence.

You ancestors could, we have americans with wifes and children being deported brother who are americans.

Do americans really not know this???????????? WAKE UP people.

We are no longer the melting pOT. We are closed borders.

Only special work visa and student visa and visiting visa are permited.

The numbers who actually get them are very low. hundreds only, we used to permit 1000'sssssssss..

After nafta we granted amesty and again one more time in the 90's. then we closed her down to support business south of the border.

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I'm sypatetic to nationals because my grandfather like yours ancestors traveled to this great country in search of a better life.

Because of his hard work I'm now blessed to be here as a citizen and stand up for my fellow imigrants that our fathers of this nation never intended to deny the right to be here.

The rights have been denied for many imigrants, not only mexicans but i cannot get a close relative that the mother has passed away and she was born in italy and her father was my uncle born in chicago. She lived only in italy during birth and her mother was never a citizen. My uncle now cannot get her right accross even being her biological father on the B-cert. She has to go to italy and apply and wait for years. ( thats ridiculous)

You want another, GI's getting maried better have all the proper paper work prior to getting hitched or if they have a son now even on a military instalation.

We have gotten ridiculous and its actually violating many peoples rights.

Including American citizens that want to get other relatives to a better place.

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