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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Illegal Hispanic problem needs national solution

The late federal judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. was opposed to the civil disobedience that demonstrators employed to protest segregation.

He thought it was unnecessary. He wanted laws challenged in court, not in the streets.

Most white Alabamians didn't like Judge Johnson because his rulings from the Middle District Court in Montgomery broke the back of segregation, but they came to respect his passion for the law.

Perhaps, the nation needs a dose of Judge Johnson's passion now to help steer it through the growing controversy over illegal immigrants, mostly Hispanic in this area.

Backlash to the flood of illegal workers is starting to take place in Alabama. Hoover this week decided to close its multi-cultural center run by Catholic Family Services because it has become a gathering place for illegal immigrants looking for work.

For every legal immigrant in Alabama, estimates say there are two illegal ones.

Shelby County and Decatur were part of a national Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement sting that rounded up more than 500 gang suspects and other illegals causing problems. Yet, the feds are not even interested in talking to local police about illegal aliens who cause few or no problems.

It's national policy to wink at the immigration laws because the workers fill a void in the U.S. work force.

But people like Barbara Jones of 809 Tammy St. S.W., resent illegal immigrants not being held to U.S. laws.

More than three years ago, she said, a Hispanic man ran into the back of her car and caused more than $3,000 in damages. He had no driver license and no insurance.

She was out the money and the illegal Hispanic man went free, she said.

Hispanic advocates miss the point when they cite the advantage of these workers to the United States economy, but Thomas Lawimore of Falkville didn't. The Birmingham News said he traveled from Morgan County to tell the Hoover City Council that if immigrants want to work here, they should go by the law.

Most Alabamians feel the same way.

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