Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Mayor Of Palos Verdes Confronts A Serious Immigration Issue

Palos Verdes is a seaside community near Los Angeles, and like many parts of the world, fears of immigrants confront its residents.

Those residents were only too happy to,reap the benefits of lowly paid Hispanic immigrants when they did the jobs most other people didn't want to do. And because Hispanic immigrants worked so cheap, residents could save money on almost anything residents were involved with.

But in recent years, a flood of Spanish speaking people arrived, and as they prospered, they bought the lower priced homes in the community so their children could attend Palos Verdes schools and their families could have a safer, better quality of life.

As their numbers grew, so did the use of the Spanish language that increasingly seemed to be everywhere.

Under the guise of preventing illegal immigration, residents began restricting the sale of homes and even the movement of Spanish speaking people around the community, except as gardeners, nannies and other low paid positions.

Come nightfall, they were expected to be gone.

When no-one would sell Juan and Bonita Vargas a home, the Mayor of Palos Verdes called a community wide meeting.

At that meeting the television cameras were everywhere, as residents held up signs condemning the Vargas' and some of them screamed out in anger. A chant soon echoed, "Go home where you came from, there's no place for you here."

It took the Palos Verdes police force and neighboring city police forces to maintain order.

The Mayor called for silence, and after several minutes, the agitated crowd finally quieted down.

Calmly he looked at the crowd and then said, "What is it you really fear? Surely it is not Hispanic people for many of you are in part Hispanic in heritage. It can't be having Hispanic people work in our community for we have had them working here for many years."

"They need to learn English," one woman yelled as the crowd cheered."

"What makes you think they don't speak English," replied the Mayor. "Permit me to introduce you to Mr. And Mrs. Vargas."

"Good evening," said Juan Vargas nervously into the microphone. I thank you for listening to me and I hope you will welcome my family into your community.

"This is my wife Bonita and next to her our two children, Juan Carlo who is 9 years old and his little sister Maria who is 6 years old. Our children were born in the U.S. and we all speak English.

"Fifteen years ago when we arrived from Mexico, Bonita and I settled in East Los Angeles and we began learning English. I worked as an auto mechanic and she worked cleaning homes, riding buses to  communities such as Palos Verdes.

"We saved our money and eventually I opened an auto repair business. That business has thrived and I employ 40 people of various nationalities, and contract for a wide range of services, including accountants and attorneys..

"Bonita is now a stay at home mom.

"Other than the few of you who are Native American, the rest of you came from families who emigrated to this country. At first, your families spoke their native languages but soon they learned English.

"It was never their intent to deprive anyone of their dreams of success, but rather to join in that dream and add to the overall success.

"At the time, some people were shunned for being Irish or Chinese or of African heritage. But eventually they overcame this discrimination to add to the dream we all share.

"There is also some irony involved with Mexican people..

"Mexico seized the Southwest from the Native Americans and the Americans seized it from Mexico. Palos Verdes is Spanish and means 'green hills' and Los Angeles is Spanish, and means 'The Angels.' You've even given many of your streets Spanish names.

"Today, I hope you will welcome us and allow us to become residents of your beautiful community."

The crowd remained silent as Juan stepped back from the microphone.

"This is the Vargas family," said the Mayor as he stepped up to the microphone. "And I appeal to you to be the honorable, opened minded people I've always known you to be.

"And to you realtors in the audience, please present your home for sale listings to Mr. and Mrs. Vargas so that they can buy a home here."

A round of applause began to build until it reached a crescendo that through the television cameras, online computers and cell phones echoed across America and throughout the world.

Dick Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment