Monday, July 11, 2005

More News

It's that kind of morning. First, some "church related" news:

The local Catholic archbishop and immigrant rights activists want to roll up the welcome mat before the Minutemen arrive to patrol for illegal immigrants in Houston.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an organization working to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, announced this week that it would send observers to watch day laborers in Houston beginning in October. Previous plans called for placing patrols only along the Mexican border.

But Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza said the Minutemen would not be welcome in Houston.

"We stand against any attempts of outsiders to come into Houston to abuse and intimidate our immigrant communities," Fiorenza said in a statement issued Friday.

"For every Minuteman patrolling, we will have at least 10 people patrolling them," said Maria Jimenez, a longtime local activist now associated with the Central American Resource Center, or CRECEN.

Jimenez and CRECEN leader Teodoro Aguiluz threatened to file a lawsuit if they observe the Minutemen doing anything illegal.

"We will respond to your organization with our organization," Jimenez said to the Minutemen. "We're not shy about it."

Jimenez estimated that there are 50 informal labor markets in Houston where day laborers gather looking for work from contractors. She said pro-immigrant groups would have at least 10 observers at each site.

I live literally within walking distance of an "informal labor market," probably so informal it falls below the level of the "50 sites" mentioned here. In fact, Houston is so big, and so spread out, that I would imagine there are hundreds of such "markets," most of them, like the one I'm near, parking lots of small locally-owned convenience stores in working class and working poor neighborhoods. The idea of having any impact on immigration in Houston by patrolling even 50 such markets is so ludicrous as to be laughable.

The other bit I can't yet find a link to, but I was listening to BBC World Service this morning, and caught a discussion between Tarik Ali and a professor from the London School of Economics. This article indicates the basic premise they both seemed to agree on: no one yet knows who was responsible for the bombings in London. This struck me as interesting if only because American media would surely conclude by now that "Al Qaeda" was responsible, and sneer at any suggestion that the evidence was not yet in by now. The British, apparently, even the media, even commentators who disagree as strongly as the two men did on World Service this morning (the London School of Economics professor argued it didn't matter who they were, because they were simply "murderers," and who cared what their "excuse" was), aren't willing to presume facts not in evidence.

Maybe this has always been true of America. Maybe it's just getting worse. I can't decide anymore.

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