News / USA

Changes in US Town Reflect Easing of Anger Over Illegal Immigration

Changes in US Town Reflect Easing of Anger Over Ilegal Immigrationi
X
April 02, 2013 8:50 PM
The growing power of minority voters in the United States, particularly the Hispanic/Latino vote, has changed the political landscape of the United States. On the national level there is now bipartisan support in Congress for immigration reform. And as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, in a small town in northern Virginia, where a few years ago illegal immigration was a divisive political issue, public anger is fading.
Brian Padden
— The growing power of minority voters in the United States, particularly the Hispanic/Latino vote, has changed the political landscape of the United States. On the national level there is now bipartisan support in Congress for immigration reform. And in a small town in northern Virginia, where a few years ago illegal immigration was a divisive political issue, public anger is fading.

Undocumented day laborers from Central America still gather at the 7/11 convenience store in Herndon, Virginia, hoping for work. But since 2006, their numbers have decreased.   

Back then, public anger at illegal immigrants came to a head when the town opened a publicly funded center to get the workers off the street. A local anti-immigrant group called The Minutemen protested the center, photographing and reporting suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities. In 2007, the city council closed the center.

But over time, the number of minority voters, especially Latinos, has grown.  Cesar del Aguila is chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Party, which covers Herndon. He says anti-immigrant zeal has dissipated.

“What you have now versus five years ago, you have people on the town council that understand that diversity is a good thing. It is not something to be feared,” Del Aguila said.

He says Herndon is now considered, in national elections, a Democratic stronghold. But Herndon’s Virginia state delegate, Republican Tom Rust, is also courting the Latino vote, and recently sponsored a bill to allow undocumented immigrants who came when they were children to attend state universities and colleges.

“We do have a large immigrant population in Virginia, a large immigrant population in our population centers. They’re good citizens. They’re good people. They work hard. These kids, through no fault of their own, were brought into the country,” Rust said.

The bill failed because of a lack of Republican support and concerns that a move to legalize undocumented workers would encourage more illegal immigration.

Nearby, in Centerville, a day laborer center that receives no public funding opened in 2011. Most of the men here came to the U.S. alone. Cesar Kolindres from El Salvador says if immigration reform passes, they intend to bring their wives and children.

“One day then, if they make it a reality to have this permit or citizenship or something equal or as good as that, and then we can bring our families and live here in this country,” Kolindres said.

Rust and Herndon’s mayor declined to talk to VOA about the day laborers. Del Aguila says illegal immigration is a national, not a local problem.   

“If you look at the charter of the town council, it is about land use, zoning and budget items. It has nothing to do with expelling people or rounding people up,” Del Aguila said.

While there is growing support for the bipartisan reform proposal in Congress, in Herndon there is concern that a key component of that legislation - giving legal status to millions of undocumented workers - could again spark division.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid