Gangs braced by struggles of young illegal immigrants, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 1, 2007
TALLAHASSEE — Seven people had just been shot in Lake Worth, three of them shot dead. So I asked state Rep. Mary Brandenburg, whose district includes Lake Worth, about our gang problem.
She immediately walked over to her desk and picked up a page from Sun-Sentinel.com with the headline: "Battered sailboat carrying 101 Haitian migrants lands on South Broward beach."
"I think a lot of the problem might be here," the liberal Democrat said.
Now, I have plenty of respect for the thousands of people who escape desperate poverty in their homelands and brave awful hardships to get here, work hard, send kids to school and quietly obey our laws, even if they had to break the immigration laws to get here.
I understand that our economy has come to depend on their low-wage labor. I've seen how a hard-line stance on illegal immigration is often a despicable code for racist or anti-Hispanic prejudice.
Mr. Goodman and Rep. Brandenburg have just been "mugged by reality," as the saying goes. Of course, you can see that old habits of thought die hard—even when Haitians are actually shooting people in large numbers, opposition to Haitian immigration may be a "despicable code" for "racist or anti-Hispanic prejudice."