Indiana`s Esther Barber worthy of the Lou Dobbs award
February 03, 2010, 12:05 AM
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In my March 2004 Report From Occupied Indiana: Mexican Consul Bullies American Patriots, I wrote about Esther Barber, a native of Mexico who settled in Indianapolis with her new husband Bob, a former cop and founder of the now defunct Americans for Legal Immigration (ALI).

My first contact with the Barbers came as a result of attending ALI's Midwest Immigration Summit in November 2003 held in Indianapolis.  The evening prior to the "summit," I and several other immigration-reduction activists had dinner with the Barbers, during which time Esther related how the local Mexican consulate was making her life a living hell because she and Bob spoke out against illegal immigration.  She repeated her tale of woe the next day during the summit luncheon, and she had everybody in the room in the palm of her hand.  That a foreign government was harassing a soon-to-be citizen of her adopted country was beyond the pale.

But a few years later we began hearing from Indiana activists that the Barbers had suddenly dropped their opposition to illegal immigration because of, well, you know, "economic reality," i.e., removing illegals from the state would hurt business owners and only drive up prices on consumer goods, housing, etc., etc.

In a written report to Indiana legislators dealing with the economic impact of any attempt to drive illegals from the state, Esther predicted a "30 percent hit from lost wages, lost business and less taxes paid if (Sen. Mike) Delph's bill passes." The Indianapolis Star, Feb 28, 2008.  Delph has been a thorn in Esther's side since he began efforts three years ago to crack down on illegal immigration.

Early last year she railed against a bill that would force Indiana employers to run new hires through the E-Verify program because it would "discriminate" against all Hispanics:

"I'm ready to fight this," she said. "Employers will be afraid to hire Hispanics."

And in her most recent defense of illegal aliens, Ms. Barber, who is the founder and executive director of  the Indianapolis-based Mexican Civic Association of Indiana (web site also defunct) says:

"Poor people come here seeking a better quality of life, like any human being," Barber said. "If that is a crime, everybody is a criminal in this country and all over the world."
I not sure Esther quite understands that there is nothing illegal about entering a country if you're poor provided that you do it legally.

Shortly before his death last fall, Bob Barber went before the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board on behalf of two illegal aliens seeking a liquor license.  He can be seen about half way through (1 hour mark) this video pleading their case.  (He is seated to the right and wearing a dark business suit.)  Despite the commission's knowledge that the applicants were here illegally, the licenses subsequently were approved, according to activists in that state.

Because Esther often is quoted by The Indianapolis Star as a leading advocate for illegal aliens, I though it important to tell Star reporter Jason Thomas about Esther's change of heart because his readers are entitled to know both sides of this issue.  I followed this with a letter to the editor that I have just learned was not selected for publication.

The Star's Opinions Editor Tim Swarens [Email him] explained his decision not to run my letter this way:

"Thanks for your message. A letter to the editor isn't the right forum for this type of dispute. Your accusations against Ms. Barber may be factually correct, or even warranted. I don't know, and I don't have the time to interview her to try to determine her motives or the facts of the case.

"If you want to discuss the issues involved with illegal immigration in Indiana or the Midwest, that's fine, of course. But going after Ms. Barber personally in a letter to the editor is another matter."

I disagree, of course, because the facts speak for themselves and I don't consider my criticism of her to be "personal." Besides, she also has the opportunity in either a letter to the editor or op-ed to rebut everything I said took place seven years ago.

In an e-mail announcing Bob's passing, Esther wrote this to an activist who also attended ALI's immigration summit:

"I just want to let you know that Bob just pass (sic) away, last Monday, I know that even when he was not actively involve (sic) he always was on your side ... please give this info to his friend from Chicago ... the one (Dave Gorak) who put the story about what the consul did to me... I can (sic) remember his name at this  moment."
"Always on our side"? And she still was carrying on about what the Mexican consulate "did" to her?

Why the Barbers opted to take the low road on our issue after all their whining about a Mexican government that was meddling in their lives is known only to Esther, but I'm going to suggest that perhaps their decision had something to do with that line from the 1976 movie, "All the President's Men," when "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook) advises Robert Woodward (Robert Redford) to "Follow the money."

Esther's betrayal of her new country that has given her the opportunity to live far better than she could have ever imagined will never get the national attention given to Lou Dobbs' sell-out, but it still serves as a reminder to me of something I learned to accept years ago:  We don't live in a Norman Rockwell world.