A small town in Florida, devastated by hurricanes, rebuilt by an influx of illegal immigrants, now has a 3% Latino population. Unemployment is low. Crime rates are low. But a local Sheriff takes it upon himself to “crackdown” on illegal immigration. He admits he has no legal authority to enforce Federal law, but he personally leads immigration raids on local businesses, hoping to find undocumented workers who have violated state law. The Sheriff’s raids use race as the determining factor when making arrests. Businesses known to employ Latinos are targeted. When the Sheriff finds a business with no Latino workers, he calls off the raid and arrests no one. A popular restaurant, after being raided by the Sheriff in February, is still unable to find enough employees to stay in business. But the old-timers of the town are happy, because as one man states, “there are definitely less Spanish speakers.”

Is this good for America?

New York TimesYouTube video

29 Thoughts to “Is this the NEW story of a 21st century America?”

  1. Rick Bentley

    Yes it’s good for America. We need to maintain wages. We need to maintain standard of living. Our ancestors and predecessors fought hard for these things and we shouldn’t let go of them just to help the rich make a quick buck. If you can’t afford to pay legal wages, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE A RESTAURANT, at least not in America.

  2. Juturna

    Well, the workers are not the problem are they? Why is the IRS not investigating for payroll fraud? Why did they not go after the Lansdowne folks??

    Until this is picked up properly by the feds/state, the locals can only go after the easy targets which is ultimately not solving the problem and only making everyone mostly unhappy regardless of opinion…..

  3. Elena

    I urge you to actually watch the video in its entirety before you comment, I think it would be helpful in understanding the post. The restaurant owner is clearly not the “rich people” you are speaking of, he is the meat and potatoes of this country, the small business. Since you chose not to address the singling out of hispanics, does that mean that part doesn’t bother you? On some level, the sheriff seems to engage in an old fashioned witch hunt to me, only instead of witches, they are latinos.

    The employer paid taxes to his employees. He now has employees with 6 month visas but has no idea how he will fill their spots once the visa’s are no longer valid. Does this sound like sane behavior of a country based on the principals of capitalism?

  4. The kind of crap one sees in the video will leave long term scars on our nation’s psyche. And some rejoice at the thought…

    Once upon a time, I had dreams of being a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Navy fighter pilot or submariner was my ultimate goal (Top Gun or the Hunt for Red October). I went through the lengthy application process, took the medical tests, won a nomination but in the end I went to a small liberal arts college in Fredericksburg. I often wonder how different my life would have been if I had had the honor to join the long line of midshipmen. I especially regret having missed out on the lifelong friendships that would have been forged in such a crucible. In the face of adversity, midshipmen of all backgrounds learn to pull together.
    The contrast with the divisiveness of the current immigration debate cannot be more stark. We are supposed to be a team in this country…but instead of pulling together…we are pulling apart. The acrimony of the immigration debate is bound to leave deep scars on the country’s sense of unity for decades to come. I will never forget the face of America that I have seen emerge these past few years. A face I had thought could only be found in old black and white newsreels. Now I can see that once people are given an excuse…an excuse cloaked in the illusion of legitimacy…
    Our country may be facing some very dark days ahead. Who can say how much wider this war abroad will spread or how much longer it will go on? We’re going to need all the national unity we can muster and our society seems to be fracturing. Divide and conquer is a military maxim. Division comes first, followed by conquest. And although we face a common enemy, an enemy that is growing in strength, we seem to have forgotten that this military maxim can just as easily be applied to us, especially when we are doing it to ourselves.

  5. Marie

    As the young women stated in the video no one cared when the Hispanics were fixing the roofs that were blown off during hurrican Ivan. No one cared when the Hispanics labored to fix their town but when they no longer served the town’s need or purpose……..The sheriff conveniently ran them off. Politicians!!!! Won’t they have a lot to answer for one day.

  6. Rick Bentley

    Good, I hope some mistreatment and cheating did happen. Then when these people return to their home countries they will tell their friends and family NOT TO COME HERE instead of encouraging them to MIGRATE HERE EN MASSE.

    There’s either a red carpet out, or not. We either provide incentive, or disincentive.

  7. Just Cause

    Marie thats not a fair statement, I’m sure the laborers were PAID for their work. I bet they didnt donate their services!

  8. Juturna

    No it doesn’t. But leaving the problem to the locals is extreme. My point.

  9. Just Cause

    Then I dont get your point? Leaving it to the locals?

    Case in point: Had roof damage on my townhouse. I called a reputable roofing company who came out to my home, Neatly dressed, Handed me his business card, Went up on my roof, Itemized on paper what needed to replaced/Repaired and then we discussed cost for labor and materials. I told him I needed to get another estimate to compare and he understood.. Then later that day, 3 Amigos approached me as I was sitting outside, All 3 looked like they had just finished painting a house since they were all dirty from the paint and all sweaty, spoke to me in broken english. Kept pointing up to my roof and asked if the could FIX IT..”We fix it for you..Cheap..Cash Only” and they repeated this over and over and over..and I kept asking for a business card..and they duidnt understand what I was asking, I also asked where their vehicle was…and they kept on asking to repair my roof..” we do it cheap but Cash Only today for you”..

    Now..They gave me a ridiculously low price and this is all WITHOUT going on top and looking at the damage..They never mentioned material costs or anything..

    Soooo guess my Point is..Who’s the real Criminal?

  10. I stand by my earlier assertion that Rick Bentley is really a pro-immigrant troll bent on embarrassing and discrediting the Anti-Immigrant Lobby. His posts are too laughable to be serious.


    Where are are the Rule of Law Loonies? How do you feel about Sheriff Wendall Hall breaking the law in order to capitalize upon your resentments and phobias? Does it bother you that he is doing something “illegal?” Doesn’t that make him an Illegal Sheriff? What part of Illegal Sheriff don’t you understand?

    This Sheriff has been watching a little too much Lou Dobbs. Dimwit knows he has an election coming up, so he decides to “crack down” on 3 percent of the population? If he’d been watching any credible news stations, he’d know that politicians who have tried to use Anti-Immigrant hysteria for electioneering have lost more often than they’ve won. This ratio will increase as time goes on. I predict he’ll be voted out of office this year.

  11. Moon-howler

    Wait staff in restaurants are not paid much at all, anywhere. Most of their income comes from tips. Usually the kitchen help at most places, unless the kitchen manager, is paid minimum wage.

    I think the point is, most people, regardless of status, don’t want to hang around to see if they will be next. History is not kind to this kind of behavior from law enforcement.

    Many places in Florida are not known for their enlightenment.

  12. Censored bybvbl

    Just Cause, my husband and I use licensed and insured tree cutters – because we want both their men and our house insured against injury/damage. One day we were out in the yard when a pick-up truck drove down the street behind us. Three drunk good-old-boys (one with only one arm) jumped out and asked if we had any trees we wanted to have taken down…at half the price our usual tree cutter asks.

    Soooo guess my Point is..Who’s the real Criminal?

  13. Censored bybvbl

    Moon-howler, my dad used to arrest a lot of the kitchen help at one of our favorite delis…all for felonies. My mother and I used to cringe when we had to eat at that place. We were sure someone would ,umm, flavor our soup in retaliation when we met him there for lunch. (All the felons were white and black.)

  14. Juturna

    Just Cause and Elena – I think that the feds leaving the problem for the locals results in the locals going about it backwards. Locals can only go after the illegals. They can’t close the borders, do anything about the schools, go after employers. That is my point. So what is happening is awful. Locals are handling the only way they can by going after the most vulnerable in the chain that exists in this country that supports illegal immigration – the illegals.

    I am against illegal immigration but I also have a social conscience and think that they are here because someone is letting them come and paying them. If they are to be the only targets in solving this problem that is wrong. If the ony illegal immigrant fixes are to continue to be the locals that is very bad news for all of us. Look what happened here.

  15. Elena

    100% in agreement, the abdication of the federal governments duty to deal with this issue has been a travesty!

  16. Marie

    Just Cause,
    I never said the workers were not paid. I am sure they were but it was okay to pay them and to have them do the labor to rebuild the town after the hurricane. After that they seemed to be disposible.

    There are no easy answers or solutions to this issue. The Federal Government has turned their heads for years and years. Locals do not have the resources to resolve the issue and I am afraid the locals have treated many immigrants inhumanley. The issue will never have a resolution as long as this country continues to have open borders, north, south, east and west. Comprehensive Immigration reform is needed and it is needed yesterday. It seems silly to me to keep mopping up the water from the floor when the roof is still leaking. Fix the damn roof first.

  17. Just Cause

    response to Censored bybvbl, 16. June 2008, 16:32 post.

    Your answering my question with a question..thats typical, Obviously you made up a situation so you could spin it around…but…I did find it ironic how you refrenced the “Three drunk good-old-boys” in your comment. In other words, When you POINT a finger at me, there are 3 fingers pointing BACK at you!

  18. Just Cause

    Marie- OK I see your point and I do agree with most of your statement , but I still dont get that you think they were disposal. See, this kind of mind set gives most illegals the attitude that we as Citizens “OWE” them something. Yes they did a job and they were PAID for the job and my debt has been paid.

    What about the ” orange suits” that I see picking up trash along the roadside, They are law breakers but because they picked up the trash, I should now let them run free in my Community?

  19. Just Cause

    Is it just me or does it appear that no matter what the situation is or who it happens to..Censored bybvbl has been there and done it too…hmmmm

  20. Daughter of Italy

    This is an incredibly sad commentary on how the immigration issue has created a social space for clearly racist actions. It also show the hypocrisy of white American citizens who are all too willing to exploit undocumented labor when they need it.

  21. Moon-howler

    Censored has led an interesting life. I find her experiences enrich this blog.
    Some people can just retell an event so it becomes a good story rather than just an …event.

  22. Just Cause

    So…Censored bybvbl is just a story teller??? Ohhhh ….hmmm how does THAT enrich the blog? anyone with imagination can tell a good story..Why not just tell the event as it REALLY happened?……oooops never mind…propaganda…got it!

  23. Just Cause

    Hang in there Daughter of Italy, less then 20 years from now, The white race will be the new minority and then whites can scream ” RACE CARD, RACE CARD, RACE CARD….

  24. Rick Bentley

    “It also show the hypocrisy of white American citizens who are all too willing to exploit undocumented labor when they need it”

    It’s mostly whites that profiteered? Damn I thought this was an integrated country.

    And as far as the what happened in PWC with all the foreclosed homes, Latinos did a great job of exploiting Latinos in that mess … it’s not whites marketing homes in Spanish, not even in English …

  25. Censored bybvbl

    Just Cause, merely because my true story doesn’t fit your agenda doesn’t make it false. PWC had a large population of good-old-boys plying the construction trades about fifteen or twenty years ago…many of them fly-by-night con artists. Ya wanna know about the drywall hangers who had to puff a few joints before they started the job and then disappeared for their court date before the job was finished? Or the roofers who couldn’t figure the square footage to give an estimate? Or the paroled rapist on the plumbing crew?

    BTW, before you point your finger at me, consider the reason I phrased my description as I did. You started your comparision of the two work crews with “3 Amigos”. I just wanted to let you know that three “good-old-boys” were doing the same thing.

  26. Moon-howler

    Just cause, do not attempt to twist my words. I did not say nor imply that Censored bybvbl lies, prevaricates, or embellishes. How dare you question her motives or her veracity!

  27. Moon-howler


    You should have seen the truck load of good ole boys who came by here 2 weeks ago offering to take trees down. I believe he told me his name was ‘Billy’ and he was afraid of dogs. I made sure he knew mine was big and mean and currently in the house but he could get out if I called to him. I believe I referred to him as Killer. That is just his nickname, however 😉

    Billy was snockered and bargained the downing of a huge tree if I promised not to tell his grandpa. I asked to see his bonding license and his insurance. Well, he never came back. And my big old tree is still out back, full of catepillars. I think Billy and his buds must have found a job to buy enough beer to take them on their merry way.

    No amigos in sight. Just Billy-good-ole boys

  28. Censored bybvbl

    Ha ha, Moon-howler, you’re right about how some of the good-old-boys arrive at the right price. Hmmm. How many Buds can I buy at this price… Your tree trimmers and mine must have attended the same school of economics.

  29. Moon-howler

    Censored, yea, the bud economics of tree trimmin’. Or how many drunk good ole boys does it take to fell a tree? There has to be a good answer to that one.

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