Rep. Lou Barletta: New Immigrants Have Made US a Sinking Ship

rep. lou barletta

Latino_RebelsBy Latino Rebels

Is Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta part of some unknown Italian American tribe that has always been here in this country because last time we checked the Ellis Island records, there are about 667 people named Barletta who crossed the Atlantic Ocean for a better life in the United States of America. Guess Rep. Barletta can’t be related to any of those Barlettas, because why would he continue his mythical narrative that the country’s 21st-century immigrants are just bad and dangerous for this country, and that we have “unsecure” borders?

Barletta was at it again this week after talking to The New York Times about his hometown of Hazleton, which, according to the Times, which had passed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act in 2006. The person who led that charge? Lou Barletta. As the newspaper reports:

On Wednesday, [Barletta] wrote to a bipartisan group of eight House members working on an immigration overhaul bill to criticize them for heading “down the path of proposing some form of amnesty.”

Mr. Barletta, a Republican, said he expected the group to present a bill shortly after the Easter recess, a counterpart to a Senate effort to allow millions of illegal immigrants to work legally and to begin a path to citizenship without having to return home first.

In an interview at his district office in Hazleton, Mr. Barletta said Republican leaders in Washington want to “get immigration off the table” because it had been so costly in November, when President Obama won re-election with a landslide of Hispanic votes.

“Why are we even talking about a pathway to citizenship when our borders aren’t even close to being secure?” said Mr. Barletta, vowing to fight a plan that would allow millions of illegal immigrants to compete legally for jobs.“Let’s not take on any more water on this sinking ship,” he said. “Let’s patch the holes. Then we’ll decide what do we do with all this water that’s here.”

Got it, Lou. You got yours already.

And what about this whole Hazleton 2006 law and the hope that it would drive the “illegals” from the town? First, the local residents need to stop thinking that all U.S. Latinos are “illegals.” Second, the Latino population in Hazleton is now at 37%, according to the Times article. Is Barletta thinking about his comments and taking them into consideration as election time gets closer? By the way, these newer Hazleton residents are speaking out:

Hispanic residents said they felt their entire population was stigmatized by the crackdown on illegal immigrants. Felix Perez, a Walmart employee with two daughters, 2 and 9, recalled a time he hesitated at the wheel of his car, unsure which way to turn, and the non-Hispanic driver behind him got out with a gun in his hand. “He saw my face, he knew I was Spanish,” Mr. Perez said. “They believe we are all the same because we look the same.”

Erika Hernandez, a community liaison, disputed the mayor and Mr. Barletta’s claims that efforts aimed at illegal immigrants are not a reflection on other Hispanics. The actions send a message of blanket hostility, she said.

“They don’t see people like me, who went to college,” said Ms. Hernandez, who was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Hazleton as a teenager. “I’m an immigrant. I’m not living off the government. I speak English.”

“They don’t see me,” she repeated.

This article was first published in Latino Rebels.

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