Thursday, April 30, 2009

Charlotte: Under the microscope

Charlotte's rapid immigration growth continues to draw attention from those looking to understand the country's changing demographics.

We reported this week on a new report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that stated Latino immigrants feel alienated in Charlotte because of increasingly hostile public opinion and greater immigration enforcement.

Here is a copy of the 25-page report, “Charlotte: A Welcome Denied."

Interestingly, the Wilson Center report came on the heels of similar report by the Southern Poverty Law Center that found low-income Latinos living in Charlotte -- regardless of their status -- are routinely the targets of wage theft, racial profiling and other abuses due to an anti-immigrant climate “encouraged by politicians and media figures who scapegoat immigrants.”

It's unclear why the two studies came out so closely together, but it shows that the immigration debate continues to gain steam. It also shows, as experts have predicted, that Charlotte is becoming a place to study how America addresses issues of growth and community in the 21st century.

Mecklenburg County has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the country. It has jumped from nearly 7,000 people in 1990 to more than 80,000 in 2007. Many arrived illegally.

Law center researchers interviewed about 100 people in Charlotte, for the report "Under Siege: Life for Low Income Latinos in the South." Legal residents, illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens were interviewed, the authors said.

Excerpts from the report about Charlotte:
Janet, a Latina teen living in Charlotte, told researchers she endures taunts in school, even though she is a U.S. citizen.

“[T]hey’ll be like, ‘Oh well, you’re just Mexican, go back to Mexico.’ You know, ‘Learn English,’” she said. “I am not even Mexican. I am very proud of my background but it bothers me, the stereotypes.”

When Charlotte was known as a welcoming city for immigrants, it was at a time when it needed immigrant hands to build its skyline. More than one advocate noted how Latino immigrants “built this city” and that “undocumented hands” were responsible for many of the homes, skyscrapers and marble floors.

However, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed public sentiment as illegal immigration became a security issue. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff ’s Office also implemented a 287(g) program, an agreement that allowed the department to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This program has been credited with fueling anti-immigrant sentiment. Talk radio in the city has been cited as a force in changing the perception of Latino immigrants from a community that helped build a better city to one that threatens the city itself.

The SPLC also released the following survey results from Charlotte interviews:
  • More than half (52 percent) of the survey respondents said there is racism when looking for a house in this area.
  • 66 percent said their willingness to speak to police has been affected by the county sheriff ’s 287(g) agreement with ICE.
  • 28 percent said they have performed work for which they were not paid.
  • 73 percent of those surveyed said they believe Latinos receive different treatment on the job.
  • Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) said women were treated differently than men on the job.

Photos: Southern Poverty Law Center


Anonymous said...

If you are caught being here illegal you should be deported no matter your ethnic background.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry that the illegals here feel they are treated unfairly. Well guess what it is NOT gonna change so pack up and get out, and make Charlotte a better place to live.I will feel safer driving on the roads not having to worry about me or my family getting killed by drunk illegals..

Anonymous said...

Blacks endured even worse treatment for hundreds of years and still do. For many many years they were forced to work manuel labor with no pay, if they refused they were beaten or killed. I think the latino population is treated well in this contry compared to the struggles of other races that were forced to come to america. The tide has turned and leagal americans should received all constructions jobs created by the stimulus package!

Anonymous said...

...driving safe on the roads and not having to worry about your family getting killed by "drunk illegals"???
Oh, my! and what about American/African-American people driving this morning - I counted five in less than ninety minutes - making dangerous turns (and not allowed in some cases) or ignoring speed limits???

We better get a real information about what we say or write about.

Larry said...

Under a microscope

That title should tell you a lot about the writer.

Just who is looking into this microscope? And where and why is this microscope needed?

And are we so small that the Observer sees us in Charlotte as small time?

As far as the first statement that Charlotte's rapid immigration growth continues to draw attention from those looking to understand the country's changing demographics. I find it strange that they are having a hard time understanding that the only way a society exists is fair laws and the MAJORITY of those people living within those laws abide by them.

Our immigration laws seem to cover those who wish to come to this country and helps prepare them so they are not as stated in this story "targets of wage theft, racial profiling and other abuses due to an anti-immigrant climate “encouraged by politicians and media figures who scapegoat immigrants.”

Perhaps those media figures and politicians are doing just what this writer is trying to do and sway people to think about what is right..... oh wait this writer wants us to forget the illegal part of these people being here in the first place.

Darn that nagging old question of if you are here should the fact you are here make you a citizen.

Maybe we should just start world wide travel where you like and move where you like with out even bothering to have a passport, green card, residency, name verification, history or anything else, just like nomads wandering from country to country at our pleasure never paying taxes and living off the government we are in at the time.

Of course you will always have people who are born and want to stay where they are and those are the people who would pay to operate the government and those benefits we expect as we travel.

Kind of a world wide club med.

Anonymous said...

Riiiiight, I feel terrible that these illegal immigrants are forced to endure a few comments here and there. As for the girl who complained about her high school classmates talking down to her b/c of her ethnicity-there aren't many high school kids that aren't chastised about SOMETHING. As long as these illegals are siphoning my tax money, crowding into ER's for free health care, and killing citizens are a higher DUI rate than the rest of the population, you'll get NO sympathy from me....

original anchor baby said...

I'm sorry for those that feel threatened by illegal immigrants who don't speak the English language. They are the ones taking your jobs? Maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself where your life took the wrong turn. That a person who doesn’t even speak the language is your primary competition for work.

The rest of us will worry about competing with other MBA's looking for mentally stimulating careers, while contracting illegal immigrants who provide superior service at a fraction of the price.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out that these illegal immigrants "built this city." Now, authorities can go to all these construction sites and arrest the illegals and fine the owners for hiring them in the first place. I think there are plenty of people out of work who would love to have those jobs. Until business owners are held accountable for hiring "undocumented" (ie illegal) workers, they will continue to come because they will continue to get jobs. Starting at the top would do a lot to help solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

Illegals built this city? So some of these idiots think this city was born when they arrived here?
This city and this nation go back before 1776.
We know Bush made the elitist ignorant comment that illegals do jobs noone else would do? We know he meant his Bush Crime Family who have never done a days work in their lives.
So who did these jobs for 300 yrs before they recently got here?

Who is bringing all the drugs in from Mexico? Driving drunk killing citizens every day? Where are all these Mexican gangs coming from?

ps Blacks never endured bad treatment. This is all myth. They were all treated very good and still are. Whites did them a favor taking them out of the jungle otherwise where would they be right now? Ever been to Africa? What a cesspool of filth death disease and poverty.

Anonymous said...

What I hate is that we keep using the word "immigrant" when it should say illegal immigrants! I am not against immigrants only illegal immigrants while it seems the immigrants are for the illegals. If we had legal immigrants working to help maintain our borders and our standard of living then we would not be so confused about the use of the word immigrant.
It upsets me that I get a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt yet, someone who is here illegally and is breaking the law is given a pass.

Anonymous said...

Why is it any surprise that there is racism when illegals look for housing? When I lived in Maryland a few years ago, illegals would move 20+ people into a rented house... what impact do you think that has on the citizens who are actually working towards building a community? Renting to illegals is no different than marking your entire neighborhood for section 8 housing. Propery values plummet, never to return. It was the same problem in Chicago, where illegals trashed whole neighborhoods... just like the neighborhoods in their countries of origin.

America owes illegal immigrants NOTHING. If they want to steal across the border to work, fine. Do the work and then go home. But don't have the nerve to thing you're owed anything else. If you want to immigrate legally, fill out the proper paperwork and follow our laws. It's really not that complicated...

Anonymous said...

Who ever wrot whites did blacks a favor by bringing them to America needs help from above. you can't deny the truth! how would you like it if someone from another country came here and took your children and brought you from the goverment and thrusted you into a life of slavery? it's against the law to hold anyone against their will.

To the person who made the comment about having an MBA. People with MBA's are also loosing jobs! They're out of work longer than a person who didn't complete High School. I guess you have an MBA? If you did I don't think you would have time to post comments, since having an MBA makes you so much better than everyone else.

Anonymous said...

How about if everyone return to the country they were born? They could take what they have learned and help make their original country a good place to live.

My grandson came up with this, I had to straighten him out immediately!

Anonymous said...

I am a white life-long Southerner, but I hate to break it to the folks that think Africans were done a favor by commiting them to a life of slavery.

And for the "speak the language or go home" crowd, that does not sound like native American indian to me. They did not tell Europeans to speak the language or go home. Overall, they welcomed Europeans until Europeans started taking the land from them. Americans need to remember that the settlers came here and took this land from others. While I am a proud American, I keep a little truer perspective on our history.

JED said...

Main Entry: 1il•le•gal
Pronunciation: \(ˌ)i(l)-ˈlē-gəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French illegal, from Medieval Latin illegalis, from Latin in- + legalis legal
Date: 1538
: not according to or authorized by law : UNLAWFUL, ILLICIT ; also : not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)

Main Entry: un•law•ful
Pronunciation: \ˌən-ˈlȯ-fəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 14th century
1 : not lawful : ILLEGAL 2 : not morally right or conventional

Main Entry: crime
Pronunciation: \ˈkrīm\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin crimen accusation, reproach, crime; probably akin to Latin cernere to sift, determine
Date: 14th century
1: an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law ; especially : a gross violation of law2: a grave offense especially against morality3: criminal activity.

Main Entry: 2criminal
Function: noun
Date: circa 1626
1 : one who has committed a crime 2 : a person who has been convicted of a crime.

I hope this clears things up for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Whites wish very much that slavery had never existed and the hands of time could be turned back to correc it. Slavery was a trick by the slave merchants and tribal chiefs who sold them off anyway using biblical scripture to justify it. Slavery was a total major mistake for European Americans and was needed like a hole in the head plus the worse economic system ever when hired help and sharecropping was a million times better. It would be a complete lie to say African black slaves were not helped 100% and that slavery was not their white savior otherwise they would have returned to Africa but only a few went back to Liberia.

Maybe we can invent a time machine one day and lets see how many would volunteer to return. Yea rite. Like Chris Rock said even if whites moved to Mars blacks would follow them there.

America African blacks can consider themselves the luckiest people on earth a trillion times over. Nobody wants to to go to Africa. Even Muhammed Ali after his mid 70s Zaire fight promised never to return. Go fig.

If slaves were treated so badly as the liars say why did 100% take their masters last surnames without exceptions and not a single one ever filed a reparations lawsuit? No not one. If you were so badly abused would you take the last name of your ex-owner?
Slaves got everything free in exchange for a little soft labor cleaning house and picking cotten.
How lucky can you get. Get out of the jungle. Get free homes. Free food. Free clothing. Free medicals. Free childcare. Free eveything and then get freedom. Most slaves stayed and worked for their ex-masters anyway where their homes were.