It's been quite a year for the immigration debate. Here are just a few quotes culled from some of the biggest stories of 2009 that we covered in This Land. Thanks for making it a successful first year for the blog.
Happy New Year!
"It’s pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-security. And the time to pass it into law is right now. " Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D -IL) introducing his 600 page bill on Dec. 15 to reform the nation's immigration laws.
"He's not the devil, but he is certainly a man who is right now not making it easy to understand why he's making the public-policy choices that he is." -- Former CNN host Lou Dobbs talking about President Obama to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on Nov. 17 after leaving the cable news network.
“In the middle of one of the worst recessions in American history, our N.C. Community College Board decides to help illegal immigrants enroll in college when our state unemployment rate is 11 percent.” - Ron Woodard, director of NC Listen. In a Nov. 30 email regarding voters in a Civitas Institute competition selecting a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to enroll in N.C. community colleges as the year’s worst bill.
"You go to work every day and if you make a mistake, you got a colonoscopy coming from the command staff." -- Senior Cpl. Glenn White of president of the Dallas Police Association, in October after 20 Dallas police officers wrongly gave $204 traffic tickets to some drivers who didn’t speak English.
"He's out having a taco." -- ESPN announcer Bob Griese on Oct. 24 in response to a query from a fellow announcer asking where is Juan Pablo Montoya. Griese received a one-game suspension for the comment.
“It’s all politics.” - Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking to the press on Oct. 6 after the federal government stripped his office of its authority to patrol for illegal immigrants.
"You lie!" - U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson shouted to President Obama during his address before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9.
“I can tell you that within our organization there are real racists." Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, which advocates for greater immigration restrictions, in a July 10 meeting with advocates in favor and against immigration reform.
"There are extremes in our coalition who really are for open borders; who really are for emptying the jails. And you know we get tagged with them. They get wrapped around our neck the same way the hate crimes get wrapped around Roy’s neck." -- Douglas Rivlin formerly of the National Immigration Forum in a July 10 meeting with advocates in favor and against immigration reform.
"At the end of the day, if we're going to achieve legalization of a major share of the undocumented, we realize there will have to be some give and take over worker verification. We're not against it necessarily if all of the other pieces of immigration reform fall into place." -- Mike Garcia, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1877 in Los Angeles.
"I was just trying to save lives. We're not asking permission from the United States to save people's lives. We never have, because we know they'd say no." -- Walt Staton, 27, a volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths who was convicted of littering on federal land because he left jugs of water for illegal immigrants walking through the desert.
"It’s not an ethnic thing. If you look at how people in East Charlotte live. They eat in these restaurants. We're known for the restaurants. The community is supporting the restaurants. We’re trying to market the restaurants. So for the whole community to be labeled as not accepting of Latino people and diversity it is a slap in the face." - Ed Garber, chairman of the Eastside Political Action Committee, who says allegations are off base that the clampdown on the taco trucks operating on Central Avenue is a form of ethnic discrimination.
"The idea was great if we had the money. It was basically an add-on. But if the funding is not there, it's not there." - Sen. Larry Martin, a Pickens County Republican on a planned hotline to accept complaints about illegal immigrants not being set up in South Carolina.
We can't continue with a broken immigration system. It's not good for anybody. It's not good for American workers. It's dangerous for Mexican would- be workers who are trying to cross a dangerous border. It is putting a strain on border communities, who often times have a deal with a host of undocumented workers. And it keeps those undocumented workers in the shadows, which means they can be exploited at the same time as they're depressing U.S. wages. - President Barack Obama in a White House press conference about his first 100 days in office.