Maybe I should say "If you address the negatives."
I get a lot of email from readers of my columns in The Western Tribune and readers of this blog (from people who do not want to post comments). Most of it is supportive, but some is not. One question I hear from time to time is why do I focus so much on negative stuff about Bessemer.
So I went back through the archives a few weeks, and while I admit some things may be negative to me and positive to others, and vice versa, it comes out about even. I mean, a column about a shooting could also have information about efforts to reduce crime...so is that a positive or negative article about Bessemer?
Anyway, "negative" stories usually reveal some type of inappropriate activity, be it crime or hypocrisy or plagiarism or inaccurate reporting by newspapers, and those types of activities need to be made public. Not reporting on these types of things is equal to participating in it. That is why The Western Tribune out performs the Western Star in every instance. If you report "news" in Bessemer, which is what "newspapers" should do, there are going to be "negative" stories. At least there are stories...
So I am going to comment on this report aired last night on Fox 6. It is about Donald Moulton, who already has a breach of contract suit against him filed by a former business owner in Homewood, and federal charges of identity theft and mail fraud as reported on Bessemer Opinions and now theft of services charges filed by former employees at the Broken Vessel Church.
I still have hopes that this church can become a postive thing for the community, but not under his "leadership." A prominant area pastor is considering taking over the ministry. I have not said this about the church before, but let's just hope that whoever takes it over will be open and accepting of all the communities of Bessemer, including the gay community. Maybe that is why the Baptist church there dwindled, because "they" pick and choose who God should love (although in their case it had more to do with racism than homophobia).
Another community that is picked on is the latino community. My column in The Western Tribune today is about immigration, and here it is, minus possible editing. Stop now if you want to wait and read it in the paper. I refered to testimony of Sam Brooke in the column. If anyone wants to read the entire testimony I will email it to you.
This could easily have been an 800 word column, and been more informative, but space restrictions limited it.
Immigration is a hot topic but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone knew the facts before forming opinions and voicing them on talk radio and such?
The state’s Joint Interim Patriotic Immigration Commission held a public hearing recently and some little known facts were revealed during the testimony. Sam Brooke, Law Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, took the opportunity to dispel several myths, as the following examples from his testimony point out.
One myth is that immigrants without legal status cause a rise in criminal activity. The fact is that an increase in immigrants – with or without legal status- generally causes a reduction in crime. This was proven in court in Hazelton, PA, when anti-immigrant ordinances were being challenged, and testimony brought the true facts out.
In addition it has been shown in our own state that immigrants are more likely to be the victims rather than the perpetrators of criminal activity. We only need to look as far as Lipscomb where Hispanics were recently being targeted to realize this, but an article from the Montgomery Advertiser (October 16, 2007) also backs this up.
Another myth is that immigrants drain public health dollars and put a strain on medical services. A recent study in Georgia estimated that undocumented immigrants contribute between $215 and $252 million to the state’s coffers, and in Texas it is estimated they contribute $380 million more than they use in relation to state-provided services. While similar numbers are not available for our state, it can be concluded that immigrants who lack legal status do not cost our state money.
Immigrants without legal status have been made scapegoats over these issues. To combat this, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the ACLU of Alabama are encouraging the Immigration Commission and our Legislature to treat immigrants with respect and dignity as they find solutions that are inclusive of this growing community.
And they should remember that only the federal government can regulate employment and presence of immigrants. Laws in other states that have attempted to challenge this authority have not been upheld. It would not make sense to have a hodge-podge of laws that differ from state to state regarding who can come into our country.
The federal government has failed to address the immigration issue, but that does not mean we should attempt to solve the problems on a state by state basis. Rather, we should be encouraging the Congress and President to find workable solutions without stereotyping or making scapegoats of people. Solutions that allow well intentioned immigrants to live and contribute to our society as they move toward full citizenship are solutions we can all live with.