Freedom Folks

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Making Heroes of Rosa and Jorge

Last week, illegal aliens Rosa Ramirez and Jorge Ibarra filed a complaint against Jim Oberweis, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Rod Blagojevich for the Illinois governorship.

I covered the story here. The ICIRR (one of the organizations "helping" to file the complaint) made this press release. Jim Oberweis responds here.

I attended the Immigrant Justice Convention (sponsored by ICIRR) at Chicago's Navy Pier today. Read overview here.

Now, this conference was billed as being about immigration reform. Having stood through the whole presentation, let me expand on that for you. It was about rewarding people for breaking our laws. It was about brushing aside the fact that they came here illegally to take jobs illegally, to stay here illegally, and to live here illegally.

Which is why the crowd cheered when Rosa and Jorge took the stage. And why not? They are the poster children for supporters -- from average folks to politicians -- of the continued blatant mockery of our immigration policies and laws.

First we were shown a clip of the arch-villain, Jim Oberweis, speaking out against illegal immigration during his 2004 campaign for the Republican senatorial nomination. (Loud boos from the audience.)

Then we were told that Rosa and Jorge were used by Jim Oberweis to clean his dairy stores for one month, from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week, for $3.23 an hour.

Up comes the video (conveniently taken in the wee hours by Chicago Workers' Coalition) of Rosa and Jorge entering the Oberweis store in Arlington Heights. Just over a minute into the video, we see Rosa hard at work (conveniently cleaning the glass front door identifying it as an Oberweis store) with a huge grin on her face. Reminds me of Cindy Sheehan grinning through her terrible ordeal of being arrested in front of the White House.

Next we hear from Jorge and Rosa themselves (en espanol).

Jorge says he worked for a month cleaning Oberweis stores. That his first paycheck was half of what he was promised, and that on his second paycheck he never got paid. He says that after using them, Oberweis complains about immigration.

Rosa says she also worked for a month cleaning Oberweis ice cream stores. After they made a complaint, the Minutemen asked for their deportation. She asks for our help. Last week many people saw them on TV, and now they congratulate them. She says there are 4 million "undocumented people" here, and that we must fight for immigration reform for all.

Another speaker says that Jorge and Rosa are "targets of the Minutemen," so they had to go into hiding, and that the whole immigrant community stands behind them. This is belied by the fact that I (and the four people I came with) are part of the Minuteman organization, and we somehow managed to refrain from taking the stage to physically accost our "targets."

I hardly know where to start. First, the claims against Oberweis were never referred to as alleged. They were issued as if they are proven, irrefutable facts. For starters, there is no question that Jim Oberweis did not directly hire the pair. If they were hired (also in question) at all by a company to do the work, it was Patmar Janitorial Services, who Oberweis sub-contracts to clean his stores. They claim that it was one of their employees who paid Rosa and Jorge to do his job, and that they never even hired them directly. At best, this story is far too muddy at this point to be making definitive, ah-HA, gotcha! claims.

Second, the whole thing stinks of a political smear job. I mean, come on...a Chicago labor group happens to be strolling through the dark Chicago suburbs in the middle of the night to capture video of two illegal aliens cleaning the store of a possible Republican candidate who speaks out against illegal immigration? To quote John Stossel, "GIMME A BREAK!"

Third, we have the gleeful opportunity to denounce the Chicago Minuteman organization for -- EGADS! -- suggesting that the law be enforced. The nerve of those people! God forbid someone suggest that a clear-cut case of illegals breaking the law by working in America (as in -- Hey, we want to complain that this guy who didn't hire us or pay is guilty of underpaying us for our illegal work) be prosecuted.

Rosa Ramirez and Jorge Ibarra are no heroes. They are in this country in violation of U.S. law. They have worked in this country in violation of U.S. law. They are criminals.

And the last time I checked, heroes and criminals are two very different things.

As seen @
The Immigration Blog





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