Oct 8, 2007
Simi Valley’s mayor and city council have attacked a church offering sanctuary to an immigrant trying to keep her family together.
The United Church of Christ in the California town has been protecting a woman known only as Liliana. Liliana’s husband and three children are all U.S. citizens, but her application for an immigrant visa was denied.
After the church took Liliana in, a right-wing group called “Save Our State” held a protest that drew 120 protesters and counter protesters to the church last month. According to news reports, an anti-immigrant protester sprayed an immigrant-rights activist in the face with a chemical agent.
Did the city go after the aggressors who had caused this violence? No – after the protest, the city presented the CHURCH with a bill for $40,000, to cover the cost of the police presence at the protest!
The city council must have heard from lawyers who told them they’d be crazy to try collecting on the bill, because they decided to set it aside. But even so, the mayor continues to say the church has a “moral obligation” to pay, since it is “harboring an illegal immigrant.”
The city continued looking for ways to harass the church. The mayor wrote a letter to the Homeland Security department – and then flew to Washington, D.C. on the taxpayers’ dime, to meet with officials to get this woman deported.
A number of small towns across the country passed anti-immigrant laws last year. Simi Valley is yet another group of local officials trying to appeal to the most disgusting, reactionary part of their populations, with political grandstanding meant to get them publicity. Even if they end up pulling back, they help to stigmatize and attack a victimized population.
The people who should be sanctioned are not the woman – or many millions more like her – just trying to survive. Nor those in this country who would support them.
Those who deserve to be condemned are the virulent racists and do-nothing fools who work to divide the laboring people of this country.