Sunday, July 17, 2005

U.S. Anti-Immigration Movement Spreads - Yahoo! News

U.S. Anti-Immigration Movement Spreads - Yahoo! News: "By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 58 minutes ago

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - A volunteer movement that vows to guard America from a wave of illegal immigration has spread from the dusty U.S.-Mexican border to the verdant hollows of Appalachia."

At least 40 anti-immigration groups have popped up nationally, inspired by the Minuteman Project that rallied hundreds this year to patrol the Mexican border in Arizona.

"It's like O'Leary's cow has kicked over the lantern. The fire has just started now," said Carl "Two Feathers" Whitaker, an American Indian activist and perennial gubernatorial candidate who runs the Tennessee Volunteer Minutemen, aimed at exposing those who employ illegals.

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Members of the Hamblen County Commission recently suggested that Hispanic immigrants were to blame if property taxes have to be raised next year -- though commissioners insisted they were talking only about illegal immigrants.

County Commissioner Tom Lowe, who says "we do not want (all) Hispanics stereotyped as illegal," estimates as many as 85 percent of Hamblen's Hispanics are -- and he fears they carry drug-resistant disease.

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"We could be two or three aliens away from an epidemic that would sweep through our county and state," the retired pharmacist said.

Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey said, like Lowe, he supports immigration laws, but finds such comments disturbing. "I think you have to be careful when you are expressing your opinion on that, that you don't appear as if you are against diversity as a whole," he said.

Guatemala native Noel Montepeque, who owns a company that provides a variety of blue-collar jobs to Hispanics, said the tone has changed since the first migrant farm workers passed through the area in the 1990s.

"Now they are getting afraid of the many Hispanic folks coming in," Montepeque said. "And we are coming to stay."

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