"Activists on both sides of the immigration debate squared off Saturday on the street that divides Dumont and Bergenfield, rallying within shouting distance of the day laborers who are at the center of their battle. Members of the pro-immigrant Residents Against Racism showed up to counter-protest an anti-illegal immigration group, the United Patriots of America, which holds weekly rallies on the Dumont side of Columbia Avenue. The UPA has targeted the location for more than a year because of a day laborer pick-up spot across the street in Bergenfield.” (Shih, Bergen Record)
This issue will soon be playing at a theater near you. Morristown was last month; this month it is Dumont and Bergenfield.
Next month, maybe somewhere in a western New Jersey county. With the group "United Patriots of America", a Linden-based group present leading the way.
This is not an issue that developed happened overnight. It was years in the making and the components were:
 a federal government cutting the budget of the INS to pay for those tax cuts the Republicans wanted;
 small businesses and private home-owners willing to hire those willing to work at low-paying jobs ---some times ‘off the books’ and less than minimum wages; and
 a group of men and women willing to do the job.
Requiring local law enforcement to police such activity will result in doing nothing more than shifting the cost of enforcement from the federal government to local governments --- which will have an impact on local property taxes. Training local police to be knowledgeable in the laws will also be a cost factor.
The Linden-based group, United Patriots of America [a dubious name for a group espousing such racism, to say the least], brought in some supporters last week from across New Jersey and across state-lines: The Carlstadt-based NJ Citizens for Immigration Control and the New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement joined them.
Their claim that their “big gripe is with the employers…It's illegal for businesses to hire these people, but they do” rings somewhat hollow. Week after week they come and intimidate the day laborers waiting for work. None of their actions seem to be focused on the employers’ businesses, as per their statement.
Their website has pictures of unidentified day laborers, with the caption reading "Illegal aliens are pictured below behind the Bergenfield police station." And the picture is followed by statistics regarding illegal aliens.
Strangely enough this website page also contains the disclaimer, "Privacy is important to us; therefore, we will not sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone." However, this is on the same page as the photo of the "day laborers" ---and I am sure that the UPA failed to get the permission of those in the photo to post their likeness on the web. Obviously, privacy is not that important to the UPA.
The website also contains the following picture under the link "Tar and Feathers", with the following high-lighted text:
Tarring and feathering is a physical punishment, at least as old as the Crusades, used to enforce formal justice in feudal Europe and informal justice in Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance (compare Lynch law).
Why this is on their website is never fully explained.
Sadly, their activities reminded me of the scene in “Gangs of New York” where the jingoistic ‘nativists’ shout profanities at the Irish coming off the boats to New York circa 1860, protesting their arrival in America.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.