Angry Virginia Residents Say 'No' to Obama Administration's Plan to House Illegals
LAWRENCEVILLE, Virginia—Over 1,000
angry residents of the small, rural town here gathered at
High School on Thursday and reamed out local, state, and federal
government officials for offering the St. Paul’s College building
as temporary emergency shelter for 500 unaccompanied alien
(UACs) coming from Texas. St. Paul’s, a historically black
college, shut down five years ago after losing its accreditation.
“Right now we have a town—I can go
home. I can get supper. At 9 o'clock at night I can come back to
office by myself, go in there and do work, come out at 11:30, get in
car and never worry about being harmed. I can’t do that anymore if
y’all come,” said Pam Thomas. “You can’t put them over there
and it’s not a prison anymore. It’s a closed facility.”
Lawrenceville resident Arron Smith
firmly, “The people here don’t want to ask you any questions. We
really don’t want to hear your selling points. We don’t want to
hear your politically correct terms. We talk slow around here. We
a little twang, but talk direct. Let me say this to you as I look
square in your eyes. We do not want you here.”
Most of the UACs flooding over
the U.S. southern border are from Central and South America.
The Obama administration organized the
community hearing, and representatives from the Department of
Security–as well as Health and Human Services–attempted to quell
fears and suspicions about the plan, telling residents that the
individuals who would be housed at St. Paul’s would be medically
screened as well as background checked for any prior criminal
history. Residents weren’t buying it.
“I’m concerned that I already moved
my two children from New York City–Queens–to here, and they have
already been subjected to liquor and drugs in school, and now
telling me this is a lease property and that we’re going to use
police to help this program,” said a woman from Lawrenceville who
noted her own Latin background.
“We can’t control what’s going on
in our own town. I’ve lived here less than two years, and my kids
have hardly been subjected to things that they had been subjected
in the last ten years in New York. I can be with them 24-7, but
happens to everybody else’s children who can’t be here 24-7?”
she asked. She continued:
We have to travel 20 minutes at
least to get some kind of community stuff for the kids. We don’t
have anything here in this town, but yet you’re going to bring all
these extra problems to us. You said you’re gonna hire extra
to deal with my fellow Latin people that have gone through rape,
abuse. And you’re talking about Central American. That has to do
with all the guerrilla and civil wars they have going on and
coming with this type of mentality. Have we not seen what happened
the bigger inner cities that have the resources to deal with it?
you’re bringing it to a town that doesn’t have the resources.
“The people we are talking about are
more than an acronym. They are more than a legal definition. They
children,” Essey Workie, regional director for HHS's
for Children and Families, told the crowd.
Geraldine Woodley scolded the
government representatives for selectively paying attention to one
”humanitarian” effort over others.
“I find it appalling that there is no
St. Paul College representation here to talk to us…” She went on:
As a resident of Brunswick, my husband is the retired sheriff of
16 years in this county and I am a graduate of St. Paul’s College.
So I find myself stuck sometimes in conversations from all three
perspectives. It is a great humanitarian effort to try to help
children of any nation. We see what’s happening in Africa. We saw
what happened in Haiti. Where were the houses for the Sudanese
children and for the Hatian children? I didn’t see that.
Although the UAC’s were scheduled to
arrive on Thursday, the plan was put on hold following a severe
backlash from the community. In the meantime, the panel of
officials continued to promise that if Lawrenceville residents did
not want the UAC facility in operation, the plan would be