The suburban reaction to Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s stopover Tuesday in Chicago was as mixed as his reputation in his own country.
Calderon, who won a disputed election in 2006, continued his first presidential visit to the United States by meeting with local politicians and immigration rights activists, including some from the suburbs.
Carpentersville Trustee Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski scored a personal invitation from the Mexican Consulate to meet Calderon. She has led opposition to the proposed crackdown on Carpentersville employers and landlords who hire or rent to illegal immigrants.
“The people were excited to see him and liked what he had to say,” Ramirez-Sliwinski said. “He said the U.S. and Mexico need to work together … . It’s not a local government issue, and unless the two federal governments work together, they’re never going to have any successes.”
Others blasted Calderon for meddling in the affairs of another nation while poverty at home forces workers across the border.
“I just think that as a sovereign nation, we shouldn’t be putting up with this,” said David Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration. “What is he doing running around here? He should stay home and make his own country work for his own people.”
Jim Richardson, of the Fox Valley Minuteman Project, called Calderon a “very divisive man.”
“He wants the illegal immigration ingrained in,” Richardson said. “He wants to take advantage of the generosity of people in the Fox Valley and the state of Illinois.”
Calderon met with Chicago and state officials, but increasingly, the suburbs have become flash points of the immigration debate.
Elgin last month joined a growing list of suburban communities rolling out plans to combat illegal immigration.
Hispanic immigrants there are gripped by fear, said Jaime Garcia, interim executive director of Centro de Informacion in Elgin.
A visit by a head of state won’t do much to alleviate those fears, Garcia said.
“In the streets of Elgin, is his visit going to do anything? Certainly it’s not going to have any type of effect on what happens on city council,” Garcia said. “If he did try to suggest something or do anything to intervene, that just gives them more fuel for the fire.”
I know Sliwinski’s father came here as an Illegal Alien to make a better life for his family, but it was Illegal to do it. Now Sliwinski and the President of Mexico want our policies changed to make it easier to do exactly what had happened under the Reagan administration and give all the law breakers a break.I think we are all suffering from the Reagan give away. People who were given amnesty still don’t appreciate American values and don’t find the need to assimilate, then ask for things to be printed in Spanish, TV networks in their own Language, Stores set up exclusively to cater to themselves.
Citizenship must be earned and not given away. To be an American is a privilege and not a right !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If both were serious about the problem that brought both of them here to speak about Immigration they would in deed fix the real problem, Now!
Not the band aid approach Sliwinski and Calderon want to give the patient and the patient being “Illegal Immigration”. They need to find a cure for the patient .Create an atmosphere of Community, Gainful Employment, Fair Income, Corrupt free politics, Justice and Pride in Mexico. That should be the concentration of the native Mexican people to fix Mexico make it the place everyone wants to be.
So now we have native Mexicans leaving their homeland instead of staying where they are needed. These ambitious people are the one’s that are needed to make Mexico politically and a socially stable Country.
Instead they are here in the USA, not working for their own Country, but to make it easier for their citizens to vacate their homeland and come to a Foreign land and demand rights.
What’s wrong with this picture, don’t people Like Sliwinski and Calderon have any Patriotism for their Homeland.
What would our President do if we had a mass exodus of people to another country would our President and Congress try to fix the root cause of the problem or would they go to the Foreign land and tell that country to give the incoming Americans citizenship.
I think the American government would be embarrassed to do what Calderon is doing, but then again we are proud Americans, evidently they are not so proud Mexicans.