Earlier this week, a little town in Pennsylvania became the latest to prohibit renting an apartment or other living quarters to illegal immigrants. In a classic case of "all for me and none for thee" (or, more crassly, "I got mine, so fuck you"), the mayor of Hazleton who signed the ordinance in question into law is the grandson of an immigrant.
As an historian, I can't help but cringe when I read things like this:
That unlawful employment, the harboring of illegal aliens in dwelling units in the City of Hazleton, and crime committed by illegal aliens harm the health, safety and welfare of authorized US workers and legal residents in the City of Hazleton. Illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, subjects our hospitals to fiscal hardship and legal residents to substandard quality of care, contributes to other burdens on public services, increasing their cost and diminishing their availability to legal residents, and diminishes our overall quality of life.
You might as well come out and say it folks, because the language you chose for one of the "findings" clauses in the ordinance the mayor signed earlier this week just takes a few more letters than usual to spell "xenophobia." All the usual stereotypes are there: immigrants (whether legal or not) are criminals, out to scam the system for whatever they can get, they take "our" jobs and drain our social services without ever contributing to society.
Why am I all of a sudden flashing back to signs reading "Juden sind hier unerwünscht"? Or, for that matter, "Blacks not welcome after sunset"?