Obama Needs To Address Immigration As A National Issue
Frank Gilanelli is a proud American. He says he plays by the rules and respects the government.
But he doesn’t like it when other people, well, don’t.
The small business owner was on his way to grab something to eat, just on a break from work, when he heard activists chanting “keep that hate out of our state” at a rally at Independence Hall. That’s when he decided that, despite the dozens of activists surrounding him, it was his duty to express his First Amendment right in support for Arizona’s contentious immigration bill, which allows police to check one’s immigration status with based on one’s skin color or accent, but only after reasonable cause.
“Everybody’s welcome, everybody’s welcome in the United States…come through the front door, not the back door,” he says.
Gilanelli says he’s also in support of a similar measure for Pennsylvania, because people need to respect laws for citizens to feel safely governed.
He may be getting what he asked. A few weeks ago, PW reported about legislation, first introduced by Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), that is modeled after Arizona’s and “would provide state and local law enforcement with full authority to apprehend Pennsylvania’s estimated 140,000 illegal aliens…” according to his website.
Some aspects of the bill seem blatantly racist, and in response to it, immigrants, state officials and reform activists held a rally to condemn the bill today, and then marched from Independence Hall to the Federal Building to demand action from the Obama administration.
“This is not a state issue. This is a national issue, and Washington has to do something about it,” exclaimed Wendell Young IV, President of the UFCW Local 1776 union.
And that seems to be the only issue that Gilanelli agrees with. Meanwhile, activists are calling for the Obama administration to work on immigration now, instead of during an election.
But the one-man army of Gilanelli says he felt attacked at the event.
“I was just voicing my opinion. These people, the media, too. They’re biased.”
When he shouted for immigrants to come into the country legally, everyone blankly stared at the man. Some booed, others shouted. And after a few moments, mostly everyone exploded in indignation.
He was speaking to the media when the Rev. Nate Walker of the First Unitarian Church cut him off for a little bit of TV-news glamour, masquerading a desperate plea for attention by suggesting everyone should just love each other.
“Reasonable suspicion is not a legal right in the Constitution,” the Reverend said.
Still, Gilanelli wants people to know he is for immigration, but legal immigration. If there were no consequences for breaking laws, he says, no one would feel safe.
He also says that, most significantly to America’s social cohesion is nationalizing concrete immigration reform. While protesters agreed, they also described many obstacles they must first endure to become legal.