Stand Up Norwalk, for undocumented immigrants

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Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez is to be commended for appealing to Norwalk residents to join this Friday’s nationwide rally to protest the Trump administration’s brutal treatment of undocumented immigrants and as Stand Up Norwalk or SUN¹ has noted in the past two points are worth making in support of her appeal:


  1. Undocumented immigrants are a blessing not a threat to our welfare.
  2. Past administrations in our country are largely responsible for the poverty and violence that they are fleeing.

As the Cato Institute, a conservative libertarian think tank, notes for example:

“The overriding impact of immigrants is to strengthen and enrich American culture, increase the total output of the economy, and raise the standard of living of American citizens. Immigrants are advantageous to the United States for several reasons: (1) Since they are willing to take a chance in a new land, they are self-selected on the basis on motivation, risk taking, work ethic, and other attributes beneficial to a nation. (2) They tend to come to the United States during their prime working years (the average age is 28), and they contribute to the workforce and make huge net contributions to old-age entitlement programs, primarily Social Security. (3) Immigrants tend to fill niches in the labor market where demand is highest relative to supply, complementing rather than directly competing with American workers. (4) Many immigrants arrive with extremely high skill levels, and virtually all, regardless of skill level, bring a strong desire to work. (5) Their children tend to reach high levels of achievement in American schools and in society at large.” ²


And as University of California Economics Professor, Gordon H. Hanson, put it in an article available on the web entitled The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration:

“there is little evidence that legal immigration is economically preferable to illegal immigration. In fact, illegal immigration responds to market forces in ways that legal immigration does not.”


Or as Alan Greenspan, put it to a Senate subcommittee:

“there is little doubt that unauthorized, that is, illegal, immigration has made a significant contribution to the growth of our economy…Some evidence suggests that unskilled illegal immigrants (almost all from Latin America) marginally suppress wage levels of native-born Americans without a high school diploma, and impose significant costs on some state and local governments. However, the estimated wage suppression and fiscal costs are relatively small, and economists generally view the overall economic benefits of this workforce as significantly outweighing the costs.”


Or as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted:

“When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.”


Or as University of California Economics Professor Giovanni Peri was quoted in a New York Times Magazine article titled Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?:

“In states with more undocumented immigrants, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew.”


Or as the Congressional Budget Office indicated in a 2007 report on The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments:

“Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the cost of the services they use.”


Still people ask “who or what is responsible for the violence and poverty in Central America that so many people are fleeing?” And as Harvest of Empire, a documentary readily available on the web, points out the answer is: to a large extent we are. Consider, for example, this excerpt from a speech that medal-of-honor winner and Marine Corps General Smedley Butler made in 1933:

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912…I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.”


Yes, the issue of what our laws governing immigration and undocumented immigrants should be needs to be addressed.  But it should be addressed with reason and compassion in order to ensure the rules we adopt reflect the humanitarian values we want to govern our country and the world.  Illegal immigrants are not the drug pushers, rapists and murderers that President Trump makes them out to be. Rather as President Ronald Reagan pointed out in 1981, they are “productive members of our society and a basic part of our work force.” And as such they deserve our respect and support. Instead the Trump administration is treating them worse than it treats hardened criminals or billionaire sexual predators. And by so doing it is simultaneously violating their human rights and undermining the enlightenment principles embodied in our constitution and other founding documents.

Paul Cantor

Stand Up Norwalk

  1. SUN is an organization formed in 2016 to counter the negative impact the racism and xenophobia emboldened by President Trump has had on our local community. If you are interested in joining SUN contact us at [email protected]
  2. For instance, Laura Veira, the Valedictorian of Brien McMahon High School in 2016 is now a student at Harvard.


Jason Milligan July 11, 2019 at 4:23 pm

City Council was obviously just a stepping stone for Eloisa.

She has done NOTHING for the district that she is supposed to represent. Her district includes Wall Street.

Glad she is moving on.

We someone with a local focus.

Norwalk native July 11, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Dear Eloisa,

As head of the Ordinance Committee, please explain which ordinances you have endeavored to enforce. Specifically, how many illegal apartments were rooted out and closed down during your tenure? I think I would be be pretty close to that total if I said Zero. The result is that we need to build new schools for our now majority minority school system without the appropriate tax base to support it.
So, other than plastic bags, you have been completely useless and in fact counterproductive to the taxpaying Citizens of Norwalk. Good riddance!

Norwalk native July 11, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Dear Paul Cantor,

Certainly your own personal economy has benefitted from unchecked illegal immigration: you are a teacher, yes? Without illegals blowing up our schools, you would have fewer and fewer pupils to pay your salary. Perhaps you should open up your home to some of these and/or move out of the segregated neighborhood you live in. Then well see how enthusiastic you are for illegals.

Seal the border. Deport all persons currently living here illegally. Prosecute those who employee illegals.

John ONeill July 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm

The more legal immigration the better…Obama campaigned in 2008 on immigration as his #1 priority..What happened? It’s incredible how quickly people have forgotten that.
That being said – Some in Washington called this a National Emergency six months ago. They were mocked..Where were Paul Cantor and his Troubadours then? Let me know what I’ve missed? As far as attending Friday’s rally — I and millions of other immigrants will be working. It bums me out that my union didn’t negotiate summers off.

Joe July 11, 2019 at 6:59 pm

For the first 40 years of my life, it was difficult and illegal to carry a basket of fruit across our southern border for fear of biological contamination of our country.

Now, tens of thousands of people from who-knows-where are allowed within our borders every month without any medical inspections or quarantines.

Ellls Island immigrants were subject to two medical inspections, The first on the ship before landfall and the second on the island, subject to isolation and quarantine.

Where’s the CDC now? Where’s our health safeguards now?

Haven’t heard one thing from the CDC about this massive flood of illegal immigrants. Not a thing from the CDC Swamp.

Once the mass illegal migration began in the late 1990’s we read about head lice in Norwalk schools, then Mexican swine flu, now more politically correctly called N1A1 flu.

And then we got West Nile virus every summer. Is that from West Nile, Massachusetts. Nope.

And I have even read reports about TB and polio. Can you believe it. Polio.

Patrick Cooper July 11, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Law and Economics. To fully explain would require a Harvard Review piece – and I’d lose every NoN-reader.

There are multiple issues here. Folks choose where to focus. There is the obvious and emotional humanitarian aspect – and to not feel or understand this plight – it questions one’s humanity.

Then there are – the laws. We have them. Don’t like them, change them. Except our polarized national political parties have absolutely zero incentive to cooperate or compromise. That is a reflection of the electorate.

Then there is “fairness”. We have one group of refugee’s that can utilize a geographic connection – but all of the others cannot. Where is the outrage for Darfur, for Afghanistan, or Yemen, or for multiple eastern European countries? How about greater Asia / Malaysia? The only issue for these refugees is – they can’t walk in. Will (Columbia born?) Eloisa advocate for them?

Then we have municipal finance. A look at Norwalk says 80% plus of our revenue comes from property taxes. The motherload comes from single family homeowners. The budget for schools – more than 50% of the total annual city budget. And we have used a bullhorn to scream “sanctuary city”. Fully demanded by the democratic party – of course. But when our school demographics – finally tabulated – reflect this flood of new arrivals to Norwalk – the Mayor and his complicit CC are silent about how we intend to pay for this increase in expense. The numbers are public. The BOE can only manage the cards they are dealt.

I found it interesting that once again – a person who was seeking a place on a very important board (of Education) in Norwalk – felt it was advantageous to advertise they were “born in Norwalk” – a lifelong member. Like that was a real competency. A skill / experience that separated them. Don’t kid yourselves – that alone has gotten some of our most renown council members elected. It shouldn’t mean anything.

However, what I find most interesting – and quite contradictory – is this: why does this common council member – Eloisa – and the mayor and all other common council members – seem to be so very concerned with “new arrivals” – but not those lifelong (or in my case – 25+ year) Norwalk taxpayers?

@Jason Milligan is right – Eloisa has been zip-locked on the West Avenue / Wall Street debacle. @Norwalk Native is right – Eloisa has been invisible with regard to ordinance enforcement of illegal apartments – which is a health & safety issue, along with a clear loss of revenue to the city.

Law and economics. Neither is guiding the current state of immigration and illegal immigration from our many boarders. National toxic party politics are controlling this issue – exactly the career path our councilperson.

Scott July 11, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Another perspective…I work in the information technology area with a lot of intelligent and innovative individuals. Many of them are from other countries, here on visas. In some cases, they are no longer just coworkers, they have become good friends. And a few are submitting their paperwork so they can stay permanently the legal way, but this can take years. It’s frustrating to see those close to you, who are following our laws, go through this lengthy process while others (not including the journey to our border) opt for the quicker and easier route of crossing illegally.

Mitch Adis July 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm

Eloisa has done ZERO. She aspires to be the next AOC. So sad. Do Norwalk a favor and leave. Go find some place else to ruin.

Last, lets stand up for law abiding immigrants!

Bryan Meek July 11, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Scott is spot on. I’ve worked with scores of the citizens he describes. On balance, I would venture to say they know more about our history than your average citizen. They embrace our way of life and laws and go through a near 10 year process for certification. What is being allowed right now, short of refugee status, is not sustainable nor fair to those who did not “cut the line”

Victor Cavallo July 12, 2019 at 12:15 am

Looks like Paul is batting zero again. Good to see that Norwalkers are standing up to his and others’ destructive loud-mouthed virtue-signaling that’s been running this town down for years. Our local elected leaders have no business compromising the safety and well-being of our home-town by wasting time and energy on national politics at the expense of their constituents’ local needs and problems. Shut up and get to work on crime,taxes, education and local infrastructure or step aside and let others take the reins. For God’s sake, do something about the Wall Street and the Walk Budge debacles.

Tysen Canevari July 12, 2019 at 12:36 am

Illegal aliens can get financial aid in CT, free healthcare, and much more. I work for a living Mr Cantor. I get none of the above. Where is your common sense? There are laws for a reason. You can not have a society where you pick and choose which ones to follow.

Al Bore July 12, 2019 at 8:22 am

Nothing is free in life Paul someone has to pay for it and it is always the taxpayers. Illegal Paul do you understand that is the problem, they are here illegally. Are you going to ask your friends in Westport during the march what they are doing to welcome these illegal immigrants into their town and schools Paul. Maybe you and Eloisa can convince them to do that. We can’t pick and choose what laws we want to break or follow that is not how the system works Paul. There is a reason for laws and they should be upheld and this is one I think should absolutely be upheld. There are legal ways to get into this country Paul do some research on it.

Itsjustme July 12, 2019 at 8:54 am

According to a study at Yale there are over 30mm illegals in the US (not the 11mm number that’s been out there for over a decade). If you want to get an idea of how big this is locally, count the number of ESL teachers in a Tracey School yearbook today and compare to the count 10-15 years ago. Either that or count the number of barber shops on Wall Street

Ken Williams July 12, 2019 at 8:56 am

one word . . . CHAOS . . without it, what would our “politicians” do . . . probably find ways to create more . . oh, and, by the way, “undocumented” is a political term, not a legal one. If ILLEGALS are “undocumented”, the my TAXES are only a suggestion . . .

PIBerman July 12, 2019 at 9:54 am

In some parts of America its citizens honor those who have “served” to protect our freedoms understanding we “can never do enough for our veterans and active service members”. In other parts of the country we have citizens willing to extend publicly financed benefits to those entering and remaining in our nation illegally flouting our laws. Lets hope our children understand the difference. Those who gave their lives defending our nation did so to protect their fellow citizens. Not those who disregarded our laws and remain here illegally. Either we’re a nation of laws or nation in chaos. Citizenship ought be honored and respected. Especially considered that over a million Americans gave their lives to protect their fellow citizens.

John ONeill July 12, 2019 at 4:31 pm

I heard the Chinese govt plans to ship 100 million impoverished people into the US…Would that be okay with everyone??..Oh, and India has an extra 50 million…I’m suRe we can handle…Just think about that for a second. Open borders are as ludicrous as the people behind the concept..

Norwalk native July 12, 2019 at 6:18 pm

John Oniel,

That would be 100m people that don’t have to pay income tax.

I’m glad the Councilwoman Menendez has enough free time to organize an event in support of the illigitimate non taxpaying residents of Norwalk. How about spending some of that time supporting the legitimate taxpaying residents and enforcing a few of our City ordinances! I have a few illegal apartment situations on my street that would be a good start.

CAROL July 12, 2019 at 9:42 pm

america first,help our vetrans and seniors-enough of these freebies.
let paul and his westport friends build low income apts and welcome the illegals to there homes.

DrewT July 12, 2019 at 11:41 pm

It’s very simple. We have laws! You break the law and you are illegal then you get deported. I’m not sure why Eloisa and the rest if the Democrats are asking people to break the law?!

steve July 14, 2019 at 7:27 am

There is a tendency for people to either deify or demonize immigrants crossing illegally. We’re not in a position to allow open borders but it’s cruel to send back someone who’s lived here for a decade plus and had children here. The punishment isn’t equal to the crime.
For decades and decades people walked across our borders with little to no consequence, even after the 1930s law making it illegal. For decades, and especially from roughly 1980 to 2010 tons of Americans hired undocumented workers for landscaping, construction, childcare and restaurant work. Many of those people who benefitted are now complaining. Many of those who complain way overstate the number and believe most immigrants are illegal and all immigrants who speak Spanish are clearly illegal. Neither is true. Most immigrants, legal and illegal, are hardworking, They don’t get free medical care or other free services from our government. Some charitable enterprises provide them with benefits but that’s not the government. There maybe over 20 million undocumented immigrants but that’s one study and not the general consensus. The number 30 million flaunted by one commenter here has no basis ( it was a 2 or 3% chance based on the Yale study he cited which is the one that despite it’s Yale heritage is still not generally accepted). We can’t have open borders and it’s not fair for all the people who waited years to come here legally, but we don’t need to and we shouldn’t be rounding up and departing people who lived here for decades, benefitted our communities and have children that are citizens. The middle ground was carved out years ago and there are tons of Republicans and Democrats who both want a DREAM like Act- sadly, far right Republicans have obstructed it and some Democrats have gone too far to the left.

Karl M Deering July 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm

I am soooo thankful that Paul Cantor is all in on this issue which takes away from his time fighting anything about Oak Hills !!!!

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