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VIDEO: Pellegrino Speaks Up for Illegal Immigrants

Cobb activist Rich Pellegrino discusses immigration related issues and shares things you might not have known about him.

Do you agree with Rich Pellegrino on the immigration issues discussed in the video? What are some of the causes you are passionate about? Speak out in the comments!

Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Sorry Brad...the immigration system has been broken since the 90's so there is no realistic path to citizenship, even for those are married to citizens. There have been good faith bi-partisan efforts to fix this but they have been blocked by those on the far right with the help of white supremacist organizations, one of which whom hhelped write the GA & AZ immigration laws, who apparently are afraid of the "browning" of America (their statement, not mine). If we who are white are honest this is really the underlying fear...at least these groups don't hide it. Also, every major business that Americans shop at or have stock in invited the undocumented here for cheap labor, so in a capitalist society that means all of us, and every government entity did too, including and especially the state of GA (and I have proof of this), so in a democratic society that means all of us....it is about time we take responsibility and stop blaming others for what we do.
S Bailey August 14, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Pam, I apologize. I had a long career that required detailed & thorough reports & even tho' I'm retired, I can't pull myself from continuing doing so. Trying, your comment is on-point. We were taught in all our American Government & History & Civics classes growing up that We the People are THE Government. Mr P's attempt at suggesting a "Let George Do It" attitude continues to put the onus of the problem on some faceless, nameless 'thing' away from the front lines. Likewise his continued rant about all of us being Illegals shows that he knows his position is weak & that he can only attack & label people that disagrees with him. His hypocritical approach only makes him intransigent, close-minded & a zealot for those who have no legal basis to defend themselves. They know they were wrong in crossing our borders illegally, know they were wrong to take jobs & money away from the Citizens & Legal residents, know they are wrong in living in homes that legals could occupy, know they are wrong in using Government Services designed to help the needy in our communities. It is an unfortunate thing that Mr P has been given this forum to push his agenda, when there is no Voice to counter it, except we who choose to stand up to his obfuscations in the Comments Sections.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Bob,read my responses to Jeremy & Brad...if your premise is correct...and everyone who broke the law in regard to illegal immigration were thrown in jail, there wouldn't be anyone left! :-) Why scapegoat those people, like our hard-working ancestors (many of whom came here illegally, contrary to popular belief--and I have facts if you care to see them), who worked labored hard on our behalf for years, built families here with many children born here who don't know any other country, and have earned their right to stay, just like our ancestors. .This is where the human rights come in to play--beside basic fairness and dignity. To not afford them a reasonable path to citizenshipep, which includes some form of "punishment like fines, etc, is un-American, inhuman, un-Christian, and insane. And it will happen anyway because they aren't going and we could never deport them all (and even many who accept self-deportation are back here shortly thereafter--yes, the coyotes and the border guards get rich doing this still).
S Bailey August 14, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Dadburn it Pellegrino, IF YOU HAVE PROOF>>> PROVIDE IT !!! Plenty of room on these Comments Pages to produce "your proof". Put up or Shut UP !!!
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Sorry Fran, that is a beautiful story, and it may be mostly true, in YOUR case, but it is not so for many of the same immigrant populations you spoke of, including Italians. (I thought the same about my italian grandparents and then discovered that they and many others whose names were shortened or changed were done so because they got forged documents via Canada and venues in order to sneak in to the U.S. and Ellis Island, NY). This is why Italians were called WOPS (without papers). And the same is true for many other immigrant groups. Sorry to burst your bubble but so much of American history has been whitewashed and distorted to make it look like Europeans did no wrong and are somehow superior to others. And even if it were true, this is a different time which many of you like to say, and, as I stated above, we all conspired to import these new immigrants for cheap and productive labor to maintain our standard of living so we are not going to scapegoat them now for our economic problems which came from living too high on the hog and our own corruption--they are here to stay and we must welcome them as neighbors--they have proven themselves as hard-working, good people, just like our ancestors, however they got here.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Very well said Jill...and we have proposed reasonable "punishment" in the form of fines for the undocumented immigrants as part of our Comprehensive Immigration reform package, which has been backed by Bush, Kennedy, McCain, Obama, and many others on both sides, including Focus on the Family and 150 other Christian evangelical, conservative groups.But the far right keeps blocking the legislation...hopefully that will change soon.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Yes, and it will spiritually,, and economically enrich this country and will go far to wiping out our budget deficits (I have research which states that the fines alone will make a major dent in our economic downturn and help us out of recession)--if we can only get the mote out of eyes and past the prejudices.
Pam J August 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Okay, Richard, one more time. Things are different today than they were hundreds of years ago. We are having trouble taking care of the citizens of this country, much less taking care of illegal immigrants. We don't have enough jobs for the citizens of this country. There are millions of CITIZENS out of work, so the fact that you want millions more to be put into the mix is un-American. Once we get our economy straightened out, we can talk again. But right now we need to take care of our own. I know that you will never understand that, but darn it, I will keep trying.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Your comments as usual are dressed up as based on fact however I have research and facts, both locally and nationally, that refute everything you write, so I can only guess that you are concocting these myths based on your own prejudices or are simply repeating those of the white supremacist anti-immigrant organizations (FAIR, Numbers USA, CIS, etc). That is who is playing us--the same folk who backed Jim Crow and Eugenics-- and now they have donned business suits to spew their hate dressed up as pro-American, pro-legal immigration, etc etc
Pam J August 14, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Richard, I'm sure your research is slightly slanted. And when you have millions of people out of work and millions of people losing their homes, you bet we'll look at it with our emotions. Like I said, if the economy was good, this may be a different conversation. But your "plans" just don't make sense right now.
Pam J August 14, 2012 at 07:48 PM
No apology necessary, Mr. Bailey. I like you.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
My research is not mine at all but is of independent agencies and research organizations without political agendas, which I will compile and list for those who care. And if you and the country wants to advance it will never happen by scapegoating anyone-it will only work if we work together to solve our collective problems, which is what I and my organizations try to do without attacking anyone. We have offered you and countless others to help you find jobs, housing, healthcare, education and anything else you blame the immigrants for taking but no one takes us up on these offers so apparently you prefer to complain and blame. We have offered comprehensive immigration reform solutions which will satisfy everyone except racists and those who want blood and vengeance. Come up with a better plan and we will look at it and are always willing to compromise, but not with people's lives.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 14, 2012 at 09:07 PM
It's about time someone asked to see research based proof and facts...and it took you long enough :-) ! I was beginning to believe no one cared and just wanted to rely on myth and prejudice...leaving office now and will compile and list later.
S Bailey August 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
In a debate, one must put up the proof when he or she says they have it. Obviously, you never had debate skills taught in school to know when & where to use them. But I will agree, that tho' I have an Open Mind about many things, my education, experience & common sense allow me to discern & know when so-called facts can be skewed to one way or the other. Not prejudging, but given your previous statements & condemnations against anyone who opposes illegal immigration that they are 'closet' bigots, members of the KKK & other white supremacist groups or just plain stupid...I will not accept ANYTHING you post as gospel. I am schooled in statistical analysis, polling & such & recognize the ability of the poster or poller to condition the questions, facts, test subjects & results to fit whatever desired result. You are a blatant example of just such a thing. Since you do not know me, you still infer that I am a bigot, a Klan member or maybe a neo-Nazi. Since I have Jewish heritage & am proud of such, being a Klan or Nazi just doesn't compute. My paternal grandfather was born in Jerusalem during the time of the Ottoman Empire. My ancestors were slaves.....in Babylon, in Egypt, by the Romans.....& more recently, the Nazis. Even Italians were anti-Semites under Mussolini....so your ancestor's hands are very dirty as well.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 15, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Here is just a little proof of my assertions...more can be had by writing me at pilgrim1@mindspring.com: 1) Costs to our economy of immigrant detention and deportation http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/MathofImmigrationDetention.pdf 2) Costs to our economy of misguided immigration enforcement programs like E-verify for employers http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2011/EVerifyStatesReport.pdf 3) Allowing Undocumented Youth to stay and work makes good economic sense for all of us http://immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/2012/DREAM_Economic_TPs.pdf 4) UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN TEXAS: A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy (performed by the State Comptroller and a Republican administration) “This is the first time any state has done a comprehensive financial analysis of the impact of undocumented immigrants on a state’s budget and economy, looking at gross state product, revenues generated, taxes paid and the cost of state services. “The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received. http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/specialrpt/undocumented/undocumented.pdf
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino August 15, 2012 at 06:24 AM
And a couple more: 5) 2006 Research at University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law: “ the belief that illegal migrants are exploiting the US economy and that they cost more in services than they contribute to the economy is "undeniably false". the findings assert that "undocumented immigrants actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services" and "contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services; filling of millions of essential worker positions resulting in subsidiary job creation, increased productivity and lower costs of goods and services; and unrequited contributions to Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=881584 6) Article with statistics from IRS and Social Security Admin re: billions paid in to those agencies by undocumented immigrants without which insolvency would come much sooner http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2008-04-10-immigrantstaxes_N.htm
General Hafeezah August 15, 2012 at 03:21 PM
People need to stop acting as if they are not benefiting from the cheap labor the immigrants provide us. Yes ALL of us. If you eat at a restaurant, you benefit, When you drive by a nice Bank and upscale homes and enjoy the scenery of landscaped lawns, you benefit, when buy a home that's been built in the last 30 years, you benefit. OK Let's do it the Republican way....Let's send all those who immigrated here back home.. That would include, the Jews from Israel, The Polish, The Italians, The Irish, The Sweds, The... Well HELL, that would include everyone who isn't NATIVE AMERICAN. Looks like the boat back home would be pretty full if everyone went back who weren't originally documented.
General Hafeezah August 15, 2012 at 03:33 PM
@Pam WE are the ones who crossed the borders and caused this massive unemployment when the bill was passed that allowed NAFTA and sent hundreds of thousand of jobs overseas. OUR JOBS are in Thailand, Pakistan, Asia. When you dial customer assistance at a major company, who answers the phone? Not your fellow American who speaks clear English. If the major companies were forced to bring the jobs back to American soil, we would not have ANY problems with unemployment. It is computers and NAFTA that has us competing for the few jobs left in America, not immigrants that crossed the borders, they are the scapegoats that allow you to focus your attention on the smokescreen instead of hold government fat cats accountable for sending our jobs AWAY (across the borders).
Pam J August 15, 2012 at 03:57 PM
LEGAL immigrants are welcome here. And the way the economy and job market is right now, American citizens would work at those "cheap labor" jobs if given a chance. But smaller companies will keep hiring the immigrants because they can pay them less and pay them in cash so they don't have to pay taxes. And please quit bringing up our ancestors. Things are a lot different now. Our economy and job market cannot support millions of ILLEGAL immigrants.
Pam J August 15, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Richard, most of the links are for things written in 2005 and 2006. And even the article about how illegal immigrants file tax returns is confusing because you cannot file a tax return without a social security number or ITIN. It actually states that they are using some sort of social security number, which means it probably belongs to somebody else. While I agree that they pay sales tax on things they buy, and maybe they pay property tax because they somehow found a way to buy a house, but if a company is paying income taxes for them, they are doing it fraudulently. None of your links has convinced me that illegal immigration is a good thing
kegroening January 25, 2013 at 05:53 AM
The first time an illegal is caught the US it’s consider a misdemeanor civil offense. After the first offense, being caught a second time is a felony. a illegal alien is not a undocumented immigrant! A illegal alien is breaking the law to be here and many of those caught and deported come right back across the border making them a felon. So where does it stop? Not by giving them any kind of amnesty!!!!
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino January 25, 2013 at 02:24 PM
No one is illegal unless you and I are....do we go around labeling people who have committed felonies with the permanent label of "felon", or those who committed a minor civil or traffic violation as "criminals"? Calling a whole group of people by such a derogatory label is nothing more than prejudice and bigotry, intended to dehumanize the situation. If you read my comments above, you and I and every American conspired to invite these good people here to work for us and for our country, so look in the mirror before you point any fingers. One in ever 18 families in America is "mixed status" meaning they have at least one undocumented member in the immediate family, so you are talking about millions of Americans affected. No easy answers or blanket amnesty but also no way or reason to deport them--there will be a compromise called Comprehensive Immigration Reform--which will include a path to legal residence for all those concerned. That's what a majority of Americans want, including many conservative and evangelical leaders.
kegroening January 25, 2013 at 03:22 PM
You do love to try and twist words around to your way of thinking,I'll give you that. If you read my comment above (as you love to say) I am commenting on the fact that any illegal deported and then returns to the US is then a felon. That makes them a criminal and should be treated as such.Speak for yourself but I do nothing to 'conspire' to have them come work here. I do not hire anyone if I feel in any way they could be here illegaly. There are many needy Americans that I would put to work first. I agree,we cannot deport them all but the more they (illegals) demand we give them everything the more I will resist accepting them and the harder I will fight to stop them.
Pam J January 25, 2013 at 08:34 PM
How about this - they came into this country illegally. No papers, passport, or visa. In essence, they came to this country illegally. My nephew, when he was 17, broke into someone's home, for what was a good reason, but it didn't matter because he was arrested. And he spent nine months in jail. He now has a record. What is being suggested here is that if you illegally came into this country, no problem. We are going to bend over backwards to make sure you get what you need. Go ahead and fine them all you want. The ones that do work get cash, they live in houses with several other people who help pay the bills. Making them pay money won't matter to them. And since when were you able to pay lots of money just to get out of going to jail?
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino January 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM
No one is a "Felon'"...but some have committed a felony, and only after they have been convicted of that in a court of law....so no one can judge anyone....every one of the millions of undocumented immigrants here is a human being with a separate story...just like every one of our past immigrant ancestors each has a separate story (and you would be surprised how many were considered "illegal' by the dominant class of the time, just like today). No human being is a criminal but some have committed criminal acts. Are you a criminal if you speed...so should we permanently label you a criminal and should you wear a red C ? This labeling is nonsense and childish, schoolyard bullying and it is time we all grew up. Regarding the responsibility for inviting them here: 12 million people didn't sneak into this country, unless, that is, we are all deaf and dumb. We all looked the other way while every major company (Walmart, Tyson, etc etc) and every branch of state and federal govt allowed them to come and in some instances, like the Atlanta Olympics, and the GA farms, invited and begged them to come to save our butts. They worked silently and behind the scenes in jobs no one wanted and all of a sudden when our economy tanked, and we needed a scapegoat, they are the perfect ones. So, in a democracy (we the people) and a capitalist economy (we all own the shares or purchase the goods) we all conspired with business and govt--period--you are not off the hook.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino January 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM
The same tired refrains and complaints, which are largely based in myths. Many had papers and they expired. Many were refugees and that status changed. On and on, each has a different story...many are married to Americans or have American children. The questions is not how they came here but did they work hard to build this country, like past immigrants, and were otherwise law abiding. Yes, and that is why the majority of Americans, not forgetting where and how they came from, are for a path to legal residence for them..
Pam J January 26, 2013 at 01:43 AM
It does not matter why they are here or what they have accomplished while they are here. What part of entering this country illegally or staying and hiding after your papers have expired do you not understand? So what are you suggesting? That we dig up all of our ancestors, ship them back to where they came from, and make them fill out the correct papers? Just like you are tired of me explaining what is wrong with the system, I am tired of you bringing up things that happened 150 years ago. And did we change all of the signs in the stores to all of the languages those people spoke? Nope, but we are bending over backwards to make sure the Spanish-speaking people don't need to learn English. You just want us to make all of the illegals legal. Want to reward them for sneaking in or hiding after their papers expired. Why did their papers expire? Why didn't they renew them? I'm not going to argue with you any more because it's useless.
Pracilla F May 17, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Pracilla (1) Undocumentated, illegal, spanish speaking...It's all the same old thing with different wording. Mr. P is only pointing out the obvious, if you learn from the past - you can make better decisions for the future. I have a Masters Degree, took economic courses and all the sort. I read through all of these posts. Although I may disagree with many of you, I would like put my two cent, tax paying, american spanish accent, updated educational point-of-view. Those that have pointed out that Mr. P's information is outdated. You can easily get the same result from a larger sample, as the situation has only grown, that you can get from a smaller sample, which is what is being called as outdated. The fact that we have "minimum wage" is the reason the opportunity exists to begin with. Let me explain, when you set a minimum of what a particular job is worth, when there are many people who would be more then happy to do it for less, well guess what we call them? Spanish speaking, job hogging, illegals. Why not do away with the minimum wage and see who will be willing to work just as hard for less money? This is the all American GREED and SELFISHNESS that creates openings for immigrates. It's all our fault! Stop letting the world believe that our streets are made out of gold, and that we are just as eager to build as our ancestors, then maybe they will be more encouraged to stay home. No, we don't want our hands dirty! An American man of our times are NOT working hard.
Pracilla F May 17, 2013 at 04:42 AM
They are NOT standing on the corner, waiting to be picked up for work to feed their families. They did NOT go to college to have hands that feel like sandpaper. American's have their children thinking they're too good for this kind of work. Again, giving immigrants the OPPORTUNITY to come in, we create the gap. Now you want to close it because of hard times? Hard times come and go. Working hard, providing for your family, remaining the head of household, keeping your family together, my goodness I can seriously write a book on how Americans lack this. People from other countries haven't lost their sense of self. When all the computers break down, we will not be able to rebuild without these beautiful, highly ethical, family oriented, hard working people. WE will collapse. So instead of blaming them for taking jobs no one wants their kids to take, because we're so busy trying to facilitate their children's careers and failing at that, maybe...just maybe....we should rip a page out of their book and start teaching our children the basics...like hmmm 1. When we get married we STAY married. 2. Back in the days families actually BUILT their own homes! 3. Instead of paying $150 on a toy box why don't we BUILD one together. 4. Lets talk about your place and responsibilities in the HOME. 5. Let me teach you how to ROLLER SKATE, JUMP ROPE, FISH!
Pracilla F May 17, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Honestly, it's not about the undocumented - it must really embarrass American's to have immigrants here. I'm surely embarrassed by these comments, by our lack of strengthening family, and by the stupidity of intellectuals that use that same intellect to justify bigotry all to ignore self-reflecting.

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