Immigrants Express Fear, Uncertainty at Saturday Forum

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Seats were set aside for invited panelists Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro, state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey and state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives. (Photograph courtesy of Luke Hill of the Merrimack Valley Project.)

More than 200 Haverhill residents filled St. James Parish Hall Saturday to address growing concerns among the city’s immigrants.

The meeting was sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Project.

“No immigrant likes to leave their country, their customs and their family,” said project leader and Dominican immigrant Fermin de la Cruz. “Unfortunately, many immigrants here in Haverhill feel that there now exists a culture of contempt against them which can affect both their dignity as well as their basic human rights.”

Alice Mann of Trinity Episcopal Church echoed that sentiment. “My ancestors left Ireland, Hungary, and Germany—some escaping religious or ethnic persecution, some seeking economic opportunity. Like so many others, they helped shape the soul of this American nation. Now the soul of our nation, and the soul of our city, are crying out for resistance against the currents of fear and hatred directed against immigrants.”

Seats were set aside for invited panelists Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro, state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey and state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, but the officials were not present.

City officials were provided with an opportunity to hear these concerns through a number of first-hand experiences shared by members of the Haverhill immigrant community as well as through a presentation on the state of immigration today. Officials were asked to reaffirm their commitment to the protection of the city’s immigrant populations and to support policies that would help ease the growing fear and uncertainty that many immigrants in Haverhill face today.

For 25 years, the Merrimack Valley Project has organized with faith communities, unions, and community groups to work for a more just and prosperous Merrimack Valley, according to a statement.

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18 Comments

  1. Cantor Vera Broekhuysen said:

    It was a privilege to attend this meeting. It was educational to hear some personal stories firsthand from people who came to this country from places in which they had few opportunities in order to live without fear of being violently attacked, to study, to work and pay taxes and, for some who were lucky and could afford it, to transition to permanent legal residence.

    The words of Elie Wiesel (may his memory be for a blessing), a Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, are instructive. “You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be wrong, but illegal? How can they be illegal?”

    • Jack Haverhill said:

      Cantor….I didn’t attend this meeting, so I’m curious, was there any mention of….

      -The teenage girl who was dragged into the woods at a city park and raped by two criminal trespassers?
      -How many children of trespassers living in the city attend Haverhill schools at a cost of $12,000/year per student to taxpayers?
      -The feud going on between the mayor and city council over hiring more police because the city is so dangerous?
      -The drug related gang shootings at Little League games?
      -The young people getting wiped out by drugs brought to the city by criminal trespassers over the southern border?
      -The stress put on policemen and their families battling the drug dealers on a daily basis?
      -The jobs that are lost to American citizens because of the trespassers illegally in the country?
      -The number of criminal trespassers illegally receiving social welfare benefits for themselves and their children?
      -The danger of criminal invaders illegally driving on roadways?
      -The City of Boston report that 65% of all crime there is by criminal trespassers in the country illegally?
      -The criminal trespasser who was shooting at a Haverhill SWAT team in the middle of the day?

      It would be instructive to know.

    • SlipperCity said:

      Sounds all very lofty, but even you in the deep recesses of your mind would be forced to admit that all of the people at that meeting came to the US ILLEGALLY. They are criminal invaders since they, in the dead of night stole into the US, overstayed their VISA, etc. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE AFRAID! Did we attend the same meeting? All I heard was, poor me this, poor me that.

      Would have been nice to hear how many ILLEGALS (since they broke the law by coming here) are on welfare, collect child care credits, housing assistance, food stamps, get free healthcare, refuse or are unable to assimilate, the list goes on and on.

      Do you not feel sorry for our own kids who are have a difficult time in school because of disruptive behavior in the classroom and kids who do not speak English? And what about the long suffering taxpayer who is forced to pay for all of the services that ILLEGALS receive. —– Legal immigration is welcome, ILLEGAL immigration is not.

  2. buster said:

    our great city of Haverhill has always welcomed immigrants and will do so in the future. 300 years ago runaway slaves were welcome here. with food and shelter along with protection. immigrants legal and illegal have always been our best workers. They take the hardest jobs and do them without question.

    • Jack Haverhill said:

      What’s going on Buster? Twice in one day you throw support behind people who are criminals and intentionally break laws. First you support the known Felon, Chief Laliberty, and now you’re supporting people who intentionally ignore the laws of this country by entering it illegally.

      I read all your posts here…this isn’t like you…what’s up with that?

  3. Ed said:

    You are a real class act Duncan Burns. Why weren’t you at the meeting Saturday? You could have told everyone to get out of your country. But you were a no show. It must be hard being a big turd in a small polluted pond.

    • Duncan Burns said:

      Listen fuckstick “Ed” – I was absent probably for the same reason those elected officials were absent: WE HAD BETTER THINGS TO DO.

      I’m not a “big” anything, I’m captain fucking nobody, but I am American, I’ve served my country, I’ve served my community, and I’m sure as shit not a hypocrite like Massachusetts State Legislators and Massachusetts CONgress Members. When someone comes to me, at least they know where they stand – not like coward fucksticks like you hiding, and I know local pols (those with guts/balls) reading this know because they actually engage me, you can’t, because you have no balls.

      Illegal Invaders can GTFO – Then ask me how many fucks I give about where they’re from – I don’t care. As long as there is one American is going without (i.e. homeless, education, etc) because of ILLEGAL Invaders, you can go fuck yourself and whatever class you think you have.

  4. Merrimack Valley Pride said:

    People like Jack and Duncan show exactly why forums like this are necessary. When people like them hear the word ‘immigrant’ they immediately associate an entire group of people as criminals based on nothing but their own biases and prejudices. Outside of Native Americans, we are all children of immigrants and the sooner people realize this, the sooner we can begin to heal this divide that has manifested itself here in our city. Hopefully, our elected officials will step up and finally address the concerns of their constituents.

    • Jack Haverhill said:

      It’s always laughable that progressive liberals want to legislate issues to support their agenda, except when it comes to immigration. They sponsor legislation to promote Bathroom Bills, legalizing pot, racial and women’s rights issues but then turn around and want society to completely ignore legislatively passed laws on the books when it comes to how people enter this country. To bring the “Native American” argument up to justify criminals breaking the existing laws of this country is silly and juvenile. That ridiculous argument comes from liberals desperately searching for something that will give credibility to their unjustifiable position of supporting trespassing criminals who break the legislatively passed laws of this country.

    • SlipperCity said:

      It is ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION that one never hears when forums like this are presented and discussed. All immigrants are lumped into the same bag, and it is NOT fair to include legal immigrants in this group, people who came to this great country of ours in the right way. Do you not see the difference?.

  5. Jack Haverhill said:

    “Officials were asked to reaffirm their commitment to the protection of the city’s immigrant populations …”

    What was the response by mayor failurentini to this request?
    Citizens of Haverhill have a right to know where the mayor, other city officials, and those seeking office stand on this issue.

    Does anyone know what the mayor is instructing Chief DeNaro to tell his officers when they come across someone who is in this country illegally?

    Are there any police officers whose lives are in terrible danger every day in Haverhill as a result of the mayor turning it into a sanctuary city who can share what orders they have been given regarding this issue?

  6. Jack Haverhill said:

    I’d be fearful too if I was breaking the laws of the Federal Government of the United States of America.

    The people these brainwashed liberals are referring to are NOT immigrants. They are criminals. The very first step they took into the USA they broke the laws of this country by trespassing illegally. Liberals can try to manipulate the issue by using words like immigrants, undocumented workers, and illegal aliens all they want….it doesn’t change the actual status of these trespassers in this country. People going through the immigration process legally aren’t in fear at all.

    What a lesson in political ideology that now that we have a president looking out for the best interests of citizens of this country by enforcing laws that there are a whole group of people nervous because laws will no longer be ignored. Tells you whose interests Barry Obama put first, doesn’t it?

    How hypocritical is it that ‘religious’ leaders are advocating for these criminals in the country? Such a joke….

  7. Joe Citizen said:

    Thank you WHAV, for posting Jack and Duncan’s comments. If you didn’t some people wouldn’t know that such hateful , twisted people live amongst us.

  8. jack said:

    Oh please spare me the tears Alice. You are the ones stoking the fears among immigrants. If you are here legally, then you have nothing to worry about. If you came here illegally then you broke the law and you knew you were doing that. But, in reality, if you are a law abiding person, then I doubt you have anything to worry about. But if they feel uncomfortable, they are free to leave.

    The time you talk about regarding your ancestors was a different one. They didn’t come here expecting to be taken care of with loads of benefits for doing nothing. They didn’t thumb their nose at our laws and our culture. They didn’t force their old country laws onto us as is happening in some cities. They came here to be Americans and to assimilate into our culture. They came here willing to work and provide for their families. They came here knowing that they needed to learn our language of English and to abide by American laws. No longer the same situation any longer and that must change.

  9. Duncan Burns said:

    “resistance against the currents of fear and hatred directed against immigrants.” –

    Just illegal invaders, although a cessation on all immigration would be welcome. Invaders should have some hope as Trump has yet again reversed course on some of his campaign promises.

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