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Fauquier Times Community Voices Editorial: Undocumented Immigrants – there I said it by Donusia Lipinski

“Undocumented Immigrants” – there, I said it.  These two words alone create such a strong emotional charge for many, on both sides of the issue.  Some cannot believe how poorly we treat each other as human beings; and others cannot understand why we don’t just send them all back home.   Two very polarized views. Unauthorized immigration will only end as we know it when we change the way we think about immigration as a whole and understand the reasons it occurs in the first place.

There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They comprise 5.2 of the workforce.  In Virginia, they are 3.1% of the workforce and account for $9.7 billion of the gross state product.  If all unauthorized or undocumented immigrants were removed from Virginia, the state would lose $11.2 billion in economic activity; and approximately 62,918 jobs.

Getting personal – beyond all the numbers and statistics, who are the “undocumented immigrants”?   First and foremost, they are human beings. They are parents, grandparents, children, spouses, employees, business and property owners, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and friends to many in the community.   Second, even though they may seem invisible, we know they clean our offices and homes, take care of the elderly and disabled; mow our lawns, fix our fences; work in construction, in restaurants.  Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been in the US for 10 or more years.  Many are loved by their employers; others are taken advantage of; employed and paid less because of their status.

Fauquier County is the 8th richest County in the U.S.  I believe that at least some of this wealth was built on the backs of undocumented immigrants. I hear from the farmers and horse owners that they are only able to run their operations because of the undocumented immigrants whom they know and love.

To see the rest of the “Our Community Voices” editorial written by Donusia Lipinski, managing immigration lawyer and founder of Blue Ridge Immigration Law Center, PLLC in Warrenton, VA, published on November, 6, 2013  in the Fauquier Times, please go to Fauquier Times Article


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