Immigrant’invasion protested Sunday, January 8, 2006
Kristen Bradley / Daily News Staff Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- Facing signs blaring messages such as "Illegals steal American jobs," "Stop the invasion," "Framingham Aides and Abets Illegals" and "Illegal Aliens Bring Diseases," members of the Brazilian community and immigrants from different locales fought back yesterday during a peaceful protest downtown.

The demonstration was scheduled to coincide with National Stop the Invasion Day -- a "holiday" that was celebrated by Americans across the nation in 20 states yesterday.  The event is meant to focus on the issue of illegal immigrants working in America.

Bob Casimiro, the executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition of Immigration Reform, put together the local event in Framingham yesterday.  Casimiro had about a half-dozen other supporters with him.

Alongside Casimiro's group and across the street were nearly 60 others -- but these people turned out to support illegal immigrants coming to live and work here in MetroWest and across the United States.

"There's an economy that needs immigrants," said Isaac Hodes of Lynn.  "Society is based on a history of immigrants.  There are immigrants who want to come here and there needs to be a process.  The federal government needs to catch up with reality."

The mostly peaceful protest did escalate to a "tennis match," consisting of back-to-back opinions being expressed out loud between the two sides.

Fortunately, there were no injuries, according to Framingham Police.

The verbal exchanges did get heated as people continued to raise their voices in order to speak over picket signs, some of which read "Pilgrims had no visas," and "Illegal aliens bring diseases."

Protester Jack Prindville said he wants to see illegal immigrants become legal and more importantly, enter the United States already legal.

"I am not against immigrants and (I'm not a racist)," he said.  "My wife is Asian.  My grandparents were immigrants.  We want immigrants here, they helped build our community."

And while Prindville and the six others who stood with him were outnumbered, they didn't seem bothered.  Their point is simple -- enter the United States legally and there would be no issues.

"If we allow this (issue with illegal immigrants) to get out of hand, it will have terrible social and economic impact," Prindville said.

"I believe that anyone who comes into our country should go through a proper process," said Gary Larzazs of Palmer, adding that if illegal immigrants were legal, then they too would have to pay taxes and have wages deducted.  But because immigrants are almost always illegal, Larzazs said it makes people like him pay more taxes which in his opinion, isn't fair.  If immigrants want to come to America, Larzazs said, they should have to pay taxes like everyone else.

Illegal immigrants would apply for legal status if they could, Hodes said.

"The law is so out of step with reality," Hodes added. "The federal government needs to make some changes."

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