… And the Immigration Reform Movement
Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, Jun. 22
(Washington, DC — June 22, 2004) A documentary film entitled “Farmingville,” which is scheduled to air tonight on PBS stations, presents a one-sided and distorted view of one community’s attempt to deal with an influx of illegal alien laborers. The producers attempt to portray community activists as being motivated by racism and manipulated by outside organizations because of their opposition to the establishment of a hiring hall for the day laborers who have overwhelmed the small Long Island town.
“We cannot respond point-by-point to the assertions made in this film because the producers shared their film only with supporters of the illegal immigrants,” commented Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national immigration reform group that assisted local community members in their efforts to block the establishment of an illegal alien hiring hall. “We understand that they unfairly attempt to portray members of the community and others opposed to the hiring hall in the worst possible light.”
Farmingville, New York, like many other communities around the country, has experienced a large and sudden influx of foreign day laborers — many, if not most, of whom are illegally in the country — causing a direct and negative impact on the people in that town. Local residents have been burdened with costs of education, health care and other services, and the attendant consequences of widespread loitering and criminal activity on the town’s streets.
“People in Farmingville mobilized to confront this phenomenon that was destroying their businesses and dragging down the value of their property exactly like anyone else would: They organized to protect their interests and demand that federal immigration laws be enforced,” said Stein. “However, the producers would have the public believe that they are a rabble motivated by bigotry, rather than ordinary hard-working folks who want to live in peace and safety in their own community.
FAIR also criticized the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service which funded and will air the film. “The word public appears in both their names, but they certainly haven’t acted like it,” noted Stein. “It’s questionable whether they should be in the business of financing and airing a one-sided advocacy film in the first place — there is certainly ample private foundation money available and a plethora of private outlets to produce and air that sort of documentary.”