Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicago's North Shore Illegals Fear Unwanted Attention as Arizona Steps Up Immigration Enforcement

Well, it's working.

You gotta know that it's not just the folks up in Highland Park, North Shore, Chicago. Now that Arizona's getting serious, other states and localities are taking notice, and not just the sanctuary-city kind.

At Chicago Tribune, "
Highwood keeps a low profile: North Shore Latinos fear controversy could bring attention to quiet community":
About a mile from Highland Park High School, where earlier this month officials decided to keep the girls basketball team from traveling to Arizona, a quiet North Shore community has been guardedly monitoring the firestorm that brought the nation's heated arguments over illegal immigration to its doorstep.

It is in Highwood — where boutique pubs, antique shops and the occasional Mexican restaurant line the small town's commercial strip — that most of Highland Park High's Latino immigrant students live, local activists and parents say.

For that reason, the school district's self-described effort to protect its students from controversy over an Arizona crackdown on illegal immigrants has brought concerns about an unwanted spotlight to Highwood — even though, according to some students, it appears that none of the girls on the current basketball team are immigrant, Latino or Highwood residents.

"I'm a little bit wary of the situation," said Highwood Ald. Quintin Sepulveda, who is Puerto Rican and the first elected Latino official in the town of roughly 4,100 residents. "As good as [the district's] intentions might have been, some of the people I know who live here, they're a little nervous."

The anxiety stems partly from the reality that some of Highwood's immigrant residents are in the country illegally, local activists said. But it also has to do with concern that the controversy will attract the attention of bloggers and radio personalities to this mostly middle-class town of wood-paneled homes, art galleries and outdoor festivals.

"I'm really afraid they're going to bring in (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and that they'll start doing raids here and that's going to be real bad for the community," said one local activist, who asked that her name not be published. "For years, Highwood has been known as a friendly enclave of immigrants from all over the place."