Nearby Mexico Sends Dozens of Illegals Each Day; Pingree China Trip Next Target
RUMFORD – Hundreds of protesters filled the street of this quiet Oxford County town over the weekend, demanding that state and federal officials curb the flow of illegal immigrants from nearby Mexico.
Local law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to monitor immigration, say several dozen people migrate from Mexico to surrounding communities every day.
“I had a Mexican move in down the street from me just a couple of months ago, and now she’s living off welfare and her kids are going to our schools,” said Winnifred Demkiewicz of Rumford. “I have to pay taxes to support their free ride.”
Authorities estimated as many as 800 people marched through the center of town Saturday and Sunday, carrying signs that said “Close the Border” and “Stop the Invasion.” They chanted numerous slogans, including “Amnesty NO” and “Where’s The Wall?”
Robert Corson of Dixfield said, “You wouldn’t believe how they just come and go as they please, as if there’s no border at all. When will it end? When they’ve taken all our jobs?”
Mexico Town Manager John Madigan attempted to use a loudspeaker to inform the crowd that they were geographically confused, but he was drowned out with cries of “speak English!” and “shut up, wetback.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “I’ve always thought of Rumford as such a welcoming place, full of opportunity. But now that I’ve seen and heard some of their citizens, I’m not sure why anyone from Mexico would ever want to move there.”
Word of the protest reached Gov. Paul LePage Sunday as he on a trade mission, touring a water bottling facility in Poland. LePage promised to convene a special advisory panel to examine the feasibility of completely closing the Mexican border.
“The governor wants to make clear that he has no problem with people immigrating here through the proper channels or with French last names,” said spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. “But he is committed to cracking down on illegal immigration.”
The Rumford protest wound down around dinnertime on Sunday, but Tea Party leaders say they are far from finished. They plan to convene in the Kennebec County town of China next weekend to protest a trip by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
The congresswoman said she was invited to a friend’s camp on China Lake for a weekend of fishing, but the Tea Party is not convinced.
“If we’re not careful, the liberals will keep borrowing and borrowing until China takes all our jobs and owns our grandchildren,” said Jenkins. “Why is she going all the way over there, selling us out, when we have serious problems to deal with here at home?”