Legal Immigrant Opposes Relaxing Immigration Laws
Grabins: Others Share Her Opinion But Afraid To Speak

UPDATED: 7:43 pm CDT May 1, 2006

MADISON, Wis. -- A legal immigrant from Guatemala who now lives in Dane County said that racism has nothing to do with her opposition to relaxing immigration laws.

Carol Barillas de Grabins said that she wants people to know that not all Latinos favor illegal immigration, and that many others share her opinion, but are afraid to say it.

"I'm not a racist," she said. "I'm exactly the same race as probably everyone who is marching today or not working today."

Originally, Grabins said that she came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1989, but it took her years, thousands of dollars and tons of paperwork to gain permanent resident status after getting married to a U.S. citizen in 1997, WISC-TV reported.

Now with two young children born here, Grabins said that she resents the attitude of some who are rallying for immigrants' rights on Monday. She said that she strongly believes every immigrant should follow U.S. laws like she did.

"I know we are hard working people," she said. "I know most of them are not criminals. But we need to respect the law. And let's go with the process, even if it takes us 20 years."

Grabins said that she favors building a physical barrier to stop illegal immigrants.

She also called illegal immigration a burden on taxpaying Americans. She said that immigrants should be paying taxes instead of expecting the U.S. to support them and their families back home.

Grabins also rejects claims that illegal immigrants are important to the U.S. economy.

"I don't think the economy of the United States is driven by growing tomatoes," she said. "I think it's mostly technology."

Grabins said that she's spoken with many people who have concerns about illegal immigration, mainly centered on the economic impact of a large influx of people. She said that they won't speak up for fear they'll be viewed as prejudiced against a skin color or culture, WISC-TV reported.