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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Romanian immigrants spark unease in California Borough

    Romanian immigrants spark unease in California Borough

    STEPHEN HUBA | Saturday, July 15, 2017, 2:57 p.m.

    California Borough in Washington County has been thrown into turmoil with the recent arrival of immigrants believed to be from Romania.

    Downtown California is replete with signs for available housing in the borough, some of which has been taken by recent immigrants from Romania.

    Updated 3 minutes ago
    Romanian immigrants who have settled in California are provoking a sometimes-heated debate in the Washington County borough about immigration and the limits of tolerance.

    The families, believed to be Roma, a stateless ethnic minority from Eastern Europe, started arriving — legally — in California about two months ago and have been moving into former Cal U student housing units. They and others said they just want a safe place to live.

    Their reception by bewildered borough residents has been mixed.

    Some have reacted with suspicion, circulating a petition titled “End Housing of Illegal Immigrants in California” that has received more than 1,100 signatures. Many of those who signed said they are afraid of the foreigners. Census figures show the town has a population of about 7,000.

    On Thursday, at a standing-room-only meeting of California council, some accused the newcomers of hazardous driving, shoplifting, defecating in public, accumulating refuse in their yards and slaughtering chickens in view of neighbors.

    “It's not the point that they're immigrants. It's the point that they don't follow our laws,” said Dawne Roberts of Coal Center, who charged that the immigrants have had an impact on her adjacent community.

    “This is a problem that snuck up on us,” said council President Patsy Alfano, who suggested the borough find interpreters and determine the leaders among the immigrants to begin a dialogue.

    “We need to let them know what the rules are, what we're going to tolerate and what we expect of them if they're going to become part of our community,” he said.

    Others reported having friendly encounters with immigrant families and being invited to eat barbecue with them.

    A group of Roma sitting outside their apartments in the area of Second, Third and Mechanic streets on Friday declined to speak to a reporter. Some of them said they were in town for the wake of a family member and were preparing to leave.

    A man sitting at the Vito Dentino Agency, a property management firm, declined to give his name but said he and his family came from New York about two months ago. He said he did not feel safe in New York.

    “Here in California, it's beautiful people. No dangerous people,” he said.


    Borough resident Lisa Buday, an attorney, urged community members not to harshly judge the immigrants based on cultural differences. “We are human beings. Guess what? They are, too,” she said.

    Buday said she was prompted to speak after attending the just-concluded 2017 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, which had a session on the importance of welcoming immigrants. She would like to solicit involvement from local churches and form an ad hoc committee to assist the families.

    “What can we do to help them understand the expectations of those in the community, and what can we do to build community with them?” she said.

    Complaints about the newcomers centered on the fact no one knew they were coming or why.


    Dr. Richard Martin, the borough administrator, said at Thursday's meeting that the families are not illegal immigrants but are here through a program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The electronic ankle monitors worn by some suggest they are subject to tracking because they “didn't have proper documentation to remain in the country” and are involved in due process proceedings, he said.

    ICE spokesman Adrian Smith confirmed Friday that some of the immigrants are part of the Alternatives to Detention program (ADT).

    “The ATD program is a flight-mitigation tool that uses technology and case management to increase compliance with release conditions and facilitates compliance with court hearings and final orders of removal, while allowing individuals to remain in their community,” Smith said.

    Smith said ICE does not place participants in specific communities but allows those eligible for release to choose where they will reside.

    “There are ATD program participants living in California,” Smith said. “ICE catalogues and monitors the residence the participant identifies. Trained ATD officers make a determination on the most appropriate level of case management and technology assignment.”


    Martin said borough officials received no notice that the families planned to settle in California. He said they apparently selected the community “because we have affordable, available housing.”

    “They were told California would be a place to go because it's a college town, and college towns are more liberal,” said Realtor broker Dentino. “The people in this community have to have some patience, some understanding and be willing to work with them.”

    Dentino, who manages numerous rental properties in town, said he has leased about 30 apartments to the immigrant families and has no more vacancies to offer them.

    “I think it's really blown a lot out of proportion,” he said of the complaints about the newcomers. “They're not violent. … Their frustration is they can't speak English, and our frustration is we can't speak Romanian.”


    Borough businessman Wayne Cekola, who has nine families living in his properties, said California seems to have the right combination of affordable housing and tolerance, thanks to the presence of Cal U.

    “We're totally willing to work with them if they're willing to work with us,” he said.

    Cekola said the families arrived with virtually no possessions — just clothes, pillows and blankets. One family he visited was sleeping on a piece of carpet.

    “I think the churches ought to get involved,” he said.

    Cekola said some of the men form convoys on Sunday nights and drive to Baltimore for construction jobs that they work during the week. They return on Friday nights.

    Brownsville resident Lee Miller, 33, said he is concerned about the immigrants' presence in the community, especially since they seem to be flouting laws and disregarding community standards.

    “If they were oppressed in their country and came here for that freedom, don't take advantage of a good thing,” he said. “These people are gladly welcomed in our community, but just don't do the filthy stuff.”


    Police Chief Rick Encapera acknowledged there have been incidents of defecation and at least one traffic citation issued to an immigrant in a hit-and-run accident.

    But he said there have been no borough criminal charges against any of the immigrants. He said they have not violated local livestock regulations, which prohibit only raising of chickens in the town.

    When any of the immigrants has been accused of property damage, he said, families members have made restitution. When one vehicle was “booted” because of multiple unpaid parking tickets, the owner promptly paid the fine and others from the group who had pending tickets also paid theirs, he said.

    Staff writer Jeff Himler contributed. Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib.
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 07-16-2017 at 12:32 AM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member posylady's Avatar
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    Send them all to California they want them there and it has become a melting pot for everyone.

  3. #3
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    No country wants the Roma or Gypsies in Europe. Romanians but originally from northern India. They set up camp anywhere, some sleep in their vehicles. France has a big problem with them. Being non-muslim you don't hear of the "tribunals" for speaking out against them.

    News France 7 February 2017

    Thousands of Roma 'made homeless' in France in 2016

    More than six in 10 Roma families forcibly evicted as persecution against community rises, civil rights groups report.

    Anealla Safdar
    Up to 17,000 Roma live in makeshift camps across France [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]More than 10,000 Roma were forcibly evicted by French authorities last year, with most ejections taking place during the cold winter months, according to a new report.

    The European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des droits de L'Homme (Human Rights League of France) said on Tuesday that at least 60 percent of Romani families in the country were forced to leave their dwellings.

    The majority of the recorded evictions took place without a court decision and, in most cases, adequate alternative accommodation was not offered to those made homeless, the groups said in a joint report.
    "France's policy of ethnically targeted evictions creates cycles of repeat evictions and forced removals," the report said.

    "It is also a significant squandering of financial and administrative resources. It is not only a morally bankrupt strategy, but one that is not in the best interests of taxpayers, whose contributions could far better be deployed to invest in social assessments and sustainable solutions for housing."

    Almost 3,000 Roma were forced from their camps between October and December, a 17 percent increase from the previous quarter.
    "Many Roma were evicted multiple times in 2016," the report said. "This unsustainable practice only worsens deep poverty and neglects the underlying housing problems."

    Between 15,000 and 17,000 Roma live in poor conditions with little access to water and electricity in makeshift, illegal camps across France, according to the country's national census and NGOs.

    Authorities often cite sanitary reasons for dismantling the camps.

    Catrinel Motoc, anti-discrimination campaigner for Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera: "We have repeatedly called on the French authorities ... to put an end to forced evictions and take a series of measures that would enable Roma to benefit from their right to adequate housing and not to be discriminated [against], as guaranteed by numerous international and regional human rights obligations that France ratified."

    In June 2016, several organisations and agencies - including the Council of Europe and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - warned local authorities across the continent to provide Roma with "sustainable" housing, saying that children were at particular risk of trauma and social isolation because of evictions.

    Soraya Post, human rights activist and Member of the European Parliament, told Al Jazeera: "Evictions of Roma are a clear violation of their human rights even if they are evicted from illegal settlements, as long as they are not offered any alternative. This [is] according to a decision in the European court of law. Sadly this is how Europe has always treated my people."

    Racist attacks

    In addition to being made homeless, Roma often face discrimination.

    "Many incidents of hate speech and cases of discrimination against Romani people were reported," the groups said, which confirmed the need for policy "to address the plight of a stigmatised and deeply impoverished population to ensure ... equal access to basic services".

    Tuesday's report highlighted several racist attacks, including one in December against Jewish and Roma at the Anne Frank nursery school in an eastern suburb of Paris, Montreuil.

    In an act of vandalism, "Juden verboten" (Jews forbidden) and "Sales Juifs et Roms" (Filthy Jewish and Romani people), were found painted on the front gate of the Anne Frank nursery, the report noted.

    Between 10 and 12 million Roma are estimated to live in Europe, with most in eastern parts of the continent.

    With ancestral roots in India, the Roma migrated to eastern Europe in the 10th century and have been persecuted throughout history.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia, many travelled west, seeking to escape poverty and discrimination.
    In 2010, the European Union criticised France over a crackdown on illegal Roma camps launched by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    In the same year, thousands of Roma were deported to Romania and Bulgaria from France.
    Last edited by artist; 07-15-2017 at 08:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lorrie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by posylady View Post
    Send them all to California they want them there and it has become a melting pot for everyone.

    Hold up posylady.......not so fast.

    We have enough third world immigrants here, both illegal and legal.

    Send them to New York.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    The article is about "California Borough", a small town in Pennsylvania.

    California, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia

    California is a borough on the Monongahela River in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States, and part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area since 1950.
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 07-16-2017 at 12:34 AM.

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  6. #6
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    Unfortunately, Roma are universally suffering from some cultural problems that make them functionally unqualified for immigration anywhere. This is a classic example of how important it is that evidence of an ability to sustain yourself should be demonstrated before qualifying for immigration into the US. Also prohibiting immigrants from any kind of public assistance for a period of five years after becoming a citizen is prescriptive in this case.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Right on pkskyali!!

    Vet, Vet, Vet!!
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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  8. #8
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Opposition to Romanian immigrants in California, Pa., fizzles after outrage over their lifestyle

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette0 PM
    AUG 10, 2017

    CALIFORNIA, Pa. — The voices of outrage that were raised a month ago about the Romanian asylum seekers in this small Monongahela Valley community have died down, but there remains a distinct separation that some residents are working to bridge.

    More than 150 residents packed the borough council’s July meeting, many of them complaining about the 100-some Roma who began moving into apartments here in May. They told stories of public defecation by the children and said they had seen the newcomers killing chickens and committing traffic violations. A few expressed concerns for their safety.

    But the council’s August meeting, held Thursday night before a sparse turnout, had none of the same fireworks.

    Things have calmed down, said California police Chief Rick Encapera, who a month ago was accused of letting the Roma run roughshod over the town of 5,000.

    “There had been a few incidents — a few noise complaints,” he said. “I think we had one shoplifting complaint and some driving incidents and we cited them. We’re handling it case by case. When something happens, we respond to it, but we’re not targeting them as some people wanted us to do.”

    The newcomers, who shy away from reporters, call themselves Roma, a group distinct from ethnic Romanians. The Roma are a minority in many European countries, where they often experience prejudice and persecution. It is unclear how or why they came to relocate to tiny California, but it is believed that the migration started with a few who had been processed by the federal government and then found sanctuary here. Dozens of friends and relatives followed them.

    One of the Roma said he and his family traveled from Romania to Mexico and appealed for asylum upon reaching the U.S. border.

    They were processed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and have been released as part of the government’s Alternative to Detention program. Many asylum seekers must await their day in court in detention centers, but others, such as some of the Roma men, can be free while wearing electronic anklets that allow authorities to monitor their movements.

    The anklets — as well as the language barrier and the Roma’s reticence — have sparked inflammatory rumors and misrepresentations about them that have been fueled by social media.

    Vito Dentino, a local real estate agent, said some borough officials wanted to increase inspections of the numerous apartments he is renting to the Roma, but he refused to allow more than the annual inspections required for the properties.

    Mr. Dentino, who was sharply questioned by his neighbors a month ago, said the only real complaint he has is that the Roma don’t seem to appreciate local standards regarding trash, driving and public behavior. It’s something they must learn, he said, if they are going to assimilate into California.

    However, Emanuela Grama, a history professor at Carnegie Mellon University who moved to Pittsburgh from Romania 10 years ago, said she isn’t certain that the Roma want to assimilate. After speaking with some of the Roma residents in California on Thursday, she said it is more likely that they just want to be left alone.

    She said she was not surprised that they are defensive and averse to speaking in public.

    “A few of them have talked with reporters and they feel they have been misrepresented,” she said. “Also, their legal situation is not clear, so they are being cautious about what they say. And then there are the things they’ve heard [from some in the community], and they feel they are not welcome.”

    But those she talked with said they liked living in California.

    “It’s peaceful here,” she said.

    Attorney Lisa J. Buday, a lifelong resident whose office is across from the municipal building, has made a special effort to reach out to the Roma, even posting fliers in their native language telling them where they can get school supplies that have been donated for their children.

    “I’m just trying to help,” said Ms. Buday, who has made food and toys available to some of the Roma families. “There’s a long history in my family — my parents and grandparents — of welcoming people to our table. I’ve heard some of the things said about them, and I simply don’t agree. They’re very grateful, especially the women and children. And the kids are just lovely.

    “My position is that we need to get to know our new community members,” she said.

    In an email response to questions about the Roma, Jonathan Lee, spokesman for the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest, Hungary, said the Roma there live in “grinding poverty” and are segregated into settlements “where the living conditions are far worse than I think most people would imagine exists in Europe.”

    He said that those who criticize them for not “fitting in” forget that they are only four generations removed from chattel slavery.

    “The deeply entrenched Antigypsyism in Romanian society has resulted in a two-tier society where Roma are still treated as second-class citizens and discriminated against in virtually [every] aspect of life.”

    What’s more, he added, they “experience a complete failure of the rule of law in Romania.”

    “Roma are subject to extreme institutional racism at all levels, including the police and the judiciary,” Mr. Lee wrote. “The courts are not a realistic option for redress. The only realistic and viable option for many Roma to escape the level of persecution they face in Romania, is quite simply to leave Romania.”

    He said some of the cases, many of which involve police brutality, reach the European Court of Human Rights.

    “When the police are not harassing them, raiding their homes, or torturing them in jail cells — they have often been complicit in mob violence against Roma, either by joining or standing by and letting the attack happen,” he said. “We have numerous examples of such violence against Roma, as recently as in the last few months.”

    As citizens of the European Union, Mr. Lee said, Roma in Romania have the right to freedom of movement within EU member states and many move to Western European countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark. But none of these countries, he said, are “safe havens.”

    “To Americans who fear having Roma as their neighbors,” Mr. Lee wrote, “this is a question that has come up for as long as people have been migrating to new places. From what I have seen in accounts from the majority of locals in California, Pennsylvania: there were some issues to begin with, a little culture shock on both sides, but broadly speaking the Roma there have settled remarkably well and there have been few problems between the locals and new arrivals.”

    Dan Majors: and 412-263-1456. Peter Smith:


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  9. #9
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    There are groups who complain they have been persecuted and no one wants them.

    Maybe it's time they ask why they are not so welcome. Maybe they should ask themselves if their behavior is causing it.

    Again, what is all this moving around the globe? Something,some entity is pushing this. It could not be that suddenly most of the world is uninhabitable.

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