The Park Record Editorial, May 6, 2009
May 6, 2009
In past years, Parkites have celebrated Cinco de Mayo by honoring Mexican traditions and building bridges with our Latino friends and neighbors. But this year there were no fiestas or piñatas at the schools. Instead the day served as a somber reminder of the multitude of challenges facing Mexico and its people.
It has been a difficult year for Park City residents in general. The economy has taken a significant toll that is being felt even more keenly now that the shoulder season has arrived and among those hardest hit have been immigrants who work in Park City’s construction and service industries.
Few of them have the safety nets afforded American-born residents.
Unfortunately, some would say that they don’t deserve them. Undocumented aliens, they claim, should not receive welfare, health care or other services that help citizens in hard times.
We would argue, though, that many immigrants have come at our behest, have worked for the benefit of the whole community and now, whether documented or undocumented, deserve our wholehearted and compassionate support.
Facing the potential of tougher immigration enforcement here in the United States, coupled with an economic meltdown, chaos and violence (and now an epidemic) in their hometowns south of the border, many immigrants are caught in the middle unable to return home and afraid to stay here.
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The worsening situation for local immigrants has intensified their struggles to make ends meet, to keep their families intact and to stay healthy. That, in turn, could make the entire community more vulnerable to crime and disease.
So, even though we are not marking this Cinco de Mayo with margaritas and salsa, we would encourage Park City residents to make an additional effort to reach out to the Mexican immigrants who live in our midst. Like the rest of us, they are trying to bolster their spirits in the face of so many global uncertainties. We welcomed them with open arms when business was booming and now we are one community. We will benefit most by facing those challenges and uncertainties.