"We will not be strong-armed by federal officials," bellowed one resident at the town hall, a 32-year-old former Marine named Aaron Smith. "We will not be pushed around," he exclaimed against the federal officials, as the crowd of townspeople gave him rousing applause.
Lawrenceville has only about 1,400 residents, and the town hall was held on June 19 in a spacious auditorium that seats 900. But even that large facility was not big enough to hold the outrage, as more than 1,000 angry people -- nearly everyone in the town -- showed up to express opposition to the Obama administration plan to relocate illegal immigrant children there.
The Obama administration thought it could quietly house 500 children, who had illegally crossed our border with Mexico, in a vacant college that had recently closed in this small town, but the politicians badly misread the depth of public opposition. Numerous federal officials were then sent by the Obama administration to appease the locals, but in the face of the uproar the officials felt compelled to apologize, one after another, for what they had done.
The apologies rang hollow. In typical government-speak, one official attributed the problem to "communication challenges" and acted like the miscommunication could be overcome with a bunch of talk. But there was no "communication challenge" in the numerous signs brought by town residents that shouted, "no illegal immigrants."
Residents expressed concern about public safety and a possible increase in crime if so many kids were bought into the community without parental supervision. "The No. 1 concern we have is the potential for shenanigans and the potential for crime," observed townsman Derek Lewis at a local pizza parlor.
Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts was also candid, describing "fear" among locals about the way the government was handling this, adding that "500 kids unaccounted for -- illegal alien children in my little sleepy town -- I just don't think it's the right fit for this community."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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