The good citizens of Lawrenceville, Virginia woke up one morning last week to discover that, without consulting them, a local college, now defunct, had signed a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to house 500 illegal alien teenagers on campus.
The mandarins at HHS didn’t deem it necessary to discuss the matter with the local town council or the people. They probably knew what the answer would be beforehand. On Friday evening, a town meeting was called and more than 1,000 angry residents showed up to show their displeasure at the decision.
After the meeting, HHS decided discretion was the better part of valor and retreated.
“We have heard the concerns of many of the residents and leaders of Lawrenceville about the proposal to temporarily care for unaccompanied children at the now-closed Saint Paul’s College,” said Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Mark A. Weber. “We have taken this proposal off the table and will move on quickly to identify other sites to temporarily house these vulnerable children.”
The announcement followed a heated community meeting at a high school in Lawrenceville, a hardscrabble town about 70 miles south of Richmond. More than a thousand residents attended to voice opposition to the plan and denounce the Obama administration officials for trying to force the project upon their impoverished community.
We talk slow around here and with a twang. But we say what we mean,” Aaron Smith, a sergeant in the National Guard and former Marine, told administration officials at the meeting. “Let me talk straight into your eyes: We don’t want you here.”
The residents expressed concerns about security, disease, the town’s overburdened emergency services and tax dollars going to unaccompanied alien children — or UACs — instead of local families living in poverty.
The uproar in Lawrenceville encapsulated the national debate ragging over illegal immigration and the crisis spreading form America’s southern border.
“I’m actually for one time happy with my federal government for doing what they told us they would do,” he told The Washington Times by phone. “That’s all our community wanted.
“However, it must be said that the manner in which HHS attempted to impose its plan on our community without any meaningful input is a painful reminder of just how disconnected Washington has become from the people it is supposed to represent — a Washington that always seems to be wiser and know better than its local elected leaders and its citizens,” said Mr. Hurt, a Republican.
Who thinks up these idiotic schemes? Five hundred teenagers dumped on a small town? What kind of trouble do you think those kids could get into? I’m sure the townspeople are breathing a big sigh of relief.
Ultimately, the administration wants somebody else to pay for their mistakes. Texas and Arizona are already paying a steep price for the administration’s blundering on immigration reform. Apparently, no thought was given to how the desperately poor people south of the border would take the news that they were welcome to come across as long as their kids were here, or that their children would be reunited with them even if they weren’t here legally.
The people of Lawrenceville didn’t want to pay for someone else’s errors. Good on them.