Along East 7th Street in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul, Minn., more signs are in Spanish than English, advertising everything from used cars to groceries.
That backdrop certainly made Larry Dalin’s sign stand out.
Holding a placard that read, “In Mexico, illegals are jailed,” Dalin was a lone sentry outside the Mexican Consulate on Friday afternoon, part of a national protest against illegal immigration and the Obama administration’s response to the ongoing crisis at the nation’s southern border.
Though he may have been alone at the protest, Dalin’s frustration is embodied by other Americans. He’s 58, unemployed for more than a year and facing bleak job prospects after a career in manufacturing. His frustration boiled over after hearing stories of undocumented and unaccompanied children being allowed into the country during the past several weeks.
Even though he was stationed outside the Mexican Consulate, Dalin’s frustration was directed at the U.S. government.
“The whole thing has been created by the [Obama] administration,” he said. “In Mexico, it’s illegal to be an illegal … but in the United States, they give them a new car and a cell phone. Or at least a drivers’ license.”
Dalin didn’t know it, but in the largely immigrant community in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, he would have found dozens of people who agreed with his point of view.
With bright yellow Gadsden flags waving in the bright Florida sun behind him, James Schafer said the sudden influx of immigrants was bad news for the country’s future.
“The law is not being enforced, and it’s putting too much of a strain on the resources of the country,” he said. “It’s going to break the United States.”
This weekend’s protests were organized by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, a political action committee that supports candidates who fight to limit illegal immigration. After organizing more than 300 protests during the weekend, the group said on Monday it would plan more protests in states with primary elections in the coming months.
“It is clear that the surge of illegal immigrants on our borders coming for the immigration reform amnesty promised by Obama and some Republicans has brought a great change in public views on this issue,” said William Gheen, president of ALIPAC.