Residents in California, Pennsylvania, a small borough of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area, have said they are outraged after the federal government moved 40 Romanian ‘gypsies’ into the town of 7,000 as part of the government’s Alternative to Detention program.
On Thursday, more than 150 residents attended a community meeting about the immigrants, who residents say have failed to assimilate to American customs and norms. The residents cited trash in yards, disruptions in town markets, children and men defecating in public streets, and immigrants cutting off the heads of chickens in public areas, according to a report by WTAE-TV. None of the immigrants, who are undocumented, have been charged with any other serious criminal offenses.
“We’re a very diverse town, we’re very open, but they aren’t assimilating to our laws,” said Pam Duricic, a resident of California, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are understanding that these are immigrants. But this is not the same scenario as our grandparents. They didn’t come here to raise havoc.”
The Romanian immigrants ended up in California borough as part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternative to Detention program, which allows immigrants to live in U.S. communities instead of being detained while they await a final decision about their immigration status.
The Romanian immigrants have said they came to America to escape persecution. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports they belong to a group called Roma, minorities in Romania that are distinct from most of the Romanian population. The 40 Romanian immigrants have self-described themselves as “gypsies.”
It’s unclear why they ended up in California borough, rather than in some other neighboring town or in nearby Pittsburgh, but the Post-Gazette reports one of the Romanians said at the town meeting they came to California borough because of its affordability and friendly reputation.
At the town meeting, town officials and the police chief told residents they had received no warning from the federal government about the immigrants’ arrival.
About 600 residents have signed a petition demanding the gypsies change their living habits.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Alternatives to Immigration Detention program was implemented in part to save taxpayer money. About $2 billion is spent every year for immigration detention. The ACLU also claims the AID program is “more humane” because the immigrants involved in the program would otherwise be detained only to ensure that they show up for their hearings, not because they’ve committed crimes.
Posted in Government, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh news anchor Wendy Bell of WTAE-TV has been fired following a controversial Facebook post.
Image via Facebook/WendyBellWTAE
“WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell,” said a statement from Hearst Television, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. “Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Bell, who had been with the station for 18 years, has been off the air since last week after the station’s general manager, Charles Wolfertz, publicly apologized for Bell’s “egregious lack of judgment.”
Bell caused an uproar after she went onto her public WTAE Facebook page and shared her thoughts regarding a recent crime that saw six people, including a pregnant woman and children, slaughtered in one of Pittsburgh’s roughest neighborhoods. In the post, Bell came to the conclusion that “young black men” committed the atrocious crime.
The Emmy-winning anchor later edited her post — then deleted it — and apologized for ever penning it in the first place.
“I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist,” her apology read, in part. ”I regret offending anyone. I’m truly sorry.”
Bell’s Facebook page and her biography on the station’s website had been taken down as of Wednesday afternoon.
In comments left on the station’s Facebook page, it was clear that local Pittsburghers were upset by the station’s decision.
Lost 500 followers in 30 min since I checked. Lol.
Posted by Billy Goebel on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
You made a huge mistake WTAE!! I don’t watch the news but I liked Wendy Bells Facebook posts we could all learn something from her. She was a very real person.
Posted by Mindi Neville Komarinski on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
wow you guys are truly pathetic for firing Wendy Bell it’s a shame you buckle under pressure from people that don’t know what racism is…
Posted by Cameron Cashdollar on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Will never watch again. Wendy’s words were not said in hatred not prejudice. Yet she is treated like a villain. My heart…
Posted by Lynn Koosher Orawiec on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I am done, bye WTAE what a worthless station. No backbone to support a loyal employee.
Posted by Laurie K Marchewka on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I will no longer be watching your news. I stand behind Wendy Bell she admitted she made a mistake. Yet her employer could not stand behind her. Channel 2 here I come
Posted by Tammy Baumgartner on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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Posted in Media, Pittsburgh, US