By Reverend David L. Ostendorf
When I first journeyed to Suffolk Country eight years ago to work with religious, civic, and immigrant rights groups facing growing anti-immigrant activity stoked by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, I was stunned to witness the depth of anger and hostility that the group’s organizer had helped unleash. It all started “respectably” enough. But the attempt in 2000 by neo-Nazis to kill two Mexican workers was a harbinger of where growing, unchecked anti-immigrant fever and fervor could go; other violence followed. Now, an Ecuadoran immigrant, is dead at the hands of area youth who reportedly set out to beat up “some Mexicans,” bringing the tragedy of Suffolk County to its inevitable end.
In those early days Newsday tagged Suffolk County “ground zero” of a growing anti-immigrant movement. It was indeed. And now the harvest is in.