Sunday, November 26, 2006

Herndon, again

The Washington Post, facing a very slow week (news wise) has returned to the issues surrounding Herndon's Day Labor Center, literally. Taking a human interest approach, but not looking at the actual people who are effected by the day labor center (immigrants), the article examines the DeBenedittis family, who are tragically "cast as adversaries" in the midst of the debate.

Here's the deal: Herndon's mayor, Stephen J. DeBenedittis, is squarely against immigration. He ran on an anti-immigrant platform, wants to eliminate the day labor center, and as he said in an earlier WP article, wants to "return Herndon to its roots." He has never been specific about what "roots" he wants to return to, but given his anti-immigrant tone, one can only assume is try to make it a Anglo farming community again. Mr. DeBenedittis has three siblings, one of whom works at the controversial day labor center, Jennie Albers. Caught in the middle is their father, Tony DeBenedittis, who is trying to stay neutral. So what we have here is a family disagreement. All sides, according to this article, insist there is no animosity in the family because the DeBenedittis siblings find themselves on opposite ends of the debate.

Why is this news?

As far as I can tell, it's not. This article does nothing to advance the public's knowledge of Herndon or the immigration debate. It does tell us a bit about the DeBenedittis family: the Dad seems like a nice guy, the sister appears to be an admirable humanitarian, the bother/mayor, well, let's leave it at "nothing new" here. To be honest, the public does not need to know about the inner workings of the DeBenedittis family, because it does not matter.

Here's a recommendation for the Post reporters: why not talk to the people who really are the center of this controversy: the day laborers themselves. Those of the voices that get overlooked in this debate, and they are the ones that we desperately need to hear.

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