Business owner welcomes immigrants

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By Sunday, Mar 26 Letters  17 Comments
A framed document in the window of Robin's Candy on Main Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Such signs have appeared in the windows of Great Barrington businesses.

To the Editor:

As a small business owner I have voted Republican on many fiscal issues over the last 20 years, and Democratic on an equal number of social items.

Throughout, however, I am consciously mindful that we are a nation whose “greatness” is rooted in our acceptance of people from all places who came here under a myriad of circumstances.

The narrow minded interpretation and protectionist intentions of the current administration is a wake up call to each citizen to remember our history and continue to welcome with open arms those seeking refuge within our borders.

Robin & Team are proud to display the message in the photo above of inclusiveness and will continue to make our voice known at the local, state and national level to ensure our elected officials know small business — the backbone of American Enterprise — welcomes customers regardless of pedigree or passport.

Robin Helfand

Owner & Sweet Chief

Robin’s Candy

Great Barrington, Mass.


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17 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Steve Farina says:

    Is it safe to presume that all the business establishments in town who proudly post these signs would also welcome anyone who would like to enter their store whenever they like, even when the doors are locked (their border closing) and helping themselves to whatever they want. These border crossers (some would call them criminal for breaking and entering) might even send whatever they can get back to their families, wherever they may be, all without paying a dime.
    Perhaps the homeless in this town have a safe place to sleep at night afterall. They can cross any of the borders posting these signs and take care of themselves without repercussion.
    There is a legal way to enter, and stay in, this country. Those who enter illegally are no different than s B&E perpetrator.

    1. Richard Stanley says:

      Apparently according to the law DO have a place sleep wherever and whenever they want and they/he is a US Citizen….where is your concern for taxpaying citizens when that occurs and continues to occur ?

      1. Steve Farina says:

        Good question, Richard. I am vaguely familiar with your circumstances, and recall seeing an article about the State Supreme Court ruling – last year I think it was.
        Along with affordable housing (my preference would be not to have it next to the sewer plant), a homeless shelter may also be needed in GB. Aside from the most “famous” homeless man in GB I have also seen a foreign man sleeping in doorways and other areas of town, as well as knowing a few “couch hoppers”.
        I don’t believe he speaks english, but we greet each other when our paths cross.
        Perhaps a shelter could be a use for the basement of the church about to be purchased/renovated. Or, there are other buildings in town which may be able to fill that role.
        In an ideal situation it would be nice to help the homeless transition through basic shelter, to affordable housing, to market rate housing. There would need to be psychological and social skills assistance,job training, financial training, and other services needed to support it.

      2. Patrick Fennell says:

        GB’s professional homeless man finished in the very top of his high school class and has a college degree. He chooses to live as an urban survivalist. So why should landlords have to assist this man in his lifestyle?
        It is too bad Carl continues to be a narrow minded know-it-all.

    2. Carl Stewart says:

      Mr. Farina’s comment is a classic textbook example of how having a little bit of knowledge….very, very little bit, in this case…can be a dangerous thing.

      It has been estimated that about 1/2 of all undocumented immigrants (“illegals” in the language of the right) have committed no crime in being in this country without documentation. Example, a student at Stanford from Colombia fails to renew her student visa. She is, therefore, an undocumented (which simply means without the proper documentation, i.e., a student visa) immigrant. Has she committed a crime? No, but she is subject to deportation (a civil, not a criminal, proceeding) to Colombia because of her lack of “documentation.” She did not “break and enter” in Farina’s simplistic example. In order to be found guilty of breaking and entering, your entry must be without authorization. This student’s entry was fully authorized by the U.S. government.

      Indeed, it is difficult to have an intelligent discussion on this subject (and any subject for that matter) when one of the parties either does not have the requisite intelligence or, has it but refuses to engage the necessary body parts.

      1. Steve Farina says:

        In spite of your admitted shortcomings in your closing paragraph, I will nevertheless attempt to have an intelligent discussion with you about this.

        So anyone can walk into the store during business hours and refuse to leave…it was meant to be a simplistic analogy to make a point.
        A foreign national in this country without proper documentation is here illegally.

        How about you tell me where you live, Carl, I have a storage container I want to keep on your front lawn for my own purposes, maybe I can park my car in your garage, property rights don’t matter in your world, right?

    3. Shawn G. says:

      Your analogy might hold on entering the store, but by and large illegal immigrants are not “helping themselves to whatever they want.” They are being hired to harvest strawberries or clean dishes or mow lawns…

      1. Steve Farina says:

        Or write code, build sattelites, work in the fashion industry, or work in healthcare, copmuting, textiles…or maybe run street gangs,sex trafficking rings, or terror cells…
        OMG, do you really think that all illegal immigrants are Hispanics who crossed the Mexixan/American border? And came here to be landscapers and migrant farmers?

    4. Carl Stewart says:

      I am at a loss to attempt to respond to either Mr. Farina and Mr. Fennell, so I won’t make what will surely be a fruitless attempt to clear up what is at best obfuscation and, at worst, stupidity. Both Mr. “Fs” have found something in my comment that simply wasn’t there. Somehow, the relatively straightforward discussion about undocumented residents of this country turned into criticism of homeless people in Great Barrington. From there, Mr. Farina asked if he could put his storage container on my property. If he doesn’t see the utter silliness of his argument, then he is best left to wander in his own forest.

      1. Steve Farina says:

        Keep reading through this comment section Carl…
        When you have spent as many years working with the very people being discussed in this article and comment section as I have, then come back to me and we can discuss my “very very little knowledge” as you call it.
        And if you can’t understand the Sovereignty of a nation, I suppose it explains why you can’t understand the analogous personal property rights.

  2. Phil says:

    Funny how Robin’s wants to welcome immigrants and refugees but will not hire a local kid with a tattoo or piercing

    1. Harold Schrager says:

      Wow. Welcoming immigrants and refugees gets a lot of negativity. At a time of great peril for these folks there are stores and restaurants and synagogues all with that same sign. People are standing up everywhere to support vulnerable mistreated human beings. Stand up, put up signs, welcome, help good people stay safe, be a mensch.

      1. Steve Farina says:

        Harold,
        I do not have a problem at all with welcoming refugees and immigrants who arrive here through legal methods, those who have been “vetted”. I have spent a large percentage of my adult life standing up for and supporting the most vulnerable mistreated human beings.
        Over the years I have voluntarily had drug addicts, homeless, and even an illegal alien or two stay in my home as we worked together to attempt to sort out and better their situation.
        I helped start a food distribution program in “The Jungle” in New Haven, CT and spent many an evening in the yard with the mostly black youth of that troubled neighborhood. I have spent evenings in drug infested neighborhoods of Hartford, CT trying to help people turn away from that lifestyle. I have worked closely with and helped many people get into recovery programs. I have volunteered to help organize and bring meals and supplies (like socks, and toiletries) into several men’s homeless shelters in New Haven on an ongoing basis – not just religious holidays when the “good” people show up.
        I have volunteered in the jails across MA, from Berkshire to Barnstable, and in 2006 received an award for volunteer of the year from Sheriff Ashe in Hamden County for my work in the County Jail and the Alcohol corrections center, as well as my work with the men and women after their release from incarceration.
        I have also spent much time walking the streets of Springfield talking with and trying to help gang members, prostitutes, and drug addicts turn their lives around – sometimes with gunfire right across the street.
        So, I think I am pretty qualified to discuss the problems of illegal immigration and the state of both “the most vulnerable” and our nation as a whole.
        The fact is: people who either come into this country without proper documentation , or overstay the visas are here ILLEGALLY!

    2. lolacola says:

      Phil
      who wants to buy candy from a kid with a bolt through his nose or a safety pin in their eyebrow and a neck tattoo of god knows what?
      She has the right to have people working for her that won’t scare the kids.

  3. Cathy says:

    I think the majority of these comments show an underlying problem: fear of the other. What are people afraid of?Someone that speaks differently , looks other than you? sounds different? -must be homeless and therefore dangerous. Look around you. The people who own stores and serve Great Barrington food and sell clothing are from all over the world with accents to match. What are you so afraid of?

    1. Steve Farina says:

      Fear? No. See above

  4. AC Chubb says:

    Just wondering what the significance is of the Mercedes Benz logo on the sign? Is it an improperly drawn peace sign, or does it have some other actual significance?

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