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Home --> Politics --> Immigration --> Yankee Ingenuity

Yankee Ingenuity

Legend:   E-mail describes ruse intended to scare away littering Mexican construction workers.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

YANKEE INGENUITY

I have a friend who is president of his home owner's association in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. They were having a terrible problem with litter near some of his association's homes. The reason according to Wallace (my friend) is that six very large, luxurious new houses are being built right next to their community.

The trash was coming from the Mexican laborers working at the construction sites and included bags from McDonald's, Burger King and 7-11, plus coffee cups, napkins, cigarette butts, coke cans, empty bottles, etc. He went to see the site supervisor and even the general contractor, politely urging them to get their workers not to litter the neighborhood, to no avail. He called the city, county, and police and got no help there either.

So here's what his community did They organized about twenty folks, named themselves The "Inner Neighborhood Services" group, and arranged to to go out at lunch time and "police" the trash themselves. It is what they did while picking up the trash that is so hilarious.

They bought navy blue baseball caps and had the initials "INS" embroidered in gold on the caps.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what they hoped people might, mistakenly, think the letters really stand for.

After the Inner Neighborhood Services group's first lunchtime pickup detail, with all of them wearing their caps and some carrying cameras; 46 out of the total of 68 construction workers did not show up for work the next morning — and haven't come back yet.

It has been ten days now.

The General Contractor, I'm told, is madder than hell, but can't say anything publicly because he could be busted for hiring illegal aliens. Wallace and his bunch can't be accused of impersonating federal personnel, because they have the official name of the group recorded in their homeowner association minutes along with a notation about the vote to approve formation of the new subcommittee — and besides, they informed the INS in advance of their plans and according to Wallace the INS said basically, "Have at it"!

SO FOLKS, I THINK YOU COULD SAY THAT YANKEE INGENUITY TRIUMPHS AGAIN!

Variations:   Differing versions place the homeowners' association in
  • Washington, DC.
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Dallas, Texas
Origins:   We
don't know who originated the item quoted above, which began spreading (amidst a glut of other immigration-related pieces) via web sites and e-mail forwards in May 2006, but it reads like another attempt at political commentary through humor, this one also incorporating a number of stereotypes about Mexicans, Hispanics, and immigrants: The majority of them (or at least the ones who work construction jobs) are in the U.S. illegally, they have little respect for courtesy or law (as evidenced by their wanton littering), they are sent scurrying (never to return) by the sight of anyone wearing apparel emblazoned with the abbeviation "INS," etc.

We note that immigration enforcement activities (such as the rounding-up of undocumented workers) formerly handled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) are now a function of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and that government agencies don't generally give approval to third parties' using their names and/or insignia (especially when, as in the scenario described here, the specific intent is to deceive others into believing that private citizens are actually government agents).

One of the genuine difficulties faced by real ICE agents is that even when they conduct workplace raids and arrest undocumented workers (rather than simply scaring them away with their "INS" caps), their efforts are often largely ineffective because many of those arrested are quickly processed and released (without being prosecuted or deported), or the arrestees agree to deportation because they know that by volunteering to leave they can more speedily and easily return to the U.S. to resume their old jobs (or find new ones).

Last updated:   7 October 2007

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  Sources Sources:
    Pusey, Allen.   "Many Immigrants Arrested in Raid Freed."
    The Dallas Morning News.   28 April 2006.