At the Cobb County Commission meeting on Jan. 22, a few people spoke against the free federal program, IMAGE, that will perform audits to verify legality of the workforce of contractors and their subcontractors benefiting from taxpayer funded projects. One of the speakers was Rich Pellegrino, who stated that he researched the term “wop” because he had been called this name due to his Italian heritage.
Pellegrino said the term meant “With Out Papers” to refer to the many Italians who came to the United States illegally. That is untrue. There were few illegal aliens of Italian (or Irish) birth that came to the U.S. illegally. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, that term actually means: “Offensive slang used as a disparaging term for a person of Italian birth or descent. Italian dialectal ‘guappo,’ ‘thug,’ from Spanish ‘guapo,’ ‘handsome,’ ‘dashing,’ ‘bully,’ from French dialectal ‘wape,’ ‘rogue,’ from Latin ‘vappa,’ ‘flat wine,’ ‘scoundrel.’”
The Italian and Irish immigrants disparaged as illegal by Pellegrino actually were legal. And the term “guapo” used by Italian immigrants to refer to each other sounded to Americans like the word “wop.” It was not an acronym meaning “without papers.”
Pellegrino also said his research indicates that illegal aliens are a net benefit to the U.S. in terms of taxes, culture and economics. I have extensive research with the opposite conclusion. Illegal aliens cost Georgians over $2.4 billion in state expenses last year.
The indisputable facts are that early immigrants came here legally to work, produce, abide by our laws, pay their share of taxes and assimilate. They did not have free health care, Section 8, food stamps, free school lunches, Earned Income Tax Credits, WIC or welfare for their anchor babies.
I write this letter to honor the memory of my grandparents who escaped the Bolshevik takeover in the Ukraine to come to America and who refused to go on welfare during the Depression.
Remind Cobb Commissioners Helen Goreham, Lisa Cupid and Chairman Tim Lee that your taxes should go to hiring legal workers and that you do not wish to continue to subsidize the illegal workforce of county contractors or subcontractors.