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  1. #1
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    Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Whatever happened to: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free..."

    Will the "christian right" actually practice their christianity and help provide these people with a legal means to be in our country? OR, will christians continue to practice their hypocricy by supporting legislation that makes people wanting a better life in America a criminal? Just ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?"
    *************************************************

    Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants
    By NINA BERNSTEIN

    When members of the Senate Judiciary Committee meet today to wrestle with the fate of more than 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, they can expect to do so against a backdrop of thousands of demonstrators, including clergy members wearing handcuffs and immigrant leaders in T-shirts that declare, "We Are America."

    But if events of recent days hold true, they will be facing much more than that.

    Rallies in support of immigrants around the country have attracted crowds that have astonished even their organizers. More than a half-million demonstrators marched in Los Angeles on Saturday, as many as 300,000 in Chicago on March 10, and — in between — tens of thousands in Denver, Phoenix, Milwaukee and elsewhere.

    One of the most powerful institutions behind the wave of public protests has been the Roman Catholic Church, lending organizational muscle to a spreading network of grass-roots coalitions. In recent weeks, the church has unleashed an army of priests and parishioners to push for the legalization of the nation's illegal immigrants, sending thousands of postcards to members of Congress and thousands of parishioners into the streets.

    The demonstrations embody a surging constituency demanding that illegal immigrants be given a path to citizenship rather than be punished with prison terms. It is being pressed as never before by immigrants who were long thought too fearful of deportation to risk so public a display.

    "It's unbelievable," said Partha Banerjee, director of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, who was in Washington yesterday to help plan more nationwide protests on April 10. "People are joining in so spontaneously, it's almost like the immigrants have risen. I would call it a civil rights movement reborn in this country."

    What has galvanized demonstrators, especially Mexicans and other Latin Americans who predominate among illegal immigrants, is proposed legislation — already passed by the House of Representatives — that would make it a felony to be in the United States without proper papers, and a federal crime to aid illegal immigrants.

    But the proposed measure also shows the clout of another growing force that elected officials have to reckon with: a groundswell of anger against illegal immigration that is especially potent in border states and swing-voting suburbs where the numbers and social costs of illegal immigrants are most acutely felt.

    "It's an entirely predictable example of the law of unintended consequences," said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who helped organize the Chicago rally and who said he was shocked by the size of the turnout. "The Republican party made a decision to use illegal immigration as the wedge issue of 2006, and the Mexican community was profoundly offended."

    Until the wave of immigration rallies, the campaign by groups demanding stringent enforcement legislation seemed to have the upper hand in Washington. The Judiciary Committee was deluged by faxes and e-mail messages from organizations like NumbersUSA, which calls for a reduction in immigration, and claims 237,000 activists nationwide, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has long opposed any form of amnesty, including a guest-worker program advocated by President Bush.

    Dan Stein, president of the federation, acknowledged the unexpected outpouring of protesters, but tried to play down its political significance. "These are a lot of people who don't vote, can't vote and certainly aren't voting Republican if they do vote," he said.

    But others, noting that foreign-born Latinos voted for President Bush in 2004 at a 40 percent greater rate than Latinos born in the United States, said that by pursuing the proposed legislation, Republican leaders might have squandered the party's inroads with an emerging bloc of voters and pushed them into the Democratic camp.

    The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that of more than 11 million illegal immigrants, 78 percent are from Mexico or other Latin American countries. Many have children and other relatives who are United States citizens. Under the House measure, family members of illegal immigrants — as well as clergy members, social workers and lawyers — would risk up to five years in prison if they helped an illegal immigrant remain in the United States.

    "Imagine turning more than 11 million people into criminals, and anyone who helps them," said Angela Sanbrano, executive director of the Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles, one of the organizers of Saturday's rally there. "It's outrageous. We needed to send a strong and clear message to Congress and to President Bush that the immigrant community will not allow the criminalization of our people — and it needed to be very strong because of the anti-immigrant environment that we are experiencing in Congress."

    Like many advocates for immigrants, Ms. Sanbrano said the protesters would prefer that Congress passed no immigration legislation rather than criminalizing those who are here without documents or creating a guest-worker program that would require millions to go home.

    In a telephone briefing sponsored last week by the National Immigration Forum, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals, warned that elected officials would pay a price for being on the wrong side of the legislative battle.

    "We are talking to the politicians telling them that the Hispanic community will not forget," he said. "I know there are pure hearts that want to protect our border and protect our country, but at the same time the Hispanic community cannot deny the fact that many have taken advantage of an important and legitimate issue in order to manifest their racist and discriminatory spirit against the Hispanic community."

    Seventy of the nation's 197 Catholic dioceses have formally committed to the immigration campaign since the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops began the effort last year, and church officials are recruiting the rest.

    Meanwhile, priests and deacons have been working side by side with immigrant communities and local immigrant activist groups.

    Leo Anchondo, who directs the immigrant campaign for the bishops' conference, said that he was not surprised by the size of the protests because immigration advocacy groups had been working hard to build a powerful campaign. "We hadn't seen efforts to organize these communities before," Mr. Anchondo said. "It's certainly a testament to the fact that people are very scared of what seems to be driving this anti-immigrant legislation, to the point that they are coming out to make sure they speak and are heard."

    Last night in downtown Los Angeles, Fabricio Fierros, 18, the American-born son of mushroom-pickers who came to the United States illegally from Mexico, joined about 5,000 Mexican farmworkers gathered for a Mass celebrating the birthday of Cesar Chavez.

    "It's not fair to workers here to just kick them out without giving them a legal way to be here," Mr. Fierros said, "To be treated as criminals after all the work they did isn't fair."

    John M. Broder and Rachel L. Swarns contributed reporting for this article.


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  2. #2
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    A Civil Debate

    Something powerful pulled more than half a million people onto the streets of Los Angeles on Saturday, turning 26 downtown blocks into a pulsing sea of white T-shirts and American flags. A veteran police commander said that in 38 years he had never seen a march so huge. Its target was a harsh immigration bill passed by the House that would erect a wall on our Southern border and turn 12 million illegal immigrants — and any who give them aid — into a nation of felons.

    The demonstrations have been timed to a climactic showdown for immigration reform in the capital. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled debate and a vote on a bill offered by its chairman, Arlen Specter. Unlike the House bill, it seeks comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws — not just tighter borders and stricter enforcement, but also a sensible path to legal status for illegal workers already here and others who want to come.

    Mr. Specter and his colleagues are working under intense pressure, since the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, has threatened to put forward a hard-line enforcement bill if the committee fails to complete its work today. Senate staffs were racing over the weekend to nail down compromises before today's deadline. Anti-immigrant forces, meanwhile, stand ready to try to torpedo anything other than a strictly get-tough approach.

    That would be an awful outcome for immigrant advocates and for President Bush, who has long argued for comprehensive reform and tried, with limited success, to steer his party away from the one-note harshness of the wall-building crowd. Last week he urged Congress to have a civil, respectful discussion about the issue. But with looming elections and Republican presidential jockeying casting a distorting fuzz over the debate, it may be too late for Mr. Bush's hands-off approach. If the president really wants a sensible reform bill to reach his desk, he will have to do more than stand on the sidelines, urging everyone to have good manners.

    The marchers recognize — as much of the nation seems not to — the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform to the nation's future. Their indignation is mixed with pride in their work and hunger for fair treatment. Their protests have been a model of peaceful dissent and a blow against the mental straitjacket that defines immigration reform as entirely a problem of policing. Mr. Bush should make his case with equal force.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Don'tcha just love election year politics?
    *******************************************

    March 28, 2006
    Bill to Broaden Immigration Law Gains in Senate
    By RACHEL L. SWARNS

    WASHINGTON, March 27 — With Republicans deeply divided, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Monday to legalize the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants and ultimately to grant them citizenship, provided that they hold jobs, pass criminal background checks, learn English and pay fines and back taxes.

    The panel also voted to create a vast temporary worker program that would allow roughly 400,000 foreigners to come to the United States to work each year and would put them on a path to citizenship as well.

    The legislation, which the committee sent to the full Senate on a 12-to-6 vote, represents the most sweeping effort by Congress in decades to grant legal status to illegal immigrants. If passed, it would create the largest guest worker program since the bracero program brought 4.6 million Mexican agricultural workers into the country between 1942 and 1960.

    Any legislation that passes the Senate will have to be reconciled with the tough border security bill passed in December by the Republican-controlled House, which defied President Bush's call for a temporary worker plan.

    The Senate panel's plan, which also includes provisions to strengthen border security, was quickly hailed by Democrats, a handful of Republicans and business leaders, as well as by the immigrant advocacy organizations and church groups that have sent tens of thousands of supporters of immigrant rights into the streets of a number of cities to push for such legislation in recent days.

    But even as hundreds of religious leaders and others rallied on the grounds of the Capitol on Monday, chanting "Let our people stay!," the plan was fiercely attacked by conservative Republicans who called it nothing more than an offer of amnesty for lawbreakers. It remained unclear Monday night whether Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, would allow the bill to go for a vote this week on the floor or would substitute his own bill, which focuses on border security. His aides have said that Mr. Frist, who has said he wants a vote on immigration this week, would be reluctant to move forward with legislation that did not have the backing of a majority of the Republicans on the committee.

    Only 4 of the 10 Republicans on the committee supported the bill. They were the committee chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas. All eight Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the legislation.

    The rift among Republicans on the committee reflects the deep divisions in the party as business groups push to legalize their workers and conservatives battle to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Mr. Specter acknowledged the difficulties ahead, saying, "We are making the best of a difficult situation." But he said he believed that the legislation would ultimately pass the Senate and would encourage the millions of illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows.

    "We do not want to create a fugitive class in America," Mr. Specter said after the vote. "We do not want to create an underclass in America."

    "I think this represents a reasonable accommodation," he said, referring to the divergent views on the panel. "It's not a majority of the majority, but it's a good number."

    Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said Monday night that President Bush was "pleased to see the Senate moving forward on legislation." Mr. Bush has repeatedly called for a temporary worker program that would legalize the nation's illegal immigrants, though he has said such a plan must not include amnesty.

    "It is a difficult issue that will require compromise and tough choices, but the important thing at this point is that the process is moving forward," Mr. McClellan said.

    Lawmakers central to the immigration debate acknowledged that the televised images of tens of thousands of demonstrators, waving flags and fliers, marching in opposition to tough immigration legislation helped persuade the panel to find a bipartisan compromise.

    "All of those people who were demonstrating were not necessarily here illegally," said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who sponsored the legalization measures with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. Mr. Kennedy described the people who would benefit from the bill as "our neighbors," adding: "They're churchgoers. They're the shop owners down the street. They're the people we know."

    The protesters were rallying in opposition to the security bill passed by the House. The House bill would, among other things, make it a federal crime to live in this country illegally, turning the millions of illegal immigrants here into felons, ineligible to win any legal status. (Currently, living in this country without authorization is a violation of civil immigration law, not criminal law.)

    The legislation passed by the Judiciary Committee on Monday also emphasized border security and would nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents over the next five years, criminalize the construction of tunnels into the United States from another country and speed the deportation of illegal immigrants from countries other than Mexico. But it also softened some of the tougher elements in the House legislation.

    Addressing one of the most contentious issues, the panel voted to eliminate the provisions that would criminalize immigrants for living here illegally and made an amendment to protect groups and individuals from being prosecuted for offering humanitarian assistance to illegal immigrants.

    Conservatives on the committee warned that the plan would generate a groundswell of opposition among ordinary Americans who had been demanding tighter controls at the border and an end to the waves of illegal immigration.

    Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, said the Judiciary panel "let the American people down by passing out a blanket amnesty bill."

    Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, said the foreign workers would take American jobs during a recession. "Get ready for a real tough time," Mr. Kyl said, "when American workers come to your office and say, 'How did you let this happen?' "

    Under the proposal, participants in the temporary worker program would have to work for six years before they could apply for a green card. Any worker who remained unemployed for 60 days or longer during those six years would be forced to leave the country. (Employers could petition for permanent residency on behalf of their employees six months after the worker entered into the program.)

    The legalization plan for the nation's illegal immigrants would require those without documents to work in the United States for six years before they could apply for permanent residency. They could apply for citizenship five years after that. Immigrants would have to pay a fine, back taxes and learn English.

    Mr. Graham called it an 11-year journey to citizenship.

    "To me that's not amnesty," he said. "That is working for the right over an 11-year period to become a citizen. It is not a blanket pardon."

    "The president believes and most of us here believe that the 11 million undocumented people are also workers," Mr. Graham said. "We couldn't get by as a nation without those workers and without those people."


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  4. #4
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Will the "christian right" actually practice their christianity and help provide these people with a legal means to be in our country?
    Its more than just the christian right wanting to keep out illegal aliens, its the majority of Americans. But since these illegals are gathering in masses during an election year they will most likely get what they want. Democrats see these illegals as future votes while Republicans have no spines. Just as gays will get what they want when it comes to marraige, illegal aliens will get what they want here too. Only in America does the majority have no voice and is silenced while the minority frequently gets what they want.

  5. #5
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    The 911 HighJackers where all illegal immigrants or no?

  6. #6
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    If I rob a bank and claim I did not rob the bank, but simply removed moneys on a no payback, no permission loan, does that mean I wont have to go to jail? And can I keep the cash?

    Not amnesty? Perhaps they have changed Webster’s too.

  7. #7
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    This plan is ludicrous on so many levels. First, why would they go to an office and openly declare they are here illegally? On top of that, they have to pay a fine and back taxes...suuuure, they will be lining up in the streets to pay their 'fair' share. Illegal aliens have already broken the laws of our lands by coming here. They have bankrupted many border towns by taking advantage of our laws for healthcare. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should waste taxpayer dollars housing them in our prisons, but any illegals caught should immediately be deported. There are thousands of people waiting in line to come to this country legally and I welcome those people who show respect for the processes we have in place. The fact that thousands of protesters, and I would imagine a large percentage were illegals, had the gall to openly protest against a law that would hold them accountable for their illegal entry; and the fact that our politicians are listening only goes to show the sad state this country now finds itself in.

  8. #8
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiplash
    This plan is ludicrous on so many levels. First, why would they go to an office and openly declare they are here illegally? On top of that, they have to pay a fine and back taxes...suuuure, they will be lining up in the streets to pay their 'fair' share. Illegal aliens have already broken the laws of our lands by coming here. They have bankrupted many border towns by taking advantage of our laws for healthcare. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should waste taxpayer dollars housing them in our prisons, but any illegals caught should immediately be deported. There are thousands of people waiting in line to come to this country legally and I welcome those people who show respect for the processes we have in place. The fact that thousands of protesters, and I would imagine a large percentage were illegals, had the gall to openly protest against a law that would hold them accountable for their illegal entry; and the fact that our politicians are listening only goes to show the sad state this country now finds itself in.
    The problem lies in the laws though, not those who would exploit them. Giving rich people tax cuts while cutting medicaid doesn't seem to bother anyone, except the seniors who must rely on it, who paid their taxes, obeyed the laws and voted every election, even fought in our wars.

    The article states that the bulk were supporters and legals, not illegals. The law needs to be refined. Bush actually had a good idea, one in 5 years, not a total loss. Worker permits. Accountability by working and having to prove it. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Mushroom picking season isn't a year round job. Most (not all) of the illegals are taking jobs Americans don't want or americans would be doing them.

    Lady Mod

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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    The 911 HighJackers where all illegal immigrants or no?
    Three of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally; two had previous immigration violations.

    Lady Mod

  10. #10
    umdkook Guest

    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    well see what happens when it comes time for them to pay back taxes for all the years they have been LIVING OFF THE REST OF OUR TAX MONEY.

  11. #11
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    "illegals are taking jobs Americans don't want or americans would be doing them. "

    We hear this alot. Is it true? When I was a kid we bailed hay for $1.00 per hour, we picked apples and peaches by the peck, for I forget for how much. We were payed that because there was no one else willing to do it for less. Perhaps if there were no illegal immigrants here willing to do the jobs for $3.50 an hour, the jobs would pay $5.15 and Americans would be willing to do them. It seems odd that in our 200 year history we never had jobs no one was willing to do, now we seem to have 11 million of them. I think the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

  12. #12
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    "illegals are taking jobs Americans don't want or americans would be doing them. "

    We hear this alot. Is it true? When I was a kid we bailed hay for $1.00 per hour, we picked apples and peaches by the peck, for I forget for how much. We were payed that because there was no one else willing to do it for less. Perhaps if there were no illegal immigrants here willing to do the jobs for $3.50 an hour, the jobs would pay $5.15 and Americans would be willing to do them. It seems odd that in our 200 year history we never had jobs no one was willing to do, now we seem to have 11 million of them. I think the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
    I'm afraid Worried, that if they got rid of the illegals who are willing to work for $3.50 and hours, the work would be left undone.

    Our government won't even raise minimum wage to levels people can live on and people can not live on $5.15 an hour unless they are illegals who are willing to live in houses where more than one family lives. We are very spoiled in America as a whole.

    Lady Mod

  13. #13
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    I'm afraid Worried, that if they got rid of the illegals who are willing to work for $3.50 and hours, the work would be left undone.

    Our government won't even raise minimum wage to levels people can live on and people can not live on $5.15 an hour unless they are illegals who are willing to live in houses where more than one family lives. We are very spoiled in America as a whole.

    Lady Mod
    I disagree. The rich would have to part with a little more, thats all. I doute any one in the USA hiring a illegal to do maid service, can not aford to pay them the $10 to $15 per hour they deserve. The large farming companys that hire so many, make tons of money or they would not be putting the small family farmers out of bussiness, they do so on the backs of illegals. No work has ever been left "undone", just now the pay is going to Mexico as many of these illegals send money to their familys there, often to pay for them to also come here to send more money back to Mexico to bring even more illegals here. A never endding spiral that has been going on for way too long. We are losing jobs to China, India, and Mexico, when will we wake up? Too late it would seem. Our grand children will never know the live we once lived.

    As I type this the news is telling of an illegal hired by a contracter that killed a family member in the home he was sent to work on.

    When will we wake up?
    Last edited by Worried_in_the_USA; 03-29-2006 at 03:10 PM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    I disagree. The rich would have to part with a little more, thats all. I doute any one in the USA hiring a illegal to do maid service, can not aford to pay them the $10 to $15 per hour they deserve. The large farming companys that hire so many, make tons of money or they would not be putting the small family farmers out of bussiness, they do so on the backs of illegals. No work has ever been left "undone", just now the pay is going to Mexico as many of these illegals send money to their familys there, often to pay for them to also come here to send more money back to Mexico to bring even more illegals here. A never endding spiral that has been going on for way too long. We are losing jobs to China, India, and Mexico, when will we wake up? Too late it would seem. Our grand children will never know the live we once lived.

    As I type this the news is telling of an illegal hired by a contracter that killed a family member in the home he was sent to work on.

    When will we wake up?
    The rich rarely give up their benefits. And politicians cater to the rich, most of them aren't hurting for cash either. Birds of a feather flock together.


    Lady Mod

  15. #15
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    I'm afraid Worried, that if they got rid of the illegals who are willing to work for $3.50 and hours, the work would be left undone.
    That's a false fear. If work needs to be done, business will find a way to get it done. In Australia in the 1970's, immigration was cut and affected the agricultural sector hard. Especially hit were Australian vineyards, which depended on hand cutting to harvest the grapes. With a lack of manual labor, the machine manufacturing sector was pushed to innovate and developed a mechanical grape picker that picked grapes faster and cheaper than manual labor.

    Businesses are there to make money. They will find a way to adapt and innovate or someone else will come in and take the business (and money) away.

  16. #16
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    Re: Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants

    Quote Originally Posted by freef8
    That's a false fear. If work needs to be done, business will find a way to get it done. In Australia in the 1970's, immigration was cut and affected the agricultural sector hard. Especially hit were Australian vineyards, which depended on hand cutting to harvest the grapes. With a lack of manual labor, the machine manufacturing sector was pushed to innovate and developed a mechanical grape picker that picked grapes faster and cheaper than manual labor.

    Businesses are there to make money. They will find a way to adapt and innovate or someone else will come in and take the business (and money) away.
    Hmmmm, mechanical mushroom pickers? I think I would like to see that. ;)

    But don't you folks pay a lot more for your produce, gas and just about everything else in Australia? Do wages keep up with inflation there?

    I'm just curious, I know some things about Australia as I have a friend I write back and forth with every day that lives there. But I don't know all things about Australia. I do know that there is about as much dissatisfaction with government there as there is here, judging by some of the chat groups I've been on.

    Lady Mod

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