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By Mia Greenberg Boston University News Service BOSTONTara Pipstein glances at her twin brother John, hair thrown

into a ponytail, legs curled beneath her. He turns to her, feet planted on the ground, one arm outstretched over the back of the couch he sits on. They pause, recounting their familys lineage. Then, in twin fashion, they start to speak at the same time. The 19-year-olds are sitting in my living room, visiting from their hometown, Woodstock, N.Y. Tara, blonde-haired and petite, attends the University of California Los Angeles where she studies sociology and urban studies. John is about five inches taller with dark brown hair and is a history major at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The twins speak were raised by their mother along with one older brother since their childhood. Their grandparents were first generation citizens, born to immigrants from Sicily, Italy. During the early 1900s Italian immigrants, many from the rural southern areas like Sicily, migrated to America to escape poverty and land shortages. By the end of 1910, there were 472,000 Italians living in N.Y. The twins grandfather was named Antonio Sillato. His parents moved to New York in 1910. His father, Nicholas, left Italy at twenty-three after serving three tours of duty for the Italian army. The twins say he was socialist, and predicted the rise of fascism. They say Nicholas left to escape being drafted for a fourth time. His wife of 3 years followed him to the U.S., and together they began their new life. Antonio lived a difficult life in the U.S. He lost his mother at eleven to an unknown illness. His younger sister died in a tragic accident, and his younger brother in died World War II. His family was working class. When he was fifteen Antonio had to replace his father in the familyowned woodshop when his father became ill with lung disease. Antonio died in the 1980s, before the twins were born. Their grandmother, Clara Cogliotoris, parents migrated to the U.S. after a shipyard calamity. Her father, the twins great grandfather, was fooling around in his familys shipyard when he caused an explosion that damaged the expensive equipment. Scared of his fathers reaction, he and his wife moved to America. He hopped a ship to America and never came back, Tara says. Clara was born in 1919 in Rochester, N.Y. As a first-generation Italian American, she and her family lived in an Italian enclave. They were working class citizens. She still speaks Italian, something she used to hide. I think she was self-conscious about being able to speak Italian, John says. The twins grandparents experienced discrimination as immigrants. Clara was teased for her given nameTreastina and insisted people call her Clara, a more American name. She also would trade her Italian sandwicha mixture of cold cuts and peppers and cheese for a bologna sandwich on white bread to be less noticeably Italian. The twins agree that there are many similarities between hardships Italian immigrants faced and the struggles facing immigrants today. They [immigrants] both are identifiable, speak a different language, and are most of all seen as less than white, says Tara. Recently, a law was enacted in Arizona making it a misdemeanor for immigrants not to carry identifiable papers. It also gives police the power to question anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. Supporters and critics call it one of the harshest immigration laws in history, according to the New York Times. President Obama has spoken out against the law, encouraging a federal overhaul of immigration laws to fix the issues.

In high school Tara worked at a smoothie shop in Woodstock, N.Y. She knew she was working with illegal immigrants, but did not think much of it. They were people, they were my friends, she says shrugging. Taras says her experience in Los Angeles has made her more aware of immigration. She discovered the Arizona law when a friend at school invited her to a Facebook group against the legislation. However, she says her perception is still idealistic. She says she has made friends from Hawaii, Mexico, Orange County, and Seattle, among other places: I dont think of anyone as illegal because it is such a diverse community. Brunswick, Maine, an old poverty-stricken mill-city, has one of the largest Somalian refugee populations in the country. The economic issues create tensions between lower class whites and the Somalian immigrants. Nevertheless, John says that Brunswich has handled the local cultural tension well. By encouraging the immigrants, to open small businesses and retail shops, the economy of Brunswick has grown. Also, according to Newsweek Magazine, the Somalian immigrants brought culture and youth to Lewiston, that jolted enrollment in colleges around the area. Still, acceptance by the locals was an uphill battle. John explains how Maine is one of the whitest states in the country and is notoriously suspicious of outsiders: I dont think it would be any different if it was Mexican immigrants, unfortunately. Its still good old racism, he says. The twins have spent most of their college years on opposite coasts, with different of immigration issues, but they can agree on many things. They say that the recent law in Arizona hides racial profiling. I think a lot of attitude toward immigration is usually blatantly racist against Hispanics or Somalians or whoever. People say, Oh I only have a problem with illegal immigrants, but its a thin veil against hatred toward minority groups John says. Its like people almost feel being hateful is allowed if its against someone who is illegal, Tara agreed. Still, they hope for change. John believes naturalization should eventually become less restrictive, and Tara hopes for a change in the urban structure of the border states. -30-