Twilight tie to immigration news draws notoriety

In New York City headlines are exclaiming: “‘Twilight’ town death heats up border debate.”

The Daily Mail in England is playing up the Twilight connection to the story of the drowning death of Forks resident Benjamin Roldan Salinas with a pull quote from Mayor Bryon Monohon that states: “It is really just an atmosphere of fear.”

The Associated Press article, with a photo of Monohon accompanying it, spread the story globally this past weekend. The article focuses on the Hispanic community’s reaction to the death and the role of Border Patrol agents and federal policy being played out in Salinas fleeing to his death following a highway-stop immigration check east of Bear Creek.

A search shows more than 400,000 page links related to the Associated Press news story out of Forks.

Monohon told the Forks Forum Tuesday that he has received quite a response via email following the publication of the article over the weekend.

The Forks mayor said the emails are coming from across the country, and he is responding to them. He has turned around at least one nasty email, opening up a friendly dialogue with the person who sent it. He said the text of the emails show that enforcement of immigration laws are being experienced differently in different regions of the country.

“We are in a rare situation (because) we have a lot more interaction with the Border Patrol” he said noting that local residents may see Border Patrol enforcement vehicles in Forks and across the West End more often than Americans who live away from a foreign border.

He said the controversy on how best to handle illegal immigration into the United States shows that “Congress needs to step up,” he said. “I can sit there and just dance around it and pretend it’s okay, but it’s not okay. I urge everybody, no matter their opinion, to write their congressman. I don’t think both sides are all that far apart from each other, (a solution is) just lost in the hyper-politicalization.”

Away from the newspaper and Internet headlines both the success of a members of the local Hispanic community and the continued flow of Twlight fans to Forks shows another side to the AP story.

Carlos Estrada, the son of migrant Mexican workers and the valedictorian of the Forks High School Class of 2009, received his degree at Peninsula College last Saturday and again served as valedictorian. Estrada is reportedly on his way to the University of Washington to study engineering and likely a successful professional career.

A report from Forks Visitor Center Manager Mike Gurling on Tuesday, June 21, is showing the Twilight fans are again back in force for what will be the fifth big summer in a row of Twilight fan arrivals in Forks.
“Yesterday 321 people arrived,” Gurling said, calling it the “busiest day of the year so far.” He described the popular Twilight display and accompanying twin Bella Chevy pickups outside the building as swarmed with fans. He called the high number of arrivals as the “same kind of atmosphere” as found in past Twilight summers.
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