Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Un Dia Sin Trabajo

"He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands."
We haven't spent any time on this blog discussing the immigration issue until now.

No excuses. We simply blew it.

We figured no immigration reform bill of any kind was likely to emerge from the current session of Congress because too many members of the U.S. House of Representatives were cycnically calculating that no bill is better than any bill; and if nothing gets enacted into law, then they can all campaign for reelection this Fall against Congress' failure to enact a draconian immigration bill into law.

We were right. That's what they were calculating. But yesterday something happened to upset that equation. Now, "Republicans are expressing regret that the punitive House measure stands as the most recent congressional action on immigration."

In other words, a lot of congressmen are getting the hell scared out of them by ordinary people who are taking to the streets, speaking out, and flexing their political muscle in favor of the Senate's proposed immigration reform bill -- the one with a heart, soul, and brains.

It looks like a lot of illegal immigrants are onto the games congressmen play. And, short of a criminal indictment, there's nothing a congressman fears so much as people who are onto the games they play.

Hundreds of thousands of immigration reform supporters, many of them said to be illegal immigrants themselves, marched and rallied in communities across America as diverse as Des Moines and Dallas, Smithfield, N.C. and Ft. Myers. As the New York Times reports --
Monday's gathering of tens of thousands of demonstrators in New York; Atlanta; Houston; Madison, Wis., and other cities also suggested that the millions of immigrants who have quietly poured into this country over the past 16 years, most of them Hispanic, may be emerging as a potent political force.

Over and over again, construction workers, cooks, gardeners, sales associates and students who said they had never demonstrated before said they were rallying to send a message to the nation's lawmakers. Ruben Arita, a 30-year-old illegal immigrant from Honduras who joined the demonstration in Washington, said he was marching for the first time because he wanted to push Congress to grant citizenship to people living here illegally and to recognize their struggles and their humanity.

"We want to be legal," said Mr. Arita, a construction worker who has lived here for five years. "We want to live without hiding, without fear. We have to speak so that our voices are listened to and we are taken into account."
Even in Pensacola, Rip Van Winkle's political home, "about 1,000 protesters gathered at Martin Luther King Plaza," the PNJ reports. That's not much compared with other Florida cities, but it's several times larger than any other rally in recent memory, except for the stage-managed George W. Bush campaign gatherings.

Anyone who feels self-righteous enough to start grumbling about illegal immigrants ruining the nation should check his ancestry. If you can trace your family's American roots back to 1921 or before -- or to Cuba anytime, as Why Now? points out -- then you should know your relatives entered this country with no more governmental permission, entry visa, or green card than any bracero who crosses the Rio Grande tonight. (Those of Chinese descent, regretfully, are the exception. They were totally excluded by the first-ever U.S. immigration quota law in 1882.)

Indeed, when our Founding Fathers declared America's independence from Great Britain, among the sins of George III they listed was his 'obstruction' of free immigration and easy naturalization in the American colonies.

What many readers may not fully appreciate is that yesterday's nationwide protest is not likely to be the end. It looks like just the beginning. Yesterday, there was a trial run in some locations of work boycotts in meat packing plants, the poultry industry, construction trades, and farming.

Next on the agenda of many protestors -- not the leadership, apparently, but the rank-and-file, from what we're hearing -- is a nationwide "Un Día Sin Trabajo" and possibly "Un Día Sin Consumo" -- a one day work stoppage (May 1) and perhaps a one day shopping boycott.

What? No work? No spending? Good lord. It looks like these protesting immigrants have lived in the U.S. so long they really know how to hurt a guy, don't they?

Next thing you know, they'll start refusing to use their credit cards.

As for any of you Pensacola area hurricane victims who haven't fully recovered yet, be sure your workers finish those repairs before May 1. They may not be coming around that day.

Edited 4-11-06


gayPinellasPodcast said...

I don't see what the big deal is... set up an "ellis island" in Arizona, tag 'em and say "Welcome to America. You got stuff to do... Get to work." One hundred years ago this country was gracious enough to allow my irish family to live and work here during a famine in Ireland. They grew potatoes in rural Kentucky and I am the recipient of that kindness. I can't deny anyone else the same gift I was given.

Anonymous said...

lie,lie,lie will get you only a bunch of cover stories,hahaha I was there ,i was at front of protest line.....the total amount of protesters was only about 75 people!!!! your article says 1000...hm the block at martin luther monument 2 people file could not hold 1000 people!!!!