“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.
Note to the netroots and liberal blogs. Immigrants have just shown you how to organize and get results. It’s by getting in the streets, and not by blogging about what each other is saying. Recently, as war raged and the immigrant rights movement exploded into prominence, many liberal blogs were preoccupied by the WaPo hiring a conservative blogger. Yes, he was a turd, and yes I’m happy AmericaBlog nailed him, but I think y’all need some perspective. Other issues are vastly more pressing and important than a twerp blogger.
Yet the progressive blogosphere virtually ignored the March 18 antiwar demonstrations and didn’t even see this immigrant tsunami of protest coming. They need to link up with these various movements, to become part of them, otherwise they’re just reporting news instead of making it. In these crazy times, we all need to be activists.
Outraged relief workers say they could face up to five years in prison for providing immigrants with humanitarian assistance. “This bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan – and probably even Jesus himself,” Sen. HiIlary Clinton, D-N. Y., said last week.
“Nobody is talking about prosecuting anyone for providing . . . soup at soup kitchens or a place of rest for somebody who turns out to be an illegal alien,” said Tancredo, leader of a coalition of conservative House Republicans calling for rigorous enforcement of existing immigration laws.
Yet that is precisely what the Sensenbrenner bill calls for. Prison for those rendering any aid to the undocumented. The neocons wanted to get out the racist vote for the elections. But then they kicked the sleeping giant.
In a sign of Mr Bush’s weakened authority, leading Republicans in the Senate will this week promote a law that calls for strict new controls on the border with Mexico and makes no mention of his “guest worker programme”.
Again this, um, demonstrates that getting in the streets is an effective tactic. Net petitions, phone calls, they all help. But a million people in the streets is what gets their attention.
“Today’s immigration policy is almost founded on lies,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “It presupposes lying by almost everyone involved.”
(photo: Bill Hackwell)