US immigration is new mass movement

From the Times of London

There is no phenomenon more important in shaping American policy, at home or abroad, than the huge tide of immigration rolling in across its borders.

In the home stretch of George W. Bush’s presidency, a vast amount of attention is still given to the analysis of his inclinations. As the imminence of his departure begins to drain the interest from that exercise, the same attention will be transferred to Hillary Clinton and John McCain. That is wilfully blind. The scale of immigration that the US is facing is so large that the subject will come to dominate all of its politics.

The past fortnight has given us a taste of the future. Aerial photographs of the sea of people demonstrating in Los Angeles on Saturday suggested the crowd was half a million strong. There were 300,000 in Chicago on March 10, 50,000 in Denver, 20,000 in Phoenix, and 10,000 in Milwaukee.

Bill Frist, the second-most powerful Republican in the Senate, say the borders should be tightened for reasons of national security.

Hispanics fiercely resent that claim. “When did you ever see a Mexican blow up the World Trade Centre?” David Gonzalez, a Los Angeles marcher, asked the Associated Press. “Who do you think built the World Trade Centre?”

Just as Republicans began to make big inroads into the traditionally Democrat immigrant vote, they have jeopardised it.

But it is not something either party can duck.

It is bound to make the US more introverted, with preoccupations very different from Europe’s. Those who protest against the US’s “overbearing” foreign policy should consider how hard it may become to keep it interested in the rest of the world when it faces such a revolution at home.

Sue and I handed out placards and flyers (pdf) on Saturday as the sea of marchers moved past us. The flyer detailed ANSWER‘s position on amnesty. People would see me, a middle-aged Anglo with a flyer, and start to move on. Then they’d see “Amnestia” in big letters as the title of the flyer and come back, asking for one. There were times I couldn’t hand them out fast enough. What struck me the most was this was the working class, the poor, the recent immigrants marching – and that their sheer numbers made this a historic event.ANSWER wasn’t just flyering. We had two speakers during the rally as well as two co-chairs. Why? Because we see immigrant rights as an equal issue to antiwar. The system that invades based on lies is the same system that exploits and demonizes immigrants. The antiwar and immigrant rights movement are starting to join forces. May it grow.

  • Here’s a “trick” for flyering (maybe you know it): hold the flyers in one hand, upside down to you, so it is facing the potential recipient. That way they can see what you are trying to give them before you do. It might seem simple, but if you watch a lot of people flyering they hold the flyers facing themselves, and from the recipient’s viewpoint, it might be an antiwar or immigrant rights flyer, or it might be a Macy’s sale flyer, they have no idea. Some people do this because they think that way they can give away more flyers. But that’s only because they managed to give away flyers to someone who didn’t really want one, but took it because they didn’t know what it was. Such flyers will most likely end up in the gutter a few seconds later.

    It’s also important, and so many people don’t do this either, to say something meaningful when flyering. So many people just say, “Here, take this” or even nothing. Again, you end up giving flyers to people who are just going to throw them away as soon as they realize what it’s for. Far better to say three words, like “stop the war” or “stop immigrant bashing” or whatever, so people know what you’re doing.

    Just my pet $0.02.

  • Bob

    I completely agree. I held the flyers, which were double-sided English/Spanish, with the Spanish side up facing towards the marchers, and was saying “Amnestia.”

  • The people of the U.S. need to wake up now to what is
    happening with the Mexican immigration into the U.S.
    These people donot want to mix into the heritage of
    Mexicans bring their Mexican Flag, spanish and
    third world mentality into this culture. Look how they
    keep their homes .streets the mexican mafia…………. latio gangs
    latinos make up the biggest populas in the nation for gangs.
    gangs. No matter where you go now in California, its
    like living in a third world country. My dad was an immi
    grant from Norway. He had to speak English and served
    in 2 world wars. He spoke english and carried the Americ
    an flag proudly. I feel Mexico wants to take back Califo
    rnia and the southern states and they are.

  • Bob

    Last time I checked St. Patrick’s Day was an Irish celebration. Apparently those darned Irish insist upon celebrating their culture, and not mixing completely either. Oh, the horror.

  • Unacceptable

    Look man you cannot march the streets of the United States shouting “Si Se Puede!”, This is America and you must speak english! You cannot expect to be recognised as an American citizen speaking Spanish. I may be for them becoming citizens if certain rules are applied, for one, you must speak English. I totally understand why the Americans are angry. The mexicans coming into their country as if it is their own, if you want to be American at least act like one…

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