Thursday, May 04, 2006

Protests Were a Dud

I was just reading in The Monitor that the protests on Monday were a dud. There was no major economic impact on the American economy. In a part of the story, the writer says
An Associated Press story out of San Francisco reported that “Chinese food, bagels or a hamburger were easy to come by in the Mission District. But you would have been hard-pressed to find a burrito.”

This goes to show that there is a fundamental miscalculation that the organizers of the protests are making. Not all immigrants are on board with this. We have all kinds of immigrants to the U.S. There are Chinese, Indian, European (yes, even the French want to come here), Middle-Eastern, and African immigrants. Many of them come here legally and make good lives for themselves here relative to the conditions back home. The people organizing the protests blew it by excluding the other immigrants.

You saw a story in which Mexicans blocked the international bridge in Reynosa. Did you hear of the Canadians blocking entry points to the U.S.? How about protests at foreign airports with flights to the U.S.? If this were truly an issue of immigration as the groups out there trying to make an issue of it claim, we'd have protests from all immigrants. The fact that only hispanic groups are protesting means that it's all set up by hispanic socialist, yes May 1st is a socialist holiday, groups.

Take this into consideration, the illegal immigrants who are out protesting and demanding rights can't vote. They are in no way a threat to any politician, Republican or Democrat. Amongst legal immigrants and their families, it's a divided issue. Some are for opening up a path to citizenship and others against. Amongst the hispanic community, there is no consensus. I'd be willing to wager that if you expand the question to include other ethnic groups, you'd see a leaning against amnesty and citizenship. Too many immigrants have busted their butts getting in here the right way.

Of course, we have ourselves to blame for the sense of entitlement to citizenship that these people feel. That first round of amnesty back in the 80s gives illegal immigrants reason to hope for a second round. This is why they feel emboldened to demand non-existent rights. It was discussions like we have today that lead to the amnesty program, and they are only too happy to have history repeat itself. This is, however, unfair to other immigrant populations. Mexicans and OTMs from South America have the advantage that they can just walk across the border and they are in the promised land. People from other countries have oceans to cross to get here. So, an amnesty program would be unfair to immigrants in general. It favors one group above all others.

In all of this, no credit is given to the President who crafted the ideal approach, which is to grant a guest worker status. This would solve many of the problems inherent in having illegal immigrants. For one, it would make it easier for foreign workers to protect themselves from abusive employers. As legally recognized workers, they would be able to file complaints while finding a job elsewhere. As legal workers, immigrants would pay taxes. This would help ease the burden on government services and reduce complaints that they don't contribute. A guest worker program would also preserve the process of legal immigration. Those coming here hoping for citizenship would still have to go through the tedious process we have in place. If making a buck is their interest, a more streamlined guest worker program would be their cup of tea.

While watching interviews on TV, many protesters kept saying that they wanted to send a message to the white house about... whatever. The White House has been on the side of immigrants all along. It's Congress that's being a little bitch about doing something. A lot of these protesters don't really know what it was they were protesting. In the first ones, the groups showed their true colors. After the backlash, they waved U.S. flags instead, as if we'd forget. In all, I don't blame the illegal immigrants for the flop. They're too busy evading capture and working for a living to send money back home. They don't have the time to keep up with what's going on in Washington and in general tend to be more... gullible. They'll believe what the protest organizers tell them just because they speak spanish.

I can tell you this first hand. I've worked at call centers that served customers in English and Spanish. On the English lines, you'd have ticked off customers demanding this and that and asking for the supervisor over trivial crap. On the Spanish line, customers were more amiable and less likely to argue with you because as a company rep you know how things work. Hispanics are generally not the types to stick their necks out for any cause unless they have assurances that they will get something in return. I suspect that the organizers of these marches made some big promises or the majority of the protesters were not not even illegals. After the round-ups from the last round of protests, the illegals would be hard pressed to do it again.

So, where do I stand?
1. Legal immigration is good
2. Guest worker program is good
3. We should close down the border: not so much to keep out immigrants, rather to keep out threats to national security. Mojados are not a threat; therefore, they are an incidental issue.

So what am I complaining about?
1. Poor execution of protests: You have to get voters out, not non-voters. All this does is piss people off to see how big the illegal immigrant problem is. Worst of all is that they INTENDED to hurt the American economy. Bad way to show your loyalty to a country from which you want recognition.
2. Non-unified message: What exactly was the message? Free citizenship for all? Guest worker status?
3. Non-inclusion of other immigrants: Where were the Chinese, Indians, Europeans, Middle-Easterners, and Africans? Are these groups "fighting for the new civil rights" racist?


denise said...

The guest worker program sounds good on paper but it just creates a huge group of second-class citizens with no hope of being anything other than transients that are here for the sole purpose of making a quick buck. Despite my disdain for John McCain these past few months, the legislation proposed by he and Ted Kennedy makes a lot more sense because it outlines a clear path to citizenship along with a “temporary worker” program.

I also take issue with the way you seem to be talking down (for lack of a better term, I suppose) the protesters. Organizers never explicitly excluded other nationalities in the protest, and I think a lot of the Latinos are smart enough to think for themselves, as opposed to just listening to a Spanish-speaking person up at the podium. Also, your broad generalization about apathetic Hispanics that wont go the extra mile unless there’s a prize at the end is just offensive.

As for the non-inclusion of other immigrants…perhaps they weren’t included here in the RGV, but there were hundreds of them in Chicago, Seattle, New York & Los Angeles.

You also said: "The fact that only hispanic groups are protesting means that it's all set up by hispanic socialist, yes May 1st is a socialist holiday, groups."

Can you provide some back up for the aforementioned "fact?" The mere mention of socialism brings Fox News to mind.

PS - Am I a horrible person for wanting only the annoying rich Mexicans to be banished from the McAllen mall?

Writer said...

I disagree that there would be a second-class citizenry. That's the point, they would not be citizens, they'd be guest workers. Some people come here to work, some come here to stay. A guest worker program gives immigrants a choice. My understanding is that a guest worker program would not automatically lead to citizenship, but doesn't prohibit the possibility. Well, at least with the President's version. After Congress gets a hold of it, it will be a grotesque piece of legislation.

C'mon, Denise. How can you be offended about generalizations about Mexicans? I generalize because it's true. I've worked side by side with mojados in the fields. I've talked to hispanic customers from different parts of the country. There are a few who are street smart and don't listen to anybody. For the most part, the people I've lived and worked with in camps look to their "educated" socialist leaders for guidance. If UMOS/UFW/Telemundo/MeCHA/fill-in-the-blank says it, it must be true? Most of the people I know defer to somebody with college education. And, invariably, the college educated presume to know what is best for these people. Lived it, saw it, oppose it.

Links on May Day

I feel insulted that you don't want rich mexicans at the mall. Just kidding. Just think of them as a different culture. They are, after all, culturally different from the average Mexican.

Anonymous said...

Denise...I agree with you. You've confirmed what I have been saying all along, Shaine is all over the place with his comments and he NEVER, EVER, makes sense.

I am an immigrant. I came here 17 years ago, when I was 10 years old. I have a law degree and have been fairly successful.

Shaine is totally off base for generalizing. I have a plan for Shaine. (1) Finish school (it has been almost 10 years and you still can’t finish college). (2) Get a job. (3) And please, please stop posting all these stupid comments. You have no sense of who you are, what you represent, or where you want to go. At least the immigrants are determined to succeed, against all odds.

Your little education will not give you a good heart, or any sense of intelligence. You are horrible.

Writer said...

Counselor, that was weak. You give too much importance to a blog.

Writer said...

Thanks for you input David. Anonymous thinks we're horrible. What should we tell him?

denise said...

First of all, to David:

Using "liberal" as some sort of insult is getting tired. Liberals made this country what is is today, and conservatives turned "liberal" into an insult. It makes no sense, and your paranoid rantings about IDs, lonestar cards, judges and federal aid was all over the place.

As for anonymous:

I never said Shaine was all over the place or that he didn't make sense. Also, even if you disagree with him, there's no need to insult his unfinished degree.

You yourself said you were an immigrant that came here and eventually made it...the American dream, if you will. Does that mean that everyone else who came here, worked hard, but didn't go to college or earn a post-graduate degree doesn't have a say in what goes on around here?

I'm glad your move to the US has turned you into an elitist. It looks good on you. It's always refreshing when people forget where they came from.

And Shaine:

I'll see you on campus.

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