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?
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