Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Day Without An Immigrant" Wrap Up

Nationwide the results were as varied as the support. Going into yesterdays organized boycott, immigration leaders, media personalities, Hispanic leaders, unions, and business professionals formed two clear lines of thought—boycott and show what this country would look like with out immigrant workers (documented or not) or work and show the importance of immigrants through dialogue and the 250% increase in Hispanic purchasing power since 1990.

Both strategies occurred simultaneously and both worked.

Dos Centavos, a great site, and Kuff both have a Texas based wrap up and a full list of links for your pursuing. I highly recommend you check them out.

I started the day opposed to the rallies, but ended it with a new view on what was going on. I was skeptical that many cities would be able to recreate the magic in a bottle from the April 10th rally, but organizers captured the spark and were able to do it again yesterday. Over 15,000 rallied in San Antonio’s Milam Park, 75,000 in Denver, hundreds of thousand in LA and Chicago. First reports are saying there was a 90% decrease in trucking in LA and Denver may have seen as much as 3% loss in commercial sales and the service sector.

While some kept shops open, most allowed workers a day off if they wanted.

The most interesting impact from yesterday is the personal stories about legal immigrants across the nation. Stories on NPR include students talking about the struggles of simply living in America, Indian doctors who are treating patients in Iowa and get by on only a visa because the United States cannot issue enough green cards, and workers from African nations who come over legally but are forced to secondary service jobs because the government’s immigration policy loses people in the system.

The system is broke and instead of making it a felony to teach children, treat immigrants in hospitals, or give starving families food and water, why can’t we pass the legislation written by McCain/Kennedy?

In this reactionary time, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is trying to play dodge ball with the problem, by submitting a resolution for the consideration of the full Senate on “why the national anthem must be sung in English.”

Great way to address immigration reform Senator. Good way to NOT legislate some more.

I started out against the boycott because I was nervous about feeding unfounded stereotypes. I was hesitant to write about it because of the way it may be perceived. But truth be told, the rallies were well organized in Texas and across the nation, and the importance of the issue is only increasing.

President Bush said himself that, “mass deportation is not realistic.” Why no then work to create a path to citizenship and documentation. Allow workers and families to pay into taxes, get drivers licensees, and better themselves and the country.

For more stories on the immigration rallies visit here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Rep Pena has a birds-eye perspective on the Austin Event.


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