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May 04, 2006



While there are some radical elements that won't fast-track, even immediate, citizenship, and some who even propose that borders between countries (or at least the one border between the U.S. and Mexico) should be done away with altogether, I think the protests were mainly meant to thwart, in general, legislation unfriendly to illegal immigrants, and to encourage friendly legislation.

E.g., recent legislation in the House that would make it a felony to assist illegal aliens in any way (unfriendly), or the Senate proposal that provides a 10-year-long procedure for illegals to become legal (friendly), or the proposals to build a 2000-mile-long barrier across the Mexican border and shoot-to-kill anyone crossing into the dead zone (VERY unfriendly, and, in my opinion, the only possible solution to the increasing flow of illegal aliens and substances).


uh, that should be "want" not "won't"


Concur for the most part with Walter

I think the primary goal of most sane voices in the debate is to try and achieve “normalization,” which as best I can tell means; get right by us for your crime, we’ll hook you up when it is all over. They recognize that we’ve been punting the illegal immigration issue for too long so they’re seeking a middle ground that acknowledges mistakes and tries to get us to a happy place both from a political and physical security standpoint.

Piecing together what I can from various media sources, most of the people who would be actually impacted by current law or pending legislation just want to minimize the pain. They recognize that they’ve done wrong, but they are appealing to any sense of fair play we might have and asking that their 20-lashes be delivered by someone with Parkinson’s vice at the hand of a lion tamer. They’re prepared to do what is necessary to become “normalized” so that they can make life better for themselves and in particular their children.

Having said that, the vast majority of those involved in sparking the protests are perfectly legal (their normalcy I won’t attest to) and entirely political. Note the framing of the argument and the use of the language. No one uses “illegal” and everyone uses “rights.” Immigrants the ones who are displaced and citizens are the wetbacks (a local activist actually said that the other day). You have state legislatures voting to support the rallies and local and state jurisdictions voting to prevent the enforcement of immigration law. Right is wrong, freedom is slavery.


I think much of what happens in local and state governments is a natural reaction to the absolute lack of a plan by the federal government to deal with immigration seriously. If the local cops would have to arrest on behalf of the INS any illegal immigrants they come across, then that part of the population will go completely underground, preventing them from engaging in their primary job, protecting all people that are in their city, whether local residents, commuters, tourists, or in this case illegal immigrants. They will be in a situation similar to prostitutes. The reason that pimps as we know them now exist, is to protect the prostitutes from Johns that are abusive or just won't pay, knowing that the pro. can't go to the police like a regular person who wasn't paid for their services. Unfortunately this means that they don't have protection from abusive pimps. The illegal immigrant community will be seen as the place to go if you want to commit a crime. Making communities generally unsafer for all.

Bob Morris

The primary demands were Amnesty and No HR4437.

On May 1, there were two factions; those who did not favor the boycott and those who did. Here in L.A., there were two massive marches, one for each faction. Each got multiple hundreds of thousands of marchers.

I'm active in a group that helped organize the pro-boycott march. The size and numbers of all the marches have staggered even the organizers. It started in Chicago on March 10 - organizers expected 20,000 and several hundred thousand came. Then was March 25 in L.A., the police estimate was 500,000, and probably more like a million. That's the march that put the issue on the national map.

At the marches, it's not political or movement people, it's Latino mom, pop, and the kids, and the parents make $8-15 a hour. I was one of the few middle-aged Anglos at the downtown L.A. on Monday. It should be stressed that many of those marching have green cards or are citizens.

My take: It's the birth of a civil rights movement, and will be around for years to come.

"Someone kicked the sleeping giant"

Here's the posts on my blog on Immigrant Rights, including all the L.A. marches.

Ben Hyde

The goal of all political activism is to activation of the political muscle of the movement. The outward facing goals are always secondary. To put it in high tech terms - the highly cohesive and activated political base is like a platform; it has no goal beyond creating a rich option space for actions and a sense of urgency to take action to execute those options.

When you create a platform you select some options and highlight them to make it easier for developers to visualize what is possible. That increases their awareness of the rich option space and it acts as an accelerant on their taking action. When you create a political movement you select issues to focus on for just those reasons; but the you have different names for the actors. Activists and voters substitute for developers and users. In both cases a modicum of fear to drive people to action can be useful; with luck you can get your competing platform/movement to do things that frighten users/voters developer/voters. Microsoft did that for open source. The current immigration crack down talk has done that for the immigrate movement.

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