Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day Without Immigrants?

Today marches and boycotts are scheduled with the purpose of showing the US the power of immigrants. Immigrants are going to stay home from work and boycott commerce. Here's a quote from one of the organizers:

"You can expect L.A. to be at a standstill almost totally. You will not have truckers. You will not have taxi drivers, garment workers, hotel workers, restaurant workers -- half of the teacher force will not be going to school."

Half the teachers in LA are illegal immigrants? I doubt that. So it seems this rally is about "immigrants" not just illegal immigrants. And that confuses the issue.

Many Americans (myself included) are in favor of immigration. While we might not support open borders, we support allowing immigrants to make this their new home. We want the ridiculous visa system in place to be fixed so hardworking and energetic immigrants can come here.

What we don't support is illegal immigration. Notwithstanding the security risk involved in millions of people sneaking over our border, it's unfair for some immigrants to wait on line while others can just cut the line and get jobs. I believe everyone should have a right to try to come here (although we don't have to let everyone in), but they have to do it legally.

By conflating immigration with illegal immigration, immigration advocates are trying to make opposition to illegal immigration seem xenophobic. But it will likely have the opposite effect: it will make supporters of immigration link immigrants with illegals, and call for harsher restrictions on immigration. And if today's boycott goes through as planned, people are just going to get annoyed and start supporting the anti-immigrant crowd. And that would be a shame.

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