Celebrating America’s immigrants

This was so nice to read, and must have been apoplexy-inducing to the Minuteman-adoring anti-immigration “patriots.”

Wearing a bright green T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Mexico,” 18-year-old Marco Tapia couldn’t wait to join the biggest march for immigrants he had ever seen. The Mexican-born high school senior was among about 30,000 who marched through St. Paul in support of immigrant rights, and among more than half a million people who rallied Sunday in 10 states. Dozens more marches were planned nationwide Monday.

“Hopefully this will change the way America thinks,” said Tapia, a high school senior who is living illegally in Minneapolis with his mother and sister. “We’re not criminals. We’re just regular people like everybody else here.”

With an overhaul of immigration law stalled in Congress, demonstrators urged lawmakers to help an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants settle legally in the United States. The massive turnout at Sunday’s protests — police estimated 350,000 to 500,000 in Dallas — continued to surprise organizers and police.

“This is a force, an energy here,” said Amir Krummell, a U.S. citizen born in Panama, who marched to Dallas’ city hall amid shouts of “Si Se Puede!”, Spanish for “Yes, we can!”

America loves immigrants. America is immigrants. We need secure borders and sensible regulations. But to make it a crime to help undocumented immigrants and a felony to be in the country illegally — don’t we have more important, more pressing issues to concern ourselves with? Most of these people are looking for a better life, and most pay taxes, too. Criminalizing them is just plain wrong.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

America loves immigrants: but legal immigrants. Who play by the rules. Who respect our laws and institutions.

You mouth the standard line: ‘most of these people are looking for a better life..’ What about the thousands upon thousands of people who also want a better life but are waiting for legitimate visas? As far as you’re concerned, too bad for them for playing by the rules, right.

And for the old chestnut ‘they’re paying taxes’ nonsense, that’s propaganda, plain and simple. The American middle class is subsidizing their existence here — in extra taxes we pay to schools, hospitals, social services, police and fire departments. The reason for the net deficit is obvious: illegals are disproportionately low-skilled workers and therefore earn low wages, with low taxes — and that doesn’t include those who work ‘under the table’ for cash, and don’t pay any taxes at all.

see http://www.cis.org/topics/costs.html

Illegals, because they are willing to work for less, depress the hourly wage, and keep other American, many of them Black Americans, from earning a living wage, and therefore lower the standard of living for the rest of us.


April 10, 2006 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

Poor Jay Jerome does not understand the immigration laws and the dimension of the international dynamics.

He repeats the same words that people ignorant of the U.S. immigration rules and international dynamics do, over and over. It is nice to make such comments, except that when they are made without the right knowledge they lack any value.

That is why people really educated on foreign issues and immigration, massively support immigrants.

April 10, 2006 @ 4:37 pm | Comment

Thanks Constance. I know who Jay Jerome is, and unfortunately there is only one motivation behind his at-first-glance lofty words: racism.

April 10, 2006 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

I agree with your sentiments completely Richard.

I support an increase in LEGAL immigration to the US–from all over the world but especially from China.

Increased Chinese immigration would have a number of benefits, but most importantly it would create economic and emotional ties between the two countries. An increasingly positive and constructive relationship between these two powers could be founded on such a foundation. And such a positive relationship would be of great benefit to not only these countries, but to the entire world.

The difficulties that Chinese workers and students often face in obtaining visas is a tragic loss for both our countries.

April 10, 2006 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

I think you can make a legitimate argument that having an undocumented workforce depresses wages and degrades working conditions in the US.

That said, if we were serious about stopping illegal immigration, we’d go after employers, raise the minimum wage and do all kinds of things to make lower end jobs attractive to US citizens.

Also, having been born and raised in Southern California, it’s really ridiculous and frankly kind of weird to stigmatize Mexican and Latino immigrants, legal or not. This land was Indian and Mexican before it was American. I feel like, although I don’t have any official “Mexican” blood, I am by virtue of where I was born and raised, pretty much a Mexican American myself.

We need to deal with the reality on the ground. I think that means creating a pathway to citizenship for the illegal immigrants who are already here. I think that means creating some kind of regulated guest worker program. And I think that means creating and seriously enforcing a livable wage at the bottom end of the wage scale. People say that Americans aren’t willing to work in the jobs that immigrants take. Well, let’s test that theory by making those jobs pay decently, in decent working conditions.

If we aren’t willing to create decent jobs for our own citizens, then people should shut the f**k up about illegal immigrants. Because basically what that means is, we’d rather have an illegal, undocumented work force that we treat like shit and can intimidate and threaten and deport if they become inconvenient than creating jobs that pay enough to live on and treat workers like Americans.

April 11, 2006 @ 2:22 am | Comment

Very well said, Lisa.

April 12, 2006 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

I don’t find Lisa’s comments to be ‘well said’. People that rail about raising minimum wages and letting immigrants have those better jobs simply don’t understand economics. Where exactly do you believe the money for these higher wages will come from? Is raising the cost of *everything* that lower-waged people do going to make the overall quality of life better? No, it’ll simply lower the quality of life of the entire middle class by taking their money to make the lives of immigrants better.

How many other countries welcome foreigners that intentionally overstay? I’ve heard stories about people that have overstayed in Thailand…their holding cells are not comfortable and they aren’t offering anyone permanent visas for breaking their laws (even if you’re from the West).

Show me somewhere that this strategy of opening the floodgates has worked and I’ll read up on it.

April 14, 2006 @ 10:04 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.