The AP via Houston Chron reports on yesterday's truly stunning pro-immigrant/immigration rallies in various cities, including a show of 350,000 to 500,000 folks (police estimate) in Dallas, TX:
Sunday's demonstrations come ahead of nationwide protests set for Monday, a signal that what began as a string of disparate events–attracting tens and even hundreds of thousands of people–has become more coordinated.
"We don't have a leader like Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez, but this is now a national immigrant rights movement," said Joshua Hoyt, director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which has helped organize Chicago-area rallies.
Activists say the Senate's decision last week not to push a bill that would have given many illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship is neither a cause for celebration nor a lost opportunity–it's a chance to regroup….
Many groups had been preparing to rally since December, when the House passed a bill to build more walls along the U.S.-Mexico border; make criminals of people who helped undocumented immigrants; and make it a felony, rather than a civil infraction, to be in the country illegally.
For more info on what might be happening in your neck of the woods, go to this site, which lists local events being coordinated via the Center for Community Change, a generally left-leaning umbrella group that's behind the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, whose goals include upping union membership via legalizing currently undocumented workers.
The more the merrier, sez I (though if immigrants are thinking about joining the Service Employees International Union, they really oughta read Mike McMenamin's takedown of that gang here).
Certainly the idea of building a physical wall along the Mexican border–the great dream of Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.)–makes me ashamed to be an American.
Fox News' Tony Snow delivers good news about illegals–the sort of news that should make it easier for all but neo-nativists to recognize that it would be far, far easier to legalize workers rather than create a Fortress America:
Princeton University sociologist Douglas S. Massey reports that 62 percent of illegal immigrants pay income taxes (via withholding) and 66 percent contribute to Social Security. Forbes magazine notes that Mexican illegals aren't clogging up the social-services system: only 5 percent receive food stamps or unemployment assistance; 10 percent send kids to public schools….[T]he most comprehensive survey to date of national crime data concludes, "In the small number of studies providing empirical evidence, immigrants are generally less involved in crime than similarly situated groups, despite the wealth of prominent criminological theories that provide good reasons why this should not be the case."
Reason's Brian Doherty says yes to immigration and no to the welfare state here; in our February issue, Jesse James DeConto took a long look at "America's Criminal Immigration Policy" and I suggested that "If you enjoyed your Christmas tree, thank an immigrant."