Saying No To a Day With No Immigrants


The SF Chronicle has run a version of my April 18 Reason Online piece mocking advocates of mandatory English instruction for immigrants; the Chron's reworking is online here.

In the same Opinion section, Chron columnist Debra Saunders explains that she's turned off by tomorrow's planned protests, in which legal and illegal immigrants are planning to skip work, school, etc.:

The bottom line is that while these demonstrations, I am told, are supposed to make me feel better about illegal immigrants, I feel angry when I see thousands of people who knowingly break American law, yet somehow feel entitled to do so and outraged that they have not been sufficiently rewarded for it.

And I'm someone who wants to find a compromise that accommodates working families that have put down roots in California.

Whole thing here.

I don't share Saunders' discomfort with illegal immigrants–whether the discomfort is economic (there's no good reason to believe that low-wage migrants seriously screw domestic workers much less consumers) or cultural (as I've noted elsewhere, Latinos learn English at about the same clip as the old-time immigrants from Southern and Central Europe did).

But I do agree with her that tomorrow's protest is a pretty damn bad idea. Part of the moral high ground that illegal and low-wage legal immigrants hold is that they're willing to work harder and longer than many other people. This confuses that basic message. And so does the idea of yanking your kids from school. And it's not helping anything that the date is May 1.

The nationwide protests a couple of weeks ago were models in political persuasion–totally peaceful and quietly forceful in their rhetoric and sheer numbers. Tomorrow's seems set to undo a lot of that.