May Day Protests

I’ve been getting a few small reminders to today’s protests as I go about my normal routine. Despite the fact that I left nearly 20 minutes late this morning, I got to work 10 minutes early, my commute was cut in half. While nobody from my office is out, a number of the people that work at our various other sites are out protesting. And when I went out for lunch and Fresca’s, a Mexican place I eat at about once a week, was closed. I went over to El Pollo Loco and the line was out the door, as if they were short staffed. Same thing with Tacos & Co. Despite my craving for Mexican food (and caffeine, but that’s a different story) I ended up at Subway.

As I’ve mentioned before, I support immigrant worker’s rights, even illegal immigrants. However, I don’t think a one day boycott will help their cause. Yes, they contribute a lot of capital to our economy, but they cannot withhold that capital for extended periods of time. What I mean to say is that the American economy needs the works as much as the workers need the American economy. Right now our system is in a comfortable equilibrium, we cannot kick out the illegal immigrants without our economy collapsing, but they also can’t stop working otherwise they will starve.

It took fourteen years for the Civil Rights Movement to run its course, from the time of Brown v Board of Education (1954) until the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed. It will likely be just as long a fight for immigrant’s rights, and today is something akin to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it is just the start. One thing is becoming increasingly clear, our current equilibrium is about to be disrupted. There will likely be legislation that pushes this issue back and forth over the coming years, but as Winston Churchill famously said, “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

6 Comments so far

  1. No One of Consequence (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 10:14 am

    “Comfortable equilibrium”? Is that what you call this? Just like how fire fighters are only in equilibrium with fire when there are fires to fight. I think that’s the first time I’ve heard one of you Bush supporters use such a term. Of course I don’t watch much Fox News, so maybe his apologists are test spinning that one.

    Seriously though, one thing I can say with the highest level certainty in this whole problem is that the American economy does NOT need the labor as badly as the illegals need to work or the Mexican government needs to dump their problems on America. Without the availability of such cheap labor, yes the price of lettuce and strawberries and office cleaning would be higher, but it would come down and it would also be partially offset by the savings in health insurance, auto insurance, and taxes that go toward education, emergency services, and welfare. Not to mention the benefit from the rebuilding of the American middle-class.

    I agree that we can not “kick out” all the illegal immigrants, not because our economy needs them, but because the overwhelming numbers make it impractical and there are ways to achieve the same goals without the iron-fist. By removing incentives to immigrate, especially illegally, we can reverse the flow of illegal immigration and let the process take place over a couple decades. So instead of another “never again” amnesty in 2026, we can have a manageable and controlled immigration and Mexicans might be forced to actually deal with their corrupt socialist government.

    If I had been one of those people fighting for the Civil Rights Act back in the 60’s or suffering REAL oppression before then, I would be a little pissed that our struggle was being co-opted for this so-called struggle.

    On a whole, Americans don’t have a problem with immigrants. We recognize that we all descend from immigrants. Most of us have at least one great-grandparent that was an immigrant. (Of course, that forebear probably came here legally.) There will always, ALWAYS, be bigotry, but that doesn’t mean a fight for special privileges for illegal immigrants is akin to the Civil Rights movements. We need immigration limits partially to allow assimilation. But you and Bush are advocating is a complete bail-out of the Mexican government’s corruption and mismanagement and the inevitable doom that is part of the life cycle of socialist systems.

    My father’s parents were both immigrants from Mexico and a great-grandmother was an immigrant from Sweden. They all immigrated legally and proudly made it a point to learn the language of their new country. They made sure the primary language of their children was English. And they fought FOR their new country. These immigrants are fighting simply to get more out of a country which they hold in contempt anyway. They’ve broken into their neighbor’s house because they’ve let the food in their own house go bad and now they’re complaining about the food in the neighbor’s pantry.

  2. Mike Lawson (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 10:36 am

    “It will likely be just as long a fight for immigrant’s rights, and today is something akin to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it is just the start.”

    Just the start, but every good “movement” starts somewhere.

  3. Grant Henninger (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 11:08 am

    No One of Consequence,

    Thank you for your comment, but I have a few problems with it. First off, I would like to say that I’m very offended that I’ve been called an apologist of President Bush. I didn’t mention the President anywhere in my post, nor did I mention amnesty or anything like it. In fact, I made the case for maintaining the status quo. I haven’t made up my mind on the amnesty issue, so it’s hard for me to understand how you can call me a Bush apologist, especially when I clearly don’t agree with him on most policy issues and can’t stand him as a person.

    Besides that, I totally agree with the idea of “manageable and controlled immigration and Mexicans might be forced to actually deal with their corrupt socialist government,” although I think you have it in the wrong order. The primary reason for illegal immigration is economics, people can make a better living here as an illegal immigrant than they can back at home.

    There are three ways to cut down on the number of illegal immigrants to this country, the first is to deport them once they get here, the second is to stop them from getting here, and the third is to stop them from even attempting to get here. Everybody agrees that the first option has not worked, there are 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, and it would be impossible to kick them all out. The second solution is one that many of the Conservatives are advocating, making it harder to get here by building a wall along the border. However, the best solution is to make it so people don’t want to come here because they have a comfortable life back at home.

    What needs to happen for people to develop a comfortable living in their own country is a stable and strong economy must develop, and that cannot be done with a corrupt government. The first goal in slowing the tide of illegal immigration is to help build the Mexican economy, and then we might see fewer illegal immigrants.

  4. No One of Consequence (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

    You didn’t mention President Bush, but you use some of his rhetoric. He’s fond of saying that it’s impossible to deport 11 million immigrants, so we need to build a path toward citizenship. Nevermind that “11 million” is probably less than half the true number. But when I hear someone start with “we can’t kick out the illegal immigrants”, it sounds like a Bush apologist’s sermon about to start. I didn’t mean to offend you though, so I’m sorry for that.

    I agree that as long as illegal immigrants can have such a better life even with an illegal status, the pressure to come here will not decrease. I disagree with your wording that almost implies a high level of responsibility on the USA to give them a “comfortable” life back home. If we can reduce the level of improvement, the pressure to leave will decrease. But, the responsibility to make life better in Mexico for Mexicans is theirs. You, as an individual USA citizen, are free to assist them with your money, your knowledge, your labor, or anything else that belongs to you. When our own federal, state, or local governments “help build the [existing] Mexican economy”, they are merely propping up and prolonging the corruption and suffering of the Mexican people. That assistance might come in the form of direct aid, treaties, or open borders and amnesty. Whatever preserves the status quo, prolongs the suffering.

    To me, the solution is multipronged: 1) make it a felony to cross the border illegally, 2) prosecute employers who use illegal immigrants and sentence them to prison time, 3) add physical barriers to control the inbound vectors, 4) restrict public services to illegal immigrants, 5) apply political pressure to reform and root out the corruption endemic in Mexico, and probably others, but pretty much in order of priority and ease of implimentation.

  5. Grant Henninger (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    I disagree with the way you say it is not the US’s responsibility to build up the Mexican economy. I don’t think it matters whose responsibility it is, I agree with you that it is not the US’s, but what incentive does the Mexican government have to improve it? Clearly not our immigration problem. We have a problem and we should not expect others to solve it for us. If we want the Mexican economy to improve so fewer illegal immigrants come here, then we will need to do something to improve the Mexican economy.

  6. No One of Consequence (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

    “If we want the Mexican economy to improve so fewer illegal immigrants come here, then we will need to do something to improve the Mexican economy.”?

    Doesn’t that make us responsible (aka “WE will need to do something”) for everything, everywhere?

    If we want the Chinese economy to improve so it costs more to manufacture in China so fewer manufacturing jobs go to China, then we will need to do something to improve the Chinese economy.

    If we want the Indian economy to improve so it costs more to outsource jobs to India, then we will need to do something to improve the Indian economy.

    If we want the Russian economy to improve so they don’t need to survive by selling nuclear weapons to rogue cave dwellers, then we will need to do something to improve the Russian economy.

    I disagree. We can’t afford social welfare, corporate welfare, and foreign nation welfare. Actually, we already do all of the above and it gets us nowhere.

    The incentive to change for Mexico is removing the option of offloading their burden on the USA. With ever increasing assistance, we’re actually removing the incentive to improve. It’s already to the point that we’re accused of an immoral act if we even consider reducing it. If they’re going to be a protectorate, we should declare it and make them start complying with all the other U.S. laws like every labor law like minimum wage and age restrictions, FMLA, workmans comp insurance, OSHA, etc. etc. But if they want their sovereignty, they should respect ours.

    The immigration problem may be ours, but the solution can’t include sacrificing our middle-class to improve theirs. At least without Joseph Stalin running the show.

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