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This year’s immigration marches promise a bigger turnout than 2006

LatinaLista — Compared to three years ago when the first immigration marches were held, the Latino community has evolved into a more political savvy and networked group that finds itself on the cusp of making history all over again.
May 1, or “May Day,” is a day the rest of the world celebrates as International Worker’s Day or Labour Day. In this country, it’s evolved to signify a day when people take to the streets to wave flags, carry banners, shout chants and show unified support for the rights of undocumented immigrants.
Remember May 1, 2006 when the throngs of immigrant rights supporters first clogged downtown streets of cities large and small?
At the time, people wondered if the same momentum would ever be replicated. It wasn’t but this year promises to be different for a variety of reasons.
And because of that, it has some Latino community leaders debating the wisdom of tapping into this reenergized momentum.
According to these community leaders, they’re afraid that a show of force could damage potential support for the immigration reform bill when it’s introduced in Congress. They’re also afraid of triggering the same kind of political backlash that materialized after the 2006 marches, which served as the impetus to polarizing the country over the immigration issue.
Yet, what these community leaders don’t recognize is that along with the political backlash of 2006, there were lessons learned — not the least of which is that the Latino community is more political savvy than three years ago.

May 1, 2009 is a day that marks the perfect alignment of circumstances: it’s the end of President Obama’s first 100 days in office; it’s a day that falls under an administration that pledges to address comprehensive immigration reform before the year is out and, this time around, there is more of a nationwide, organized effort to rally people to support immigration reform and create ways to extend the momentum beyond May 1.
The fact that this year’s marches falls at the end of Obama’s first 100 days in office is symbolically significant for the Latino community, given the amount of Hispanic support he received in the election.
To his credit, Obama recognizes that the majority of Latinos voted for him based on the belief he would advance humane immigration reform. Though he’s only expressed his intention to address the issue this year, he did so within his first 100 days in office.
Also, the current introduction of the DREAM Act in Congress, even though it now seems stalled in committees, creates an added excitement that immigration reform is on the horizon. With two such hopeful signs, it’s not hard to guess that more people, young and old, will enthusiastically take to the streets this year.
And heeding lessons learned in 2006, my guess is that the only flags flying at the marches will most probably be the red, white and blue.
In the three years since those first marches, there have been countless pro-migrant non-profits, websites, documentaries, songs and articles created to counter the harsh rhetoric targeting undocumented immigrants.
In preparation for May 1, websites have sprung up to try to coordinate immigration marches. From
A New Day for Immigration which tries to document where marches are happening across the country to the many local websites of churches, labor unions and social justice centers that are telling their visitors starting times and route information, the source for news about the immigration marches relies less on word-of-mouth, MySpace, Facebook and even Spanish-language media than it did in 2006.
With Asians, blacks, Jewish and Arab groups joining in the call for immigration reform, this year’s marches will showcase the diversity of immigration and illustrate that it is not just a “Latino issue.”
And finally, there are efforts underway to engage people over a longer period of time. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is sponsoring a National Call-In for Immigration Reform from April 27 to May 1. During this time, NCLR is offering a downloadable action kit that tells people how to contact their congressmen.
The documentarians of Made in L.A. created a May Day Community Screening Campaign making the award-winning documentary available for community and house screenings. The filmmakers want to do their part in promoting immigration reform. The campaign, which includes a downloadable event planning kit at the website started April 15 and runs to May 31.
There’s no doubt the momentum is building for May 1 and there’s no stopping it — until humane immigration reform is passed.

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  • Horace
    April 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Yeah, it’s mostly because there are many idle hands due to the unemployment situation. I love their marches, they do so much to evoke the ire of the average citizen. It’s something about outrageous demands and claims to rights that inspires so many Americans to write their congressmen. The greater the numbers, the more people are scared into understanding that our nation has been overrun by illegal aliens. You people fail to understand that 70 percent of all citizens oppose illegal immigration. This will only up the number to 80 percent.

  • MaryElizabeth
    April 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Horace, That statistic is way off. Most Americans do not want employers to have access to an underground workforce. Americans do not want employers to get away with following labor laws. Most Americans are for the Undocumented getting out of the shadows with a path to citizenship. They are for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

  • Vicente Duque
    April 28, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Let’s Demonstrate on May First for Kindness and Justice – But NO Latino Machos in Demonstrations Please ! – Let’s be Peaceful !
    Let’s Demonstrate on May First of 2009 with Prudence, Caution and Wisdom. But do not push for Impossible Legislative Agendas that would destroy Mr Obama. And let’s be peaceful.
    The Democratic Party is larger than just the Latino Component. There are Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, the Educated Whites, the Many Millions of Noble Whites, the Millions of Kind White People, The Intelligent White People and others. There are many more millions than the Latinos, and do not forget those that dislike Religious Extremism and Christian Talibans.
    The United States is larger than the Democratic Party and the Latinos combined.
    And the World is larger than the USA.
    So I would love to see “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” ( the CIR ) because it is Humane, Kind, Natural, and good for the U. S. Economy.
    But given the Level of Hate, Sadism and Brutality The CIR is a dangerous proposition, project or bill to send to Congress.
    But for the Good of All People of America and the World, I hope that Mr Obama does not send that bill to Congress.
    Because then Mr Obama and his party would fall in a trap or quagmire. The Republicans would be the happiest with all the Racists and Scoundrels activated and energized.
    Mr Obama would give a banner to a Republican Party that is in Extreme Ideological Poverty, Absolute Povery of Ideas.
    What is better than to have a “Common Enemy”, and “Enemy of America” in Latinos.
    To revive all the Forces of Scoundrels, to Energize haters.
    The best beneficiaries would be the TV Merchants of Hate and TV Peddlers of Fear.
    Their audiences, ratings and earnings would immediately increase.
    Hate and Fear are powerful forces.
    Mr Obama would paralyze Congress and Legislation and even his administration with this imprudent project.
    And the Whole World would suffer from an America that is paralyzed by stupid and imbecile haters. And we would harm the legislative agendas of Blacks, Asians, Native Americans and many millions of Kind and Noble Whites.
    I am posting videos of May First marches to encourage people, but I am also advising moderation, prudence, caution, calm, and wisdom.
    And avoid confrontations with scoundrels. First the security of Women, Children and the Old.
    No Latino Machos in Demonstrations Please !
    Vicente Duque

  • Dave
    April 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    MaryElizabeth, no most Americans do not want a path to citizenship. What they want is for them to go home, and do it the right way, just like the millions of legal immigrants before them. Illegal immigrants have no right to jump in the front of the line, then expect to be rewarded for it. I have never been rewarded for breaking the law and neither have you. What’s fair is fair.

  • Evelyn
    April 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Thats right Mary Elizabeth, and now that Arlin Spector has abandoned the Republican party and switched to Democrat, when Al Frankin is seated Democrats will have the 60 votes needed t o break filibuster.
    Immigration: Gillibrand Versus the Minutemen
    As we look ahead to Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on common sense immigration reform, with a star lineup that includes former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Dr. Joel Hunter of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, it’s time once again to take stock of the emerging new politics of immigration.
    Two major trends rise to the forefront:
    Moderate Democrats appear ready to tackle common sense reform, while Republican extremists stand poised to drive the GOP further into the political wilderness by continuing to demagogue on immigration.
    But let’s start with Rahm.
    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told Latino journalists back in February:
    “The arrow is pointing in a different direction in relation to immigration politics in this country.”
    Recent support from key Senate moderates illustrate Rahm’s case.
    Take newly-appointed Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). While her record on immigration in the House wasn’t always pretty, as Senator of New York, Gillibrand (D), has traveled the state listening to constituents’ views about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. This month, she turned the page and announced her support for the DREAM Act, a core piece of reform legislation that would allow immigrant children who have grown up in America but lack immigration papers to go to college and legalize their status, arguing:
    America is the only home many of [these students] know, yet they are being denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential. This legislation says that if they work hard and play by the rules, then they will have the opportunity to get a good education and earn their way to legal status.
    This week, Senator Bennet (D-CO) also expressed strong support for common sense immigration reform. During a series of town hall meetings, Bennet said that he has spoken with farmers, health care officials, and law enforcement in Colorado who want Congressional action on the issue. Though he acknowledged that the politics of immigration reform are still “frail” in Colorado, his vocal support for reform is a clear sign that pragmatic politicians are rejecting the Tancredo approach to immigration policy
    So what’s this about the Minutemen?
    While Democrats seem to be making headway, the Republican Party continues to be dogged by Minutemen hard-liners who oppose practical solutions. Yesterday, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder Chris Simcox announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, challenging Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2010 elections. Simcox is a single-issue demagogue who opposes McCain because of his role as a leader in the fight to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Unfortunately, Simcox is not the only Minuteman running for office. Illinois Minuteman Rosanna Pulido ran as the Republican nominee in Illinois’ 5th district (ironically, for Rahm Emanuel’s old seat), and garnered less than a quarter of the vote in her dramatic defeat.
    Indeed, Pulido’s predictable loss (this is a woman who compared Muslims praying to dogs sniffing butts) follows an analysis conducted by America’s Voice in the last election, which revealed that in 20 of 22 battleground races where immigration was an issue, the candidate supporting a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform won. In addition, candidates who spent significant campaign resources on immigration attack ads gained little- and often suffered- as a result of pandering on the issue.
    As Bill Maher suggested in a recent column, The GOP: divorced from reality, now is the time for the Republican Party to denounce the extremists within it, especially when it comes to immigration. He argues, “To paraphrase George W. Bush, either you’re with them or you’re embarrassed by them.” Luckily, there is a rapidly-growing contingent of Republicans in the embarrassed column.
    So here’s where things stand, as immigration reform heats up again:
    Moderate Democrats are beginning to get that the public wants leaders who lean into tough problems and forge pragmatic solutions. At the same time, the Republican Party is debating whether to move away from extreme candidates like Rosanna Pulido and Chris Simcox. Let’s face it: the GOP’s viability as a major party depends in no small part on distancing itself from Minuteman-style politics.
    It will be instructive to see how both parties behave during next week’s Senate Judiciary Hearing, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?””
    With the White House recently renewing its pledge to move forward on immigration reform this year with the unified support of the nation’s largest labor coalitions, we might expect the answer to the first question to be, “Yes.”
    To answer the question, “How?”
    Tune into what the public- not the noisy Minuteman minority- really want. Weigh the economic benefits of legalizing twelve million underground workers and cracking down on bad-actor employers against the human and financial costs of deporting 12 million men, women, and children.
    Most importantly, take the debate back from the extremists.
    These results at the following site show majority Americans want this issue resolved with CIR by voting out those against it. (Republicans)
    Now read here and weep!!! Republicans on board CIR. Many are up for re-election and fear they too will lose if they dont support CIR.
    GOP Senator: Specter’s Switch Is ‘Devastating’
    Posted by Ryan Grim, Huffington Post on April 28, 2009 at 12:39 PM.
    Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate, said Tuesday that Arlen Specter’s abandonment of the GOP is “devastating,” both “personally and I think for the party.”
    “I’ve always been deeply concerned about the views of the Republican Party nationally in terms of their exclusionary policies and views towards moderate Republicans,” said Snowe, who has been approached, she said, by Democrats in the past about switching parties.
    Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party “underscores the blunt reality” that the GOP is not a welcome place for moderates, she said.
    Minnesotans Want Norm Coleman to Concede to Al Franken
    Posted by Steve Benen, Washington Monthly on April 27, 2009 at 8:16 AM.
    Patience continues to wear thin in Minnesota.
    Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans surveyed think Norm Coleman should concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken, but just as many believe the voting system that gave the state its longest running election contest needs improvement.

  • Horace
    April 28, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    “Horace, That statistic is way off. Most Americans do not want employers to have access to an underground workforce. Americans do not want employers to get away with following labor laws. Most Americans are for the Undocumented getting out of the shadows with a path to citizenship. They are for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”
    If we deport all illegal aliens, either by attrition on by capture and removal, there will be no underground force. The trick is to make life hell for illegal aliens through enforcing our laws, denying them benefits that should be reserved for citizens and legal residents. It is by those means that we can convince them that it is in their best interest to go home.
    The truth is that illegal aliens are not in the shadows. According to Marisa, they will be marching in the streets on the 1st of May.
    Why would citizens want to give citizenship to illegal aliens when these same lawbreakers would be given the right to bring their relatives, or encourage others to immigrate illegally?
    Latino activists have already said that they’re going to take over by means of their propensity to have far more children than they can afford. Check out the unwed mother rate for Latino teens. Marisa can attest that it’s far higher than all ethnic groups in this country. We want more unwed mothers to swell the welfare rolls? Why would Americans want to generate more welfare babies by adopting Latino illegal aliens? Why would we want to increase the number of Latinos who would arrogantly declare themselves the next leaders of this country, even though they are the least educated in our society and have shown little leadership skills as an ethnic group? Latinos in California have high dropout rates than the rest of the country. Do we need more high school dropout children of illegal aliens?
    Why would Americans think it prudent to adopt millions of semi-illiterate Mexicans? Name a country which has importing poverty and ignorance as its policy. That reason alone is enough to deny these people the prize of citizenship.
    No, every poll I’ve seen and every newspaper blog I’ve followed has negative comments in a ratio of several times that of supporters. Check out the web-based New York Times, the Arizona Star, the Dallas newspapers or the Denver newsaper. There are hundreds of newspapers on-line and responses to articles on immigration reveal largely unfavorable comments on illegal immigration. Latino activists only listen to their leftest friends and fellow advocates, and they’re wrong.
    The trend against illegal aliens grows daily, and the Democrats know it. Why do you think that BO, Nancy and Harry haven’t enacted CIR. It’s obvious except to mindless supporters of illegal aliens that Congress and BO don’t think the winds are blowing in favor of amnesty. And it’s only going to get worse with the negative impact of the economy. You and your friends are deluded by your own rhetoric, the fact that you probably don’t read more than People Magazine, Vogue and Teen Magazine. Try talking to people beyond your own ignorant circle of friends.

  • Evelyn
    April 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    You say “every poll I’ve seen and every newspaper blog I’ve followed has negative comments in a ratio of several times that of supporters.”
    You also state “You and your friends are deluded by your own rhetoric, the fact that you probably don’t read more than People Magazine, Vogue and Teen Magazine.
    I believe it is you who should try talking to people beyond your own ignorant circle of friends.
    Pamphlets put out by extreme racist hate groups like Fair, Numbers USA, ALIPAC, or Minutenuts dont express views of most Americans. With all the lies, rhetoric and hate you spew it is easy to judge what you read.

  • MaryElizabeth
    April 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Evelyn, That was the most excellent analysis on Comprehensive Immigration Reform that I have seen yet on the political reality of the issue. It is true that the (Wingnuts) have shoot the Republican party in the foot. I heard rumors that both Olivia Snow and Susan Collins were most likely coming over on our side. They referred to Snow, Collins and Spector as the gang of 3. Now there are 2…1 down and 2 more to go. I think that Snow and Collins voted against reform in 2007 only because of the fear of not getting re-elected in Maine (Such a liberal state) to elect 2 republicans but now that they have both won during a high turnout year with Barrack Obama I think we will gain 2 votes on CIR. I thought it would be possible to see the bill pass in the fall and many of my friends say this is all about economic recovery. I am glad to see your post because I really would like to ignore some of the idiots that post here with their lack of information and false statistics. They truth is that Americans want resolution on this issue and it is not about wanting the undocumented to leave. These people posting think that if they post the false information that its going to alter the outcome but it does not. So you think we could have a 60 vote count this fall?? I was sure it would happen in 2011. Here is the deal for the opposers. If they oppose it and it loses by a few votes…it will go back up within 100 days after the senate race and the bill will be much more liberal. They are going to be surprised that they should have bargained CIR rather then oppose it. They are going to get reform like they never expected. Oh and Spector going Republican…this is great news because the fact that he is pro-immigration will make many shift on both sides. This is we have a 60 count. No fillibuster!! YEAH!!

  • Horace
    May 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

    ME said: “They are going to get reform like they never expected. Oh and Spector going Republican…this is great news because the fact that he is pro-immigration will make many shift on both sides. This is we have a 60 count. No fillibuster!! YEAH!!”
    You still have the Blue Dog Dems to be concerned with, as there are number that are anti-invader oriented in the Jackass party.

  • Evelyn
    May 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I guess you forgot about the only 12 intelligent Republicans that voted for CIR the last time and say they will still support CIR when it comes up again.
    They were able to retain their seats unlike the rest of the dumb elephants who made immigration an issue and were voted out with a kick in the a$$.
    Americans want our broken immigration system fixed instead of the de facto amnesty now in place that you defend without any actual knolodge of what you are actually supporting. LOL!

  • cookie
    May 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I wouldn’t call the raids, incarcerations and deportations that have been occuring, “de facto amnesty”.
    We need e-verify, secured borders, internal enforcement and to remove any benefits for those in our country illegally and most will leave on their own accord and will deter anymore from coming. No more amnesties!

  • Evelyn
    May 19, 2009 at 2:05 am

    cookie :
    I wouldn’t call the raids, incarcerations and deportations that have been occuring, “de facto amnesty”.
    Really! Tell me cookie
    what would you call the status of the 12 million immigrants living here in 2005 without proper documentation plus the 5 to 7 million more that have come in after that.
    They aren’t incarcerated and they arent being raided anymore. Those few that are deported, are replaced by those that come in in one day.

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