Monday, April 10, 2006

Millions expected to march against immigration bill...

Two million people are expected to attend rallies in more than 60 cities today to protest against proposals to criminalise illegal immigrants and those who help them. These rallies will build on the extraordinary momentum already generated.

One of the rallies in California last weekend drew over 500,000 people. Yesterday half a million participated in a rally in Dallas, Texas. A friend who attended the Dallas rally called me last night and said it was "just like the Civil Rights rallies of the Sixties....a great feeling of old-fashioned American patriotism." She said the rally was totally peaceful.

I have a few comments to make ... but I should add that my views are colored by the fact that I'm an immigrant who was given the opportunity to become a naturalized American citizen.

First, I want to say that there is nothing more American than taking to the streets. And this huge outpouring is sending a message to those rightwingers who want to criminalize illegal immigrants and those who help them.

I have noted with interest the active role played by the Catholic Bishops and some other religious leaders in asserting that they will continue to provide aid and comfort to immigrants...irrespective of any laws passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. Good for them!

Clearly, this outpouring of civic activism will have huge political implications for the elections this fall and in '08. I understand there is a lot of voter registration going on at the rallies.

On a personal level I would note that I've worked with the Federal Migrant Head Start Program on the East Coast as a consultant. Have always been deeply impressed with the work ethic and family values of the people I met through this program. Most survive on subsistence income.

Information on rallies scheduled for today can be found at this link.


This story on the Dallas Morning News suggests that Latinos are going to be on the march until the November election. Good news for Democrats...bad news for Republicans.