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April 13, 2006


As Gallup points out:

The pro-immigrant rallies of this past weekend have the GOP members of Congress on the defensive to come up with a more lenient approach for dealing with illegal immigrants than the one approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last December.

Being on the defensive is not what they intended.

Look for local angles and see how it's palying where you live.

many of the soi-disant liberals in the Democratic Party think that opposition to immigration is the position reflective of much of their constituency. This is probably another instance where the Dems should not "overthink" but just do what is right.

This article from the SF Chronicle shows much greater empathy among African-Americans for immigrants. I would guess that this is made up of many factors. Here in California at least they understand that nativist sentiments do not include them as part of the "America" that the Tancredos are trying to save.

"'The choice is to line up with right-wing reactionary forces under the claim that their action will benefit African Americans,' Anderson said. 'But those are the same forces that have been hell-bent on opposing civil rights, affirmative action and government programs for the less fortunate.'"

Many Caribbean immigrants are Black as well as Hispanic. I remember much more animosity toward Southeast Asians 20 years ago than one sees now, perhaps because Blacks do not perceive Hispanic immigrants as getting "special favors". Maybe they just understand at a gut level that an increase in intolerance always bodes poorly for them,as with the rise of the Klan in the '20s, fueled as much by anti-immigrant sentiment as anti-Black sentiment.

The "adult" position here is to couple a path to citizenship for those who are here with an increase in the minimum wage to help everyone and reduce the premium on hiring undocumented workers. Expand Medicaid some to cover the working poor, to further ease costs to employers. Don't deny Medicaid to undocumented immigrants, surely one of the stupidest policies in a time when there are fears of epidemics and pandemics. I wouldn't mind a large increase in border patrols and agents, if for no other reason than it will stem the call for vigilantism.

Immigration is an explosive issue. It appeals to some of the most basic feelings in people. The feeling of wanting to belong to a club/group/tribe/nation is present in everyone, and this should always be taken into account.

I've watched the issue play out in the Netherlands. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that anti-immigration sentiments won't pop up so much amongst people who tend to vote Democratic. It can affect everybody. I also believe that the big demonstrations were a mistake. Sure, they might have made representatives nervous about their Latino constituents. But, they also made people perceive (illegal) immigrants as a threat.

Individually, illegal immigrants aren't a threat, but if people see big protests with Mexican flags (rightly or wrongly given attention by the media), they feel uneasy. Just yesterday, here in Albuquerque, we spoke to a couple of people who were staunch liberals, yet they were upset about the demonstrations.

The polls show that people support some of the strictest measures. The worst thing you can do is try to ignore that and look for positive signs. That's what the left in the Netherlands did for years: not talk about anti-immigration sentiment. They paid a big price, and the immigration issue was hijacked by people with extreme views. I realize that the situation in the US is different, but the basic human sentiments are very much the same. Don't ever underestimate them. It'll come back to bite you in the ass.

Frank, i take the Minutemen and Tancredo very seriously. I've seen at daily kos how it divides everyone. inf act, my point, such as it was, is that it's such an explosive issue, no one can control it, certainly not Rs trying to score points.

And Ds are not immune.

Out of context: imagine a Pew poll result that most of the people think only 53% of the immigrants should be sent back to MX.
Asking Ben Nelson how to liberalize the maverick center caucus to which he belongs; remember: he helped organize the constituency in the Senate threatening to help the administration and Frist by voting for cloture if filibusters occurred in nominations.
NE map: I tried to imagine checkpoints, say, between Omaha and Lincoln; like century XVI rural France; tollbooths; not at all in the spirit of open America. Instead of a fence it could be named the immigration checkpoint. Would make you want to stay in beautiful Lincoln. Yet, travel further westward, say, to North Platte. What beautiful land comprises NE. No fences, Senator Nelson. Think of it as marring the natural landscape.
Gallup is somewhat more conservative than the College Board, and a lot more conservative than the Pew polling organization. DfCT has it right: it is all in how the question is framed and the overall array of topics covered in the poll; but, that is Gallup's art, usually in the service of whomever is prominent and way to the right of center.
Family march. Maybe some of you have a pictorial history of the watershed events that turned US popular sentiment against Viet Nam war involvement; the diversity and size of the family march in San Francisco in 1970 was one such event; the images last week reminded me of that kind of awakening among Latinos now in our time.
Economics are a factor in the president's plan; remonstration, Frist's; punishment, Sensenbrenner's. Given the large minority proportion of PA's voting age population, Specter is going to take a liberalized view, relative to others in his Republican Party.
I see the likeliest outcome as a neoIRCA, i.e., an amnesty sans grants in the spirit of rollback of postNewDeal social safetyNets, Republicans', or, rather, neoRepublicans' target. For ethnic reasons, Hispanics are a more cohesive community than other socioeconomically disadvantaged groups in the past; the Republican party last week relearned that history lesson, a blunder that clearly is going to cost them votes.
The need for cheap labor in business is a kind of inverse globalization effect inside the US, mirroring the need to offshore parts of the labor force, a way to contain inflationary effects and reduce union impact upon wages and benefits, Many institutions, and even the internet itself, have formed a new way to accomplish much of organized labor's historical functions more effectively.
Xenophobia is a classically bankrupt ploy near endgame of regimes; recall the springtime of the 'Open Door' at one epoch in US history; for those of you with CA historybooks, remember Pete Wilson's farewell idea to deprive indigents of healthcare and education; Hilary Clinton would embarrass an oponent who held such simplistic views, and Sen. Clinton is fairly far from being a liberal; something tells me her candidacy just expanded beyond Favorite Daughter status as the time before Iowa caucus season narrows to Twenty More Months Now. One interesting thread to watch when Congress reconvenes will be Sen. Feingold's leadership. Illegal immigration is an abstract negative, until you realize the federal government has had a de facto permissive treatment of it in recent years. I wonder if there is a Republican out there who recalls the revolution in El Salvador, and the disputes over the huge influx of its refugees; then there was Nicaragua, but it seemed most of those folks loved their country so much they only rarely opted to become illegal immigrants; I have met more than a few Guatemalans, though, with sad tales of their era of ten years of domestic strife. There are more illegal immigrants from Latin American countries living in CA than there were people populating the original thirteen colonies in 1790. In part, I think the Republican incentive to address the issue is completely apolitical in the sense that as the majority party it is incumbent upon them to provide suggestions to normalize the plight of a substantial proportion of the US populace now. But a border fence sounds unesthetic. Any East Berliners out there who have a comment on the exWall--many forces attracted people to go thru the Iron Curtain's most visible sector bisecting Berlin, happy day when it was dismantled. Israel is a difficult paradigm. Speaking as a fence building expert, I understand when the livestock needs to be contained. How about Mongolia--the Chinese did the project so artfully that in latter years they could spin off the Mongolian Republic, yet preserve the Great Wall as a Tourist attraction, a source of pecuniary income, and a kind of Christo Javacheffian statement about how to examine terrain visually as an expression of peoples' separateness.
Back in the city, how good it is to have a privacy fence. Good fences make good neighbors.
The solutions to the immigration problem largely reside in US and MX policy, and regional and hemispheric modernization of societies. Yet, economists are saying strata are increasingly segmented and upward mobility becoming less attainable.

DemfromCT: ok, understood. It's good that you take the issue seriously. It's certainly true that it is an issue that is hard to control.

I am just afraid of liberals in the US making the same mistake I have seen in the Netherlands, and that probably made me pick up on something in your post that wasn't there.

In California people are much less concerned about immigration now than in 1994 when Pete Wilson rode the issue to reelection but then watched Latinos in droves become citizens, register and vote Dem. And now California, which has been multi-cultural since the arrival of the first Spanish explorers (Native American then Spanish then Mexican then anglo and Chinese and Irish, Italians and Jews) is majority-minority. Los Angeles Spanish-speaking media includes 16 radio stations, 6 TV stations and 2 daily newspapers. Granted immigration increased in the last 30 years, going to the Midwest was a shock to me even in the '60s. It is really too late in the nation's history to pretend we can be a white, northern European nation because we never really were--only pockets were.

It is a complex issue. Polls come out very different depending on how the questions are asked. It is true that the upper income folks who have household help, patronize restaurants and hotels and work in offices benefit much more from immigration than lower income people, but many workers realize that immigrants didn't steal their high wage jobs; they were outsourced to Mexico and Asia.

The California experience is instructive. When the immigrant bashing happened in 1994, people who had not yet made a decision to stay were in a way forced to become citizens because they feared deportation. I know several people for whom that was the point at which they chose to stay. More porous borders work both ways, and provide a way for some immigrants to go back home if they want. Threatening deportion has the opposite effect--at least it did here.

Frank, I've been posting on the Minutemen and immigration issues for a while. Click on DemfromCT and scan the page for 'minutemen'.

Start here from April 05.

Nebraska is rather easy to understand if you follow the fortunes of the Packing House Workers and the Meat cutters unions over the past 20 years or so. The real fight was in Austin Minnesota in the mid 1980's -- the fight was about preserving jobs that paid middle class wages plus pensions and benefits to what has happened in this labor sector now -- the slaughter houses and processing firms have all been reorganized, and are non-union, and pay a little over minimum wage -- and most of the workers are immigrants, some legal, but many not. Ben Nelson reflects the opinion of his state -- or at least the old labor part that saw advantage in long term jobs in a nasty industry that allowed an out of work life style that was other than the beef processing plant. I(n this respect he is no different from Paul Wellstone who marched with P-9 in Austin Minnesota back in the 1980's. Today, Austin has many legal and illegal immigrants working the jobs at half the rate of what attained before the P-9 strike, and there are no pensions or benefits. Union Labor in Omaha knows what is happening to them, and one should expect Ben Nelson to respond to their comprehension.

Giben this -- and you have to dig into the local circumstances -- displaced workers in this country may shout out against the inported labor that breaks their industry -- but what else would you expect.

The problem in Nebraska and other mid western states is stark -- should 15 -18 dollar an hour workers be replaced with migrants who will work the same jobs at 8 dollars an hour with no benefits. Hormel bacon, thick sliced, which is what I like in my BLT's on Rye is not priced much higher than it was a decade ago -- but the bacon is now produced by a largely illegal migrant workforce making perhaps half of the former work force. The price difference gotes toward a higher reward to Hormel stockholders and the ability of the corporation to avoid being a decent corporate citizen by paying pensions and funding health care. That is how things work.

As with most complex political issues, little more than rhetoric is available for the average citizen to evaluate in order to fully understand the consequences of the numerous proposals being discussed. Immigration brings together a never before seen constellation that stands to change much of what Americans have come to understand about our economy, our political affiliations, corporate interests, globalization, trade agreements, the influence of unions, and many other ramifications yet to be identified or calculated.

Some choose to look to our past in hopes of finding a palatable position. As a country of immigrants, this approach seeks to simplify the issue with a more of the same mentality…we’re all immigrants so we should increase the numbers for legal immigration in order to avoid the growing undocumented population. The unanswered questions are how to determine that number and does that number simply increase the number of documented immigrants while failing to stem the tide of undocumented entrants. Supply and demand are seemingly the crux of this model.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who prefer a zero tolerance approach. In this construct, those here illegally are returned to their country of origin and the borders are secured such that the influx of illegal’s can be halted. The dialogue of this group generally focuses on the legal considerations and they frame the issue as a question of fairness to those who play by the rules in seeking to immigrate to America. Simply stated, they want enforcement…such that we implement and apply the existing laws before changing them.

In the middle are numerous plans with varying details. Most include some provision to integrate the existing illegal entrants into a program that moves them progressively towards citizenship. The recent compromise bill that initially appeared headed towards approval in the Senate included a system that focused on the number of years each illegal immigrant has been in the country…with those here the longest receiving a more favorable treatment containing fewer benchmarks and obstacles between the immigrant and citizenship.

Characteristically, the issue is polarized by intense passion on both extremes. This passionate posturing makes it increasingly difficult to carve out a compromise. Many politicians have taken positions based on their perceived constituency sentiment that allows them little room for flexibility. Regional economic considerations coupled with the potential impact to certain corporate and business segments create an incoherent patchwork of conflicting considerations. Navigating this difficult terrain is likely to foster more political stalemate than innovative compromise.

While Washington plays politics, Americans cannot ignore the fact that there are currently an estimated 12,000,000 reasons to resolve this issue. It’s time for politicians to set aside the rhetoric and complete the daunting task of a thorough evaluation that will provide the necessary, albeit frightening, calculations and considerations. Despite voices to the contrary, these 12,000,000 people are here to stay. Unless we get about the business of accepting this reality and moving forward with a coherent and tangible policy, we will soon find ourselves with an additional 12,000,000 reasons to solve this problem.

read more here:


I keep thinking of lines from the poet Robert Frost:

Before I built a wall
I'd send to know
Whom I was walling in
Or walling out.

I don't remember the poem it's from, wish I knew his context there. But those lines constantly echo in my mind as I contemplate these wall-building societies such as Israel and USA.

Although many Blacks may be deeply concerned about illegal immigration what they fear more is the tone and spirit that the rightwing conservatives are spewing about Latinos. They hear the fear and anxiety and it reminds them of the old south.
I also imagine the Black Electorate will choose the more liberal approach because mainly there’s something unsettling about Nascar dads all of sudden discussing race relations.

If the minimum wage went up $9.50 business would do a 180 on this issue.
Latinos = Slave Labor

The Frost poem is "Mending Wall"

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

-- Robert Frost.

Immigration is not a problem until we consider giving people some benefit or a chance for a benefit. I must ask this question as I have used several times in my professional writings..Congress passed and President Clinton signed IIRIRA on September 30, 1996. A lot of the draconian immigrtation provisions we are suffering under were signed into law by President Clinton. And don't make a knee jerk reaction, President Clintons is probably one of the best President's to rule this country.

However, he was faced with a wedge issue and went along with a Republican controlled congress. I would hope we can avoid the issues of numerous people who seem to cast this as a slave labor=Latinos. If the union portion of the democratic party would expand their ranks to include more immigrants their would be more collective bargaining aggreements and higher wages. The true problem that will face this country in the next 25 years is a labor shortage because the baby boomers are getting old.

In short we need immigrants just as much as they need us.

Overreach. The huge and well-publicized Illegal Immigrant Rights Marches set off a firestorm of controversy in the small towns of Kansas and Missouri. I suspect that a backlash is building in the heartland in these areas.

When I talked to my mother today (shes lives in the heartland) she said that they were discussing the illegal immigrant marches in the hair salon. They were mad about it. Friends and neighbors were discussing it too, she said. Everyone is in an uproar. Why? One, they're here illegally and it's not fair to those who play by the rules and work hard to make a living. Two, why do they think they're so special. We have people in our own country who need help. What about the poor elderly? What about the widows of veterans who are barely making ends meet? It was the same thing for Missouri. Another major sticking point ... the idea that if you oppose or speak out against making illegal immigration legal then you're a racist. That last point really makes people angry.

How does this benefit Republicans? It plays to their base in the Heartland and the South where the bulk of their Congressional seats are. Even Democrats (most likely conservative) are riled up about it in my mother's hometown, she told me. Republicans maintain their control of Congress if they can keep their base. They can make it tougher for Democrats in swing districts or marginal Republican or Democrat districts by drawing a sharp contrast on the immigration issue. And, most importantly, it's an issue that stirs the passions and the ire of the average voter .. thereby pushing the Iraq War, the Katrina debacle, etc into the background.

I think that Democrats are making a mistake if they think that the immigration will help them in the Heartland. Instead, the marches may crystallize a more hardline attitude among average voters in the Heartland towns. To many of them, it appears to be a fairness and a rule of law issue.

On the blogs and on T.V. I've seen several Latinos push the point that if you aren't for making illegal immigrants legal then you're a closet racist. This even makes me angry. And I am sympathetic to their plight. I agree with Frank that this is an explosive issue and if the national debate isn't allowed to run its course without putting artifical constraints on it or a premature end to it, then the issue will simply simmer below the surface.

It's a tough issue. There are so many dimensions to it. There is no easy or quick solution. And it most definitely cannot be resolved until after the 2006 elections are over. Mimikatz has some good suggestions for a possible solution. I agree with you, DemFromCT, that round and round it goes, where it stops, no one knows.

Here on the East Coast, not nary a mention about it from neighbors or friends or colleagues. Iraq and NSA spying and the further misadventures of Bushco are the topics here.

Thanks for a great diary on this very important but divisive issue!

P.S. - I suspect that the issue cuts quite differently based on geographic location, large city/small town or rural areas, and across economic strata.

P.S.S. - There were several posts about how this issue cuts among African Americans. Among my African friends (well-educated professionals) here, they're in favor of sending the "illegals" back ... all of them. And it was interesting that on the gay marriage issue, they were more conservative in their outlook.

Polling Dilemma

Here's an interesting and possible polling dilemma. If the average voter suspects that it is not "politically correct" to be against making illegal immigrants legal then what they say to pollsters and in focus groups will be quite different than what they say when talking among their friends and neighbors. So, depending on how the issue plays out, there may emerge a significant but "silent" minority who oppose any policy that gives legal status to illegal immigrants. And this group would be distinct from any "nativist" groups.

Hear! Hear! Mimikatz and Daniel.

There was a higher percentage of foreign-born Americans in 1910 than there are now. Every new group that has arrived, since the Irish started coming in large numbers in the 1820s, has met with anger and resistance (and discriminatory laws) by those already here. "They work for less," "They're different," "They don't speak English" "They will change the America we know and love" is always the cry. (Well, the Irish spoke English, sort of.)

Let me repeat myself for the umpteenth time. Whatever immigration reform occurs, it should pay attention to the fact that human migration is a symptom, not a cause. Globalization, which I believe is inevitable, entails economic, political, social and environmental aspects, and migrating people is one of them. The job of progressives ought to be to make the transition - which will probably last 50 years - less difficult, to do what we can so that it isn't a "race for the bottom," to push for a sustainable economics within a sustainable environment, to bolster the safety and health of laborers (whether they work in agriculture, industrial jobs or the knowledge field).

I'd be the last to deny that this issue touches home for a lot of people in the heartland, Jon. And policy reform must recognize the concerns people have in that regard. But many of us with Indian blood wonder a little about this latest round of concern with slamming the door shut because of dislocations migration is causing. Isolating America by making it the world's largest gated community won't benefit any of us in the long run.

What a great post, Meteor Blades! You are right on target when you say that human migration is a symptom and not a cause. Globalization does play a prominent role in it. And the migration will more than likely increase not slow down as globalization continues to spread. One possible future scenario is the emigration of U.S. scientists and technologists to other countries that have more favorable and hospitable science and technology outlooks. At the same time that the U.S. is experiencing low-wage immigration, we could start to see high-wage emigration as a direct result of current globalization.

I had hoped that immigration would not become the wedge issue for this election. It deserves a serious and informed debate. It will be with us for a long time as you mention. Politically expedient solutions will do nothing more than put a lid on the pot while the pot continues to simmer.

The chickens are coming home to roost on NAFTA. It was a sop to the corporations that ignored the worker. If NAFTA had been designed with the worker in mind also then we more than likely wouldn't see this flood of economic refugees.

The current globalization trend feeds off of a host of flawed and potentially ruinous policies designed with the corporation in mind, just like NAFTA. The consequences for it will come back to bite us too. I read an interesting Canadian study about the Chinese worker. If they can get as little as a nickel an hour increase in wages they will change jobs because the nickel increase is large relative to their low base rate of 25 cents an hour. While low wages like these sound like a godsend to corporations, low and behold, the companies are finding that large turnover of low-wage workers has serious consequences for corporate profitability. The companies are stuck dealing with increasing costs at the same time that the quality of their products are being sacrificed. So, designing the world economic system for the corporations may not be the boom all those CEOs thought it would be.

As the technology and scientific cores are hollowed out here, just like the manufacturing base was, all those politicans may be left wanting for corporate campaign donations. The workers? Perhaps they'll take a lesson from the Native Americans and migrate to greener pastures.

What's needed now are sound policies to deal with globalization and its consequences. As you astutely pointed out, MB, migration is one of them. Will the politicians understand? I doubt it.

"They wanted cheap labor. Instead, they got people." who said it, and in what context? Can anyone help?

Firestrom..is false. Because those small Kansas towns to my understanding are dependent upon immigrant labor. As I see some of those small towns in Kansas are more worried about the power discovered by the immigrants coming together. The problem with going to the hair salon in a small Kansas town is you only get the old-timers who remember when...those brown people knew their place. You can read below the power of people that scare small town inhabitants were 40% to 50% is latino..


Thanks to Mimikatz above for the Frost poem. And I'll keep looking to see if anyone comes up with the author/context of DemFromCT's query above.

Americanforliberty that is not true in general for Kansas. There are some small towns, especially in Western Kansas where certain industries have concentrated, where legal and illegal immigrant labor is important to the particular industry. This labor force has been brought in from outside by those companies. It is not an issue of illegal immigrants or legal immigrants asserting power in those communities. It is more a story of how immigrant labor (both legal and illegal) has changed the character of those communities. But that is only true for the small number of communities in which immigrant labor (legal and illegal) is predominant. This is not true of most of Kansas.

The part of Kansas I was speaking of has little to no immigrant (legal or illegal) labor force. And in fact, that is true of the majority of small towns in Kansas. Parts of Western Kansas do have a different dynamic because they have had a rather large immigrant labor force (relative to the size of the native local labor force) for more than a decade. In some of those communities there have long been tensions between the "natives" and the "immigrants". That is not true of the majority of Kansas small towns and rural areas.

I have family and relatives in both areas. My relatives in Western Kansas are very active in Church efforts that benefit the immigrants, both legal and illegal. When you throw around broad generalizations you run the risk of smearing many good people.

I expect it will be ugly, but like California, the country is going to "get used to it."

The broad generalizations started with your post.
Overreach. The huge and well-publicized Illegal Immigrant Rights Marches set off a firestorm of controversy in the small towns of Kansas and Missouri. I suspect that a backlash is building in the heartland in these areas. When I talked to my mother today (shes lives in the heartland) she said that they were discussing the illegal immigrant marches in the hair salon. They were mad about it. Friends and neighbors were discussing it too, she said. Everyone is in an uproar.

Why is everyone in an uproar, because people asserted their rights. Why is there going to be a backlash?

Finally, I at least provided a link to support my theory, you provdided not support. I am very tired of one-way generalizations, if you can't support your theory then don't post it. And agreeing with Metor Blades does gain you any credibility.

Western Kansas cannot survive without immigrant labor, who do you think is working at the feedlots, cow diary..a new booming industry in Kansas, meatpackers, grain elevators, hog farms, and other agriculture pursuits. And to see the effect of immigrants on the Western Kansas economy is just look what happen in Garden City, Kansas when the Monfort plant burnt down. They lost 3,000 jobs and the economic ripple was felt by all in that community.

If the part of Kansas your talking about has little immigrant labor force than doesn't that diminish your own assertions. As those people at the "hair salon" have little or no real life experiences in dealing with immigrants.

Don't criticize others generalizations, if you make generalizations in your own post.

I regards to the student walkouts, I will say that a few of the students did know the issues,but the majority used it as an excuse. Example One-The Irving ISD in Texas tried to create a district wide forum to discuss and inform students of the issues, the bills and how to work within the system. A handful of kids showed up even though there are a large number of Hispanic students, including a number that walked out of classes at the urging of local Hispanic radio stations and MyPlace postings.Example Two- A Carrollton high school had a delegation walk north along Josey Lane to the Carrollton City Hall-they passed it and ended up with some of them, known gang members, being arrested for truancy in the Target parking lot. It turns out that they didn't even know where the city hall was although they walked literally right past it on their hike. Watching the crowds, there were many kids there wearing gang colors and sporting gang tattoos. In the Dallas area we are suffering from some serious gang related problems-and many of those gangs are Hispanic. It's estimated that 20% of the Texas prison population is comprised of illegal immigrants. Much of the hesitation to place a towing policy for cars that didn't have insurance was voiced by representatives from areas in which many illegal immigrants reside. Having been hit by an uninsured driver, I can assure you it's no picnic. If people want to live and work here then they must live and work by the laws of our country. Every country commands their own laws, including Mexico.Why should ANYONE much less someone who has come illegally, feel entitled to rights that my parents skrimped and slaved for?

EllenK:--> so are you upset that only a handful of students showed up a forum that was to show them how to work within a system that isn't working. As I recall a lot of students have jobs after school. And if I am to understand your comment that Hispanic's are responsbile for increased crime and are gang members? As for uninsured drivers I was once hit by a poor white lady who didn't have insurance so I guess that evens things out. Only I wondered why that lady was so poor and couldn't afford insurance..because she ran a stop sign trying to get to her second job.

I am upset that while many students took the opportunity to leave class, they didn't bother to look at the bill proposed, the issues as presented or the ways in which they could affect meaningful change. The forums were held at night and transportation was offered. While I would agree that some students work, not all of the students work at that time. In fact if only a third of the students that walked out had attended the forum, the auditorium would have been filled. This was an attempt by Hispanic students who DID know the issues to create a meaningful way for the students to express their goals. Instead, we ended up with a number of students wandering the streets and frankly since I teach that age group, I will tell you that in nice Spring weather, there doesn't need to be that much of an excuse to leave the classroom. And if a student, God forbid, had been hurt or injured while out of school, the school could have been held legally responsible. Is it really REALLY in the best interest of these students to leave school? And if the attendance at the march was so necessary for political aims, why is it that at the Dallas march, with an estimated 400,000 people, only 10,000 registered to vote? Sorry, but this appears to be an example of the media scrambling a population to action without giving them the facts. And when the facts and an outlet for their views are offered, they don't show. So do they want to know the facts or do they simply want a day off? You tell me.

What fact do you have to support that only 10,000 are registered to vote. Are you upset because you students decided to assert thier political will, instead of going to a contrived forum? I really can't see how you can be upset with 400,000 people asserting will to meet a common goal. I would dare to question whether you are a democrat?

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