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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by tucsonmike on 2 May 2006 6:19am
Today was supposed to be a sort of nationwide sickout and protest of immigrants staying home from work. On the Mexican side of the border, people were boycotting businesses. Have yet to see anything about the sort of effect it will have.
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by pandab on 3 May 2006 3:00am
I think the impact depended greatly on the area of the country. Here in SW Virginia, we had minimal impact. Several people in my office didn't even know a boycott was occurring, which is sort of disturbing in itself.

I support anyone's right to peacefully demonstrate for a cause in which they believe, even if I personally disagree with it. Still, I question the effectiveness of boycotting US businesses in Mexico, especially when you consider how many Mexicans these businesses employ. It seems a bit counter-productive to me.

I understand the protesters position and agree that a nationwide "roundup" is not feasible, but I'm still disturbed by the "you owe us" attitude I hear from some of those quoted in the media. Sorry, but we don't "owe" citizenship to anyone not willing to follow the correct process, flawed though it might be.

Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by tucsonmike on 3 May 2006 4:53am
Pandab, there was an article in this weeks Economist about Virginia, (mostly about George Allen and Mark Warner possibly being 2008 candidates). The article said more and more (mostly in Northern Virginia) the divides are language not race.

To answer your question on boycotting businesses in Mexico. Mexican culture has an emotional streak. So, people will take the hit for la causa. For example, Alan Riding explains in Distant Neighbors, the standard Mexican will save for a fiesta, or his daughters quincenara, but not for a bank. The ones who come here are doing it out of desparation. The idea of leaving your family behind in your native pueblo is scary.
Some right wingers here think there is a secret department in the Mexican government and all this is part of the Reconquista. In other words, they will flood the Southwest and I will wake up one morning to find the border has shifted North of me.
In other words, this is an extremely complicated and messy issue. It sounds like Bismarck describing the Balkans in the late 19th Century. He said only two people understood the Balkans. One had died, the other was in a mental hospital.

I've met people from Sierra Vista (a military town between here and the border), who hate and fear Mexicans so deeply, it is scary. They see it as it is our land and we will kill every Mexican if we have to so we can keep the peace and the land.

One solution is investing more in Mexico so their economy will improve. They aren't going to come as economic immigrants if they do not have to.

Bluntly, I think the U.S. Government pays lip service to the border. They don't REALLY want the problem solved. Enough is done to shut the populace up. Things are also up in the air, because Mexico's Presidential election is this year.

Too many people in the U.S. benefit from the way the border is now. You know the old saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by peripatetically on 4 May 2006 3:49pm
There was a protest and boycott here at a city park, but there was no impact to report.
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by tucsonmike on 4 May 2006 6:25pm
We had someone join our Toastmasters club yesterday who got an immigration question for Table Topics. He said we should just let them in to what the market will bear.

Wont endear him to the Minutemen. Economics and the market of course are natural drivers. There are things that can be done, but they are pretty drastic. Also on this issue, one persons problem is opportunity for another. Therefore, simple slogans and solutions wont solve it.
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by sighthound on 4 May 2006 11:04pm
My father, at age 12, was an immigrant to the US but, being from Canada, his family just showed up at the border and they were welcomed in. If their nationality, skin color or language had been different, it definitely would not have been so easy.

This leaves me very conflicted on this topic as there is so much racism mixed in with all the legal arguments on this issue. There are enormous numbers of illegal immigrants from Ireland in the US but no one targets them because we find them charming and they are white and they all speak English. The "anti-illegals" hoopla is focused on "Mexicans" (which means anyone who speaks Spanish.)

I was born in Los Angeles where the majority of the place names are Spanish, reflecting our history and our heritage. All my life, I have known "illegals" because they came to L.A. which is also a part of their history and heritage.

"Borders", "citizenship", "illegal aliens", etc., etc. are intellectual constructs that do not reflect actual reality but are imposed realities by the people who have power. Throughout history, the people who have had the power to define the terms codified into legal realities are most often bullies who are out to only protect their own. This is totally opposite to the American creed that "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal..." but, then, no one ever has accused Americans of being consistent.

This being said, I support the people who want to enact laws to mandate English as the official language of the United States. I have spent a week in countries where I have learned much more of the native language than many Spanish-speaking people have done after living decades in California. To participate in a society, you must speak its language. OK, we've got these artificially imposed borders but, if you are in the U.S., you should speak English. We should look to Canada where mandating bi-lingualism has only served to distant the English and French speaking communities even further.
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by pandab on 5 May 2006 4:30am
Tucsonmike - I don't know which is worse, illegal immigration or the Minutemen. I rather suspect the Minutemen. Just what we need ... People swaggering along the border with weapons. I know they say they are only armed for self-protection, but when weapons are present, they have a nasty habit of getting used inappropriately. I understand the Minutemen's frustration, but I still think such things are best left in the hands of professionals.

I like your Bismarck analogy <G>.

I've also heard the Reconquista theory, and while I'm not knowledgable enough to say if it is true or not, it sounds like hogwash to me. Seems like something from someone staying up way too late on way too many nights surfing way too many conspiracy theory web sites <G>.

Sighthound - I agree with your agreement ... if that makes sense. What language a family chooses to speak in their own home is their choice, but I firmly believe immigrants should learn English. I don't know the details of such things, but I believe most areas offer English classes in one form or another, yes?

Please understand ... I am NOT opposed to immigration. I don't care what country you are from or your color, religion, gender and various preferences. If you want to be American, pursue citizenship in the proper way and are willing to share in the national "experience" (taxes, apple pie, Fourth of July, voting and so on), I welcome you. Along the same lines--and though it pains me to agree with Bush--I support some form of guest-worker program for those who don't wish to stay. I just object to illegal immigration.

I don't know what the answer is, but I haven't heard anything from any side that makes sense so far.

Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by tucsonmike on 6 May 2006 3:29am
Pandab, the Border Patrol will agree with you completely. I would support the Minutemen as an example of citizen involvement if I didn't suspect it is a haven for bigots who just want a chance to act out their bigotry. I would take a post along the border with them to assist if I thought I could trust it. The most they should be doing is keeping in contact with Border Patrol. They should be acting as a border neighborhood watch, not vigilantes.

We have treated immigrants in various ways on and off. The Irish were made unwelcome in the Northeast in the 1840's and 1850's. From 1924-1965, immigration was all but cut off.

Immigrants add to our nation. Sight you are right about Canada. Quebec will probably vote for independence sooner or later. We in the United States are a nation held together by a set of ideas. (Heaven help us, if that ever stops).
English also needs to be the official language of discourse. If you speak another language at home, great. I would expect a Mexican to be insulted if I insisted in Mexico he speak English instead of Spanish. Again a case of "when in Rome."
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by peripatetically on 6 May 2006 1:27pm
Actually, this thread might more accurately be entitled "ILLEGAL Immigrants Staying Home from Work".

I must add that so as not to offend immigrnats who are in ANY country legally.
Re: Immigrants Staying Home from Work. by tucsonmike on 7 May 2006 5:06am
There was an article in todays Arizona Star about a similar protest in Argentina. Bolivian, Paraguayan, and Peruvian immigrants sneak into Argentina and Brazil. So of course this is worldwide.

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