And as long as I’m feeling mildly political…

How did “No Immigrants” day work out for all of you?

Not the news reports. You PERSONALLY.

My experience was as follows:

Thursday evening my legal immigrant former neighbor Illyana joked about getting to stay home from work. Then she clarified, saying in essence that she would be working, and she was angry at illegal immigrants who wanted a free ride into this country. Apparently Illyana worked hard for legitimate citizen status.

This morning I drove to the Keep, and saw people who were apparently immigrants (could be 5th-generation Americans, could be last week’s fence-jumpers, I didn’t ask) doing landscaping. I saw more landscapers, again apparently immigrants, in downtown Provo.

I saw no banners, no signs, no marching… nothing. Business at Dragon’s Keep was hopping, especially for a Monday, and there were apparent immigrants (oh how politically correct I am — yeesh!) among the shoppers. Shaggy’s comment (tongue-in-cheek) was along the lines of “If this is what happens, they should do this EVERY Monday.”

In summary, if it hadn’t been for the news, I wouldn’t have noticed a thing.

My personal opinion on immigration is that we have unenforceable (or at least unenforced) laws in place, and that such laws are always a bad thing. If you can’t enforce it, don’t pass it. If you pass it, plan to enforce it.

I have no fear whatsoever of this country being “taken over” by immigrants from south of the border, or from anywhere else. I believe very firmly that America’s strengths have grown out of it being a place where those seeking refuge from their broken homes can come and build a new one. I don’t think the English language is sacred, and I’m not afraid to learn at least a little Spanish, Portuguese, or even Chinese if that’s what it takes to make my nation a better place. This country has already been taken over by immigrants — my great-to-the-nth grandfather came over on the Mayflower. It’s an ongoing process.

I get a little uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by people who are conversing in a language I don’t understand, and I can see how some folks get upset and say that they feel like they are foreigners in their own country. But they’ll have to get over it, because there will ALWAYS be someplace you can travel in this nation where you’ll feel out of place. We’re too big to be homogenous. Me, I’m not upset about it. Just uncomfortable, because I like knowing what’s being said around me. I felt the same way when my signing girlfriend carried on conversations in ASL, and I KNEW her.

Do I have national security concerns? A few. Do I have a plan for solving them with regards to immigration? No. But I’m pretty sure that unenforced laws are the wrong answer.

37 thoughts on “And as long as I’m feeling mildly political…”

  1. There were HUGE rallies in my neck of the woods. I live in Little Havana in Miami, Fl. Heck, one of the rallies was at a park a few blocks from my home. Lots of car honking and flag waving. http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI19575/

    But its odd ya know, the local english news stations didn’t mention any of the rallies or upcoming protests until the day of. I hadn’t heard about it before until a friend told me about it the day before.

    As for immigration itself, well, I don’t think you can stop people from trying to find a better live for themselves or their families. They’re gonna try no matter what laws are in place.

    1. This reminds me of the days before the Wall came down. It was illegal to leave East Germany, but lots of people tried in order to make better lives for themselves.

      The emigration laws back then had teeth. And the teeth were often attached to dogs.

      An unjust-yet-well-enforced law is still an unjust law. Nobody seems to argue that the East German illegal emigrants of the 1980s were criminals, probably because most of us agree that the laws they were breaking needed to be broken.

  2. What about north of the border? See, I *am* an illegal immigrant, according to some.

    < >

    In the end, the sum total of my being affected by the “No Immigrants” day was my employers making numerous jokes as to why I was in today. I live in a factory town, where the factories are shutting down on a regular basis, as their owners move production to greener pastures. The few that are still open are mostly staffed by immigrants. According to the manager of one of the factories, the employees were told that those who weren’t in on May 1st could drop by to pick up their pink slip on May 2nd. The time to fill the new vacancies would likely be measured in hours. Not surprisingly, nothing much happened.

    I wonder what (if anything) happened in places where the job market isn’t in such a terrible state though.

  3. I live in Texas

    I noticed some businesses being closed for the day, including my nearby McDonalds (which wasn’t closed, but only the drivethrough was open, and a sign was on the door saying they were partially closed because of “the event”).

  4. There was apparently a huge demonstration here in Denver – but in my own life, there wasn’t any disruption from the ‘Day without immegrants’ other than one Quiznos shop being closed in my building. To my surprise, the mexican restuarant was open and doing business today.

  5. huh.

    I’ve actually heard nothing at all about this. Of course, I’m here at college, 45 minutes from the nearest city, I don’t watch the news or read the news or read political blogs, there are virtually no illegal immigrants in this particular neck of the woods (though the city that I think of as my hometown (Buffalo) is a apparently a huge place for Mexicans trying to get into Canada). Though there are a lot of Asians going to college here, I’d assume they’re mostly legal.
    Though that is a point that sometimes annoys me. The accents, I mean. I am extremely bad at comprehending accents. Which is compounded because I have a very thick Boston accent myself, and that’s only one state away. One of my coworkers is a girl who spent the first eight years of her life in Russia, speaking only Russian, who only started to learn English ten or so years ago, and she has almost no accent at all, just the barest trace that impedes comprehension not a bit but does lend a pleasing quality to her voice. On the other hand, I work with people who are second-generation Americans, that is, born and raised in America by naturalized Americans, who have such rediculously thick accents that I can’t understand a thing they say.
    Yes, the tech support team at this college library includes a bunch of incomprehensible Asians, an incomprehensible Bostonian, and a very comprehensible Russian.

    I guess what I was originally trying to say that this holiday type thingy affected me not a whit. It affected me so little that I didn’t even know about it. But then I got kind of sidetracked into a rant about how dem gibberin’ foreigners should lern ter speak dadgum inglish, by golly!
    No, I have no idea why I degenerated into gibbering. Possibly I was attempting to illustrate the fact that I don’t really care about it nearly as much as I’m pretending to. Or possibly I’ve just been thinking about the old west a lot today, being as I’m almost at the end of the Age of Empires III campaign and today in anthropology we watched a film about some forensic anthropologists trying to search for the remains of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

    It’s a lot quieter here at the library than I expected. I would hypothesize a connection to the topic at hand, but I think it probably has much more to do with today having been the last day of classes.

    I probably just wasted a whole lot of somebody’s time with this, didn’t I?

  6. My day was similar, however once someone asked me about it in passing and we had a good laugh, but really without the news saying it was today I would never have known…

  7. There were a lot of people downtown having their ‘immigrants day’. Interestingly enough, they’d actually booked a section of downtown, and there were beer trucks there last night. (unloading for morning? I don’t know)

    My thought was “What a great time to get a warrant to check ID’s, and have INS just wander through the crowd randomly.”

    Note – 1) Warrant. 2) No roundups. That’d smack of entrapment.

    Otherwise, it wouldn’t be much different than going to pallet manufacturing companies (which they did here in houston and around the country last week) and checking everyone there – at the same time, busting the management for employing illegals.

    BW

  8. I live in New Hampshire. In the 2000 census, only 4.4% reported being born in a different country. I didn’t even notice it until the people at Boing Boing posted about it.

  9. Well, my day pretty much went the same as yours, Howard. But we spent most of it in the exact same place. 🙂

    My neighbors (who are probably 90% immigrants of varrying legal states) weren’t doing anything at all different that what they usually do. The paint truck was gone when we left, off doing painting i’m assuming, and was back when we came home. Every place I went was business as usual.

  10. I live in central California. I was at the Junior High this morning, and when I left around 10:30, this huge line of protesters was walking by. Several schools in the area were shut down as well.

  11. I live in southern California. The only thing out of the ordinary I saw today was a very small sympathy march put on by the UCI communist student group.

  12. Glad to see that I’m not the only one who thinks the solution to illegal immigration is legal immigration.

    I work with a lot of legal immigrants at work, and from what I can tell, immigrating into this country legally is a royal pain in the ass, and that’s true for people who have high paying jobs waiting for them when they get here. Many of them were working for my company in their home country while waiting years for the INS to let them in.

    Taking a look at the latest Visa Bulletin, it’s pretty amazing how long we make some people wait…

    http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_2868.html

    If you’re a US citizen, and your unmarried adult son or daughter is a citizen of Mexico, her or she would need a petition for a visa to have been filed in 1991 in order to be granted immigration status this month.

    If you’re an adult US citizen, and your brother or sister is a citizen of the Phillipines, he or shee would need a petition filed in 1983.

    I can’t imagine waiting 23 years for anything…

    For workers (that qualify for immigration), it’s not that bad, the longest wait is only 5 and a half years. But still, those people wanted to get in on the dot com bubble… and now are just in time to get in on the web 2.0 bubble.

    1. My husband’s a legal immigrant, and getting him his green card took nearly a year and cost over $1000, not to mention the time and stress involved in sorting through paperwork, driving back and forth to the nearest INS office, and waiting in lines. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people whose spouse is not a citizen.

      When we moved to Germany, do you know what it took to get me the local equivalent of a green card? Twenty minutes and 30 Euros.

      1. I’m in the process of applying right now, and a spousal green card application will cost us $4500 ($3000 for application fees alone, the rest is lawyer fees) and yep, still a year or thereabouts. Assuming this is the same class of green card application your husband got, how long ago was it $1000?

        1. Four years ago. It may well have been close to $3000. I stopped counting after we hit four digits. We didn’t hire a lawyer, although we consulted one.

  13. Events in Provo

    Well Howard, I was in Provo today, and I did see some signs, etc. There were between 10-15 people on the southwest corner of Center St and 5th West, holding up signs that I couldn’t read as I went past, as well as a couple of flags, both USA and Mexico.

    Other than that, not a thing. I did some shopping, and there were “apparent immigrants” working at Walmart, etc.

    Personally, I think legal immigration should be much easier. Basically, anyone who doesn’t have a criminal background should be able to come on in, after paying a fee sufficiently large to cover the cost of a comprehensive background check, and other paperwork costs. Photo them, print them, and send them on over.

    If we are worried about all of these immigrants on welfare, we can add a provision that anyone who doesn’t get a job for at least minimum wage within 6 months gets shipped back home, and can try again later. The main thing is to have them legal and trackable.

    1. Re: Events in Provo

      One other question. Was the timing on the May 1st comic coincidental? The “Unioc Independence Thing?”

  14. My dad made it out of Seattle before the major protests hit.
    My work was a little slower..but that’s also because it was Monday. /shrugs I avoided the topic as my opinions are VERY uhm…different yet not?
    Other than that…no effect on me.
    I feel for the kids who lost schooling though.

  15. One restaurant near my office was closed for the day. And the server at the place where I grabbed lunch (a Chili’s) noted that they had pulled out a “reduced” menu because of staffing issues for the day.

    In my actual office, we have three latinos working (not sure of the specific nationality for any of them) — our web designer, our receptionist, and our evening custodian — and I know the latter two showed (I didn’t go through the web designer’s department all day, so I suppose he could have taken the day off, but he’s the one I’d least expect to do so).

  16. My son’s class had about twice as many kids out as it normally does. The teacher didn’t have much of a clue on it, but otherwise nothing. . .

    I don’t go too many places on Monday. . .No biggie here.

  17. Not much when on in this area of Florida (Gainesville) but I know there were pretty big protests in Ocala (a lot of farms in that area)

    I’m really torn about these two issues..

    On the one hand, doing the guest worker thing has worked very poorly in Europe. They have minimal rights, and usually no way to protest any sort of labor abuses without being fired. Which has led to some of the car burning you have seen in France (before the college kids got into it). It also effectively creates a slave working class…

    Then again, I wouldn’t have an uncle and a cousin in this country because of these laws. An aunt of mine had to adopt him so he could live in the US as it would have taken him over 10 years to get a green card. Instead, he was adopted, went to US schools and has done well with a web design business.

    I do agree with you Howard, they really need to drop their current laws and rewrite them or enforce whats out there first. I really doubt a giant wall will prevent anyone from crossing.

    I’m thinking we get a three part solution and fix two problems at once..

    The first is we set up national guard units along the borders and turn back immigrants as they come. The border patrol claims to have to confront not just illegals but occasinoally very well armed drug dealers. Well lets sic the guard on them. What this will do is also provide combat training for a place in Iraq. Think about it, we can lock down our border, we can then send experienced units to Iraq rather then starting them out green.

    After we lock the border, we set up an amnesty program. Like it or not, we can’t force out 12+ million people. We get everyone registered and licensed and if they work for x number of years they can then apply for citizenship. In the mean time we assure that they are getting paid wages, and are paying into the social security and medicare system.

    Considering how much these systems are hurting for cash, the sudden influx of social security wages could help push back it’s inevitable collapse (or we get a Congress and Presidency that does something.. Not a Bush bash just lamenting on the house of reps only working 97 days this year).

    Last, we put into place a comprehensive system that quickly speeds along new immigrants. We go from 5.5 year waits to 1-3 years (depending on the country) for anyone who has family in the US. For those seeking to move to the US we either find sponsors for them (people they used to know in the area) to vouch for them and be partially responsible for their actions, or they go through a longer approval process to see if they have any terrorist intentions.

  18. Attendance in my classes was poor, but while my school has a high immigrant population, I expect it was simply because it was the last day of classes. It prompted me to ask my mom again how our family came into the US. I’ve had conflicting stories from both her and my grandmother, and it’s possible that they were illegal immigrants, though they were naturalized since and therefore are now legal, one way or the other.

  19. If you can’t enforce it, don’t pass it. If you pass it, plan to enforce it.

    I’m 100% in agreement with this, but unfortunately, many laws are passed without the least thought to practicality or enforceability, or even whether they’d even be necessary if existing laws on the subject were enforced.  This is because our career politicians have learned from straight-ticket voters and fawning media that it’s not necessary to actually do the hard work of solving a problem, so long as you are Publicly Seen To Do Something (even if it’s completely the wrong thing).  This approach has the added bonus that the unsolved problem is still there to use as a campaign issue next re-election season, and very few people will actually stand up in public and point out that the reason the problem’s still there is because your “solution” was about as much use as the proverbial tits on a boar.  Most of them will simply accept without question the argument that if some X didn’t work, or even made the problem worse, then more X will work better.

    The problem, unfortunately, will persist until not just Congress, but the main mass of voters internalize the fact that you can’t fix anything simply by throwing half-baked laws at a problem and hoping one of them will sooner or later stick.

  20. As a stay at home mom, I didn’t see a whole lot – but it was plenty peaceful over at the park all afternoon.

    My dad and my grandpa are both vehemently anti illegal immigrant – so I get lots of email forwards. Bleh.

    PS: did you get your doodle? Sorry it wasn’t inked – my toddler decided blowing bubbles was more important.

  21. Whereas here in San Jose, streets were closed, mass transit was all screwed up because it couldn’t get through downtown, and there was a doubling in the absentee rate in the local schools (16% instead of 8%). As an odd side effect though, traffic was really light so it made my drive home from the train station a breeze!

  22. I didn’t notice anything, but you tend not to notice stuff when you are staring at computer screens all day.

    An aside, there are about 38,000 troups in the U.S. military that are non-citizens. I wonder if they took the day off.

  23. santa cruz effects

    the only direct effect it had on me was having to take a rather circuitous route to get my daughter to her dance class, as various major streets were blocked off so a student contingent could march down from the University of California to the main demonstration/rally site in San Lorenzo Park (which is pretty much in downtown SC.

    that and there was a lot of police activity in the downtown area after the rally broke up. i heard that there were a few fights as people were leaving the park area, though there’s no mention of such in the morning paper. Estimated attendance at the rally was 3,000 people. That’s pretty small for a Santa Cruz protest event.

    The only restaurant I saw closed was the local vegetarian hippie commune co-op restaurant, which will close at the drop of a hat anyway.

  24. In the middle of Upstate NY, the only froo-fer-all that I heard of was via NPR & other national-level press. Most of the local news didn’t even touch the issue.

    Then again, it’s not harvest season at the farms – the main time you’re likely to find “apparent immigrants” out here away from the cities. The ‘big towns’ around here have the various ethnic neighborhoods, but even there, little was said publically that I’m aware of. (I spend long hours communing with monitors in rooms with no windows, however…)

    FWIW – Most of the service industry in this immediate area involves kids. Black, white, hispanic, asian, doesn’t matter – just kids. Probably the second largest is single parents with two or three jobs, and the third largest is the elderly. That ranking is NOT scientific, just going on what I recall seeing over time.

    -JB

  25. No big deal for me here in Salt Lake, except, I noticed that the news was trying to be all dramatic about it all and asked the head person of demonstrations in Liberty Park what their message was and that person just went on and on about how many people there were and how many more would show up.
    They seemed to show the counter-protesters (anti-illegal immigration) as a group of red neck minute men (they seemed to like showing all the men wearing cowboy hats and sunglasses the most). Although, when they asked an elderly gentleman for a statement he was very eloquent and simply stated that it was the ILLEGAL immigration that they were prostesting.
    When dropping off my son at school one of his hispanic classmates told him that she and another girl were the only Mexicans here today! And the school grounds seemed REALLY empty. My son only had 13 out of 25 classmates attending. And yet on the news, after trying to make it all sound dramatic, they starting talking about how schools weren’t affected very much, except the “couple” of schools with high migrant/hispanic population ( a couple of high schools and one elementary school was mentioned, not ours), oh and only a couple of restaurants closed.
    Anyway, the day was weird only because the news was trying to make it all sound like a big dramatic deal while at the same time trying to sound assuring that nothing really happened. It took a lot of very concentrated listening to figure out what yesterday WAS all about from the news.
    I couldn’t understand why they kept concentrating on a 7th grader who talked about “Our dignity and our freedom” when she was a legal American.
    Was it all about immigration laws? Then, why weren’t people waiting for family members to legally be allowed in from other countries protesting too?

  26. What? No Immigrants Day? Why didn’t anyone tell me, I could have gotten off work. My great-great-(…)-great-great grandparents were immigrants, I could have gotten the day off!

    Seriously, I didn’t notice a darn thing here, except the lines at both banks I went to deposit my checks were a little longer than normal. No disruption at Taco Bell, no disruption at Little Caesars, no problem at all.

  27. How did it affect me? There was less traffic. If this is what happens when illegal immigrants go on “strike”, I wish they’d do it permanently.

    Doc

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