And the Bad Ideas Just Keep Coming

I could see a Day Without Illegal Immigrants being useful to show people just how dependent we’ve become on illegal immigrants to do our various dirty jobs. But what will legal immigrants not showing up for work and anybody, legal or no, taking their kids out of school prove?

All I can see this doing is giving ammunition to the idiots who claim that immigrants come to America for the welfare benefits. Legal immigrants should be going to work and pointing out to their native-born coworkers exactly what isn’t being done and how shitty life is sans illegals.

But will the day even work then?

First off, illegals tend not to be too tuned in to the mass media and probably will show up to work anyway, because if they don’t, well, there’s another illegal just waiting to take their place. So anti-immigrant types will just scoff that it’s not even that big a deal.

Second, if there is much of an effect, anti-immigrant types will just point to all the jobs that could be going to Americans if only people weren’t greedy by hiring illegals below a “decent” wage.

My gut suspicion is that public rallies and protests only really matter to those who already agree on an issue. To the extent they have any effect, it’s to get those who can make reasonable, impassioned arguments for one side or another that may actually change minds.

If anything, expect public opinion polls Tuesday to tick back for enforcing immigration law as it stands rather than reforming it to something a little more humane and in line with reality.

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One Response to And the Bad Ideas Just Keep Coming

  1. Nyk says:

    I’d be more interested to hear your alternatives to this sort of mass protest? Perhaps your recommendation would be to take up some form of direct action a la the Wobblies of the early 1900’s?

    It sounds to me that you are not unsympathetic to the issue, but it is not clear to me what alternative strategy you would advocate.

    One value of mass protests like these is to mobilize support from those who already sympathize with the cause but have not got involved. Without such social feedback loops nobody has any real way of gauging how ‘social’ an issue is, as opposed to being an individual complaint. It is often more focused on keeping it’s own constituency engaged than it is about soliciting support from casual bystanders who may have no personal investment in the issue.

    The other value of mass protests is that it puts the issue on the political agenda. Protest from the latino communities over this issue seems to have made an impact on policy-makers in terms of showing that Latinos are an important presence in the US and have a political voice. It has given pause for thought in many circles.

    Typically people who are relatively new to political protest make mistakes with regard to managing public perceptions. However, suggesting that they should stay at home and write letters to their congressmen or other such individualistic approaches is not going to do a great deal.

    So, your ideas?

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