By Joe Guzzardi
March 22, 2017
In the three decades that I’ve been writing about immigration, activists have held dozens of national demonstrations and hundreds of local protests. The theme is always the same: immigrants’ rights must be protected, and in the name of justice, amnesty must be granted. Some of the demonstrations have been impressive like ones in 2006 where millions showed up nationwide, including 500,000 in Los Angeles, to demand amnesty. But Congress rejected amnesty in 2006, and in every subsequent year.
Activists have changed few, if any, minds during these last 30 years, as this week’s United States Conference of Mayors’ “Cities Day of Immigration Action” proved. Coming shortly after the failed “A Day without an Immigrant,” the USCM sponsored a 100-city event which included a “Know Your Rights” workshop that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Immigrant Affairs hosted. Also on hand were Los Angeles Police Department officers, the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the National Immigration Law Center. Univision provided a phone bank. In January, USCM adopted a resolution that demanded Congress pass legislation to give citizenship to the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants, a proposal that would be DOA if it ever gets to Congress.
Garcetti, who also chairs the USCM’s Latino Alliance for Mayors, said that his rally was about families, friends and coworkers standing together to support those who contribute to the economy, and who are the “social, cultural and economic fabric of our cities.” Although these gatherings may be well-intended, activism rallies have no impact on the people they need to convert – the millions of Americans who may be conflicted about immigration, but are clear that they want a system that benefits U.S. citizens, and that’s sensibly regulated.
The USCM events, and similar ones organized during past years, fail because they’re dishonest on their face. They’re not organized on behalf of immigrants, but rather they promote and defend illegal immigration. A legal immigrant doesn’t need a “day of action.” He enters through an authorized port of entry and shows his valid visa. The mayors’ audience is illegal immigrants, a term they specifically avoid using.
The protests represent a mass showing of what most Americans object to about immigration – large groups of aliens complaining that their rights have been denied even though many hold jobs, have sent their children to taxpayer-funded public schools and, in some cases, have accessed other affirmative benefits.
USCM’s timing is curious. While President Obama took a passive role in immigration enforcement, President Trump has promised to enforce the law, and as his top priority to remove criminal aliens. The day before “Cities Day of Immigration Action,” President Trump’s administration vowed again to impose a crackdown on sanctuary cities that include Los Angeles. Citing a new Department of Homeland Security report which found that within a seven-day period sanctuary cities released 206 criminals aliens, some charged with murder, rape, gun violence, wife beating and sex abuse, the Trump administration reaffirmed its enforcement determination.
I get it. Activists have to be active. But suggesting that President Trump might be persuaded on amnesty, and giving false hope to millions is wrong.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at [email protected] and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.