I’ve been watching reports of demonstrations all over the US, from New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho to California. What really caught my eye were the last couple paragraphs of a report tonight:
Voter registration and citizenship education initiatives are set to begin in several states after a “Day Without An Immigrant” campaign planned for May 1, an event that asks immigrants nationwide to stay home from work and school, and refrain from buying U.S. products.
“Marches will only get you so far,” said Armando Navarro, coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights, a network of Hispanic activist groups in Southern California. “There has to be an electoral component to get the Republicans out of the majority.”
I also noticed a headline that Bush is blaming Democrats (and in particular, Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader) for “stalled immigration reform”.
If I saw a wave of indignation sweeping the country, the last thing I’d do is blame the other party for being on the protesters’ side. Could Immigration Reform be the final blow to the Republicans that removes their grip on the House and Senate? Journalists have always talked about Social Security being ‘the third rail’ of politics, meaning that anyone who tried to ‘reform’ it would be removed from power, like someone stepping on the subway power transmission track. Could the sleeping giant of immigration be the new area of vulnerability they hadn’t even seen coming?
Here in Canada, Immigration is also in the news, but it’s a far more positive story; It’s a formal apology and potential reparations for the ‘Head Tax’ that was placed on Chinese immigrants here in the past. Nevertheless, I can’t say I’m sorry to see the Republicans feeling the wrath of the changing American electorate. Maybe the far Right won’t be able to count on the social conservatives within the Latin American community to push through their agenda after all.