A Day Without Immigrants

Today, illegal aliens are supposed to exit the economy for 24 hours to demonstrate what life would be like without them.

AP:

Thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country plan a show of force Monday to illustrate how much immigrants matter in the U.S. economy. Some will skip work, others will protest at lunch breaks, school walkouts or at rallies after work. There are planned church services, candlelight vigils, picnics and human chains.

The obvious question is Why doesn’t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them? It’s their job and it’s certainly easier than trying to catch them as they slink across a gigantic border in the middle of the night.

If the answer is that we don’t have the national stomach to do that, then the protestors’ message is already self-evident but unacknowledged. Indeed, if they manage to do this in a dignified manner–i.e., marching quietly and not under inflammatory banners and foreign flags–this strikes me as the perfect way to get their point across. Rather than “This land is rightfully ours, anyway” the message should be “You want us here as much as we want to be here.”

But, as a page 1 story in WaPo by Krissah Williams and Karin Brulliard reveals, there is a “rift” in the activist community over the strategic vision.

Some local activists predicted that thousands of Washington area immigrants would participate in a national economic boycott today, but immigrant groups who have spoken out against the boycott said they fear that the immigration reform movement is being commandeered to promote political causes beyond immigration.

The public tug of war, which continued in the Washington area yesterday on Spanish-language radio, could result in more limited participation in the region than is expected in Dallas and Los Angeles, where the organizers of last month’s massive protests have been more unified in support of today’s boycott, which asks immigrants to refrain from buying goods and to stay home from work and school.

Monica Davey makes a similar point in the NYT:

Would large numbers of immigrants stay away from their jobs, from schools and from spending money for what some organizers are calling the Great American Boycott of 2006? Or would more simply attend demonstrations, prayer services and voter registration drives on International Workers Day, as other leaders, who do not support a boycott, have urged? “A walkout really isn’t the constructive way — it’s the opposite of what should be happening,” said Alberto Lopez, a spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment, the casino company, where prominent banners and petitions calling for immigration reform (to be delivered, ultimately, to members of Congress) have been placed in employee dining halls. But, in the end, no one was certain what workers would choose to do.

Across the country, immigration advocates themselves have been divided over the notion of a sweeping boycott as a method of protest. Supporters say it would reveal the size of the country’s dependence on immigrant workers and remind Congress of the power behind their voices at a crucial time when leaders in Washington are arguing over whether to allow millions of illegal immigrants to become legal. Opponents, though, say a walkout might erode support for the central goals, and could cause immigrants to be disciplined at their jobs and at school.

We’ll see soon enough. My guess is that it will not so much be the act of walking out but the manner that will decide.

Update (1400): A Day Without Immigrants is apparently much like any other day, at least according to a preliminary assessment by the Washington Post.

Washington area immigrants do not appear to be heeding the call for a national economic boycott in overwhelming numbers this morning, although some businesses have closed because employees are absent and at least one day-laborer center reported fewer would-be workers showing up than normal.

Leaders of local immigrant groups said the real impact of the boycott would not be fully known until this afternoon or this evening. But anecdotal accounts — and earlier interviews with advocates who were divided over whether immigrants should participate in the boycott — suggested that while some were staying home from work, their action was not widespread.

The LA Times report on this is mostly prospective, given the time difference.
The NYT story has no useful numbers, either. We shall see how the boycott goes.

Update (1451): Rep. Jack Kingston has written a letter to Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary of DHS for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should pursue the multiple reports in the news media today regarding companies which have been forced to halt operations because large numbers of their employees appear to be in the United States illegally and are participating in the protest rallies.

ICE has an obligation to use this public information to enforce immigration laws. We respectfully request that you look into this matter and report back to us on your findings.

Again, under current law, a fair point.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. The boycott, however, has not been universally well received even by supporters of immigrants’ rights. The Post is reporting that rifts within the movement could diminish the boycott’s strength, andsmallerturnouts than expected — especially in smaller cities — are predicted by some. We are also seeing a failure to broaden the boycott to non-Latinos; Chinatown workers in New York, for example, are largely ignoring

  2. messages underscores the need for a multi-tiered approach to tackling the plague of unsolicited email, security experts said this week. machines and then passed through servers at the zombie machines’ ISPs (Internet make money on the internet -A Day Without Immigrants Outside Beltway – Today, illegal aliens are supposed to exit the economy for 24 hours to demonstrate what life would be like without them. Thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country plan a show of force Monday to illustrate how

  3. Beltway – Phillip Weiss offers a scathing attack of Persian Puzzle author Kenneth Pollack over at HuffPo. [I] was shocked on flipping to page 429, the Author s Note at the end of the book, to read that Pollack has never been to Iran and doesn t speakA Day Without Immigrants Outside Beltway – Today, illegal aliens are supposed to exit the economy for 24 hours to demonstrate what life would be like without them. Thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country plan a show of force Monday to illustrate how

  4. we, as a nation, are not allowed to control our borders. To do so is “racist.” However, Mexico will readily beat, rape, and otherwise violate, anyone who tests their southern border (all the while lecturing us on the evils of enforcing our borders).”Outside the Beltway : “The obvious question is Why doesn’t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them?” California Conservative has a round-up/critique of MSM coverage while Church and State uses google to demonstrate an anti-american flavor of the

  5. :”If we could go back in time and just let the Mexicans have what they now call Aztlan, it would be no better off than the rest of Mexico and we would still have millions of illegals coming accross our southern Nebraska border.” –James Joyner:The obvious question is Why doesn’t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them? It’s their job and it’s certainly easier than trying to catch them as they slink across a gigantic border in the middle of the night.

  6. Say Anything» 85% Of North Dakotans Oppose The Current Estate Tax Dean’s World» More Good Bloggage BuzzMachine» We are the world INDC Journal» Quick Links Outside the Beltway»A Day Without Immigrants ScrappleFace» Senators Quell Gas Price Anger with Tote Bag Offer QandO» Why oil prices are high, and will stay there Homeland Stupidity» Bad cop, no donut Photomatt» Last Meals Cox Forkum»

  7. anon says:

    No, we don’t want them here. Just because the politicians are pandering wooses doesn’t mean the electorate is.

  8. James Joyner says:

    We seem to be employing them in droves. Someone wants them.

    This is a simple economic problem: The supply of illegal immigrants will dry up if there’s no demand.

  9. Daily Summary…

    NEWS: – Bush Warns of More Tough Fighting in Iraq – Rice: Iran ‘Playing Games’ in Dispute Over Nukes – Immigration Rights Advocates Plan Boycott – Immigration Bill Lobbying Focuses on House Leaders – Bush Opposes Singing Anthem in Spanish……

  10. Herb says:

    It strikes me that each and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate have taken an “Oath” to uphold the Laws of the land.

    Their failure to comply with their “Oath” am mounts to Malfeasance of office whereby they should be removed.

  11. […] Iowa Voice — Immigration In Iowa — Immigrant Crime In Ottumwa, Iowa Captain’s Quarters — How Big Will The Walkout Get? Pirate’s Cove — Immigrant National Day of Protest Euphoricreality.net — Guard The Borders Blogburst — Boycott The Gringo — Counter The Boycott Wizbang — Protesting our right to break your laws, Part I The Glittering Eye — What will be the outcome of ‘A Day Without Immigrants’? Political Satire Fake News – The Nose on Your Face — Chihuahuas Hold Own “Uno De Mayo” Protest Hot Air — Vent — May Day: El Gran Boicot The Think — Illegal Immigrant Rally Day?… Slapstick Politics — May Day In Denver My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy — Fiesta del Ningún Trabajo! Michelle Malkin — A DAY TO HATE THE YANQUIS Bleeding Right — A day without illegals? Why not make it a week? Outside The Beltway — A Day Without Immigrants Right Truth linked with Muslims Joining Illegal Immigrant Marches… […]

  12. Mark says:

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I noticed traffic on I-395 was considerably less than normal for what is usually Monday morning. Less illegals = less traffic = less pollution. This is a net plus for the environment.

    Also, it forced me to make my lunch instead of going to Five Guys, which may be closed since their workers will be gone. Less cholesterol = healthier Mark! Another net plus.

    And if the price of fast food happens to increase because they are forced to pay better wages to legal workers, then so be it. The more expensive it is the less kids will eat, and therefore the threat of childhood obesity decreases!

    Honestly, I do not see a downside to a day without illegal immigrants. More days like this, please… 🙂

  13. U.S. Prepares for ‘Day Without Immigrants’

    Thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country plan a show of force Monday to i…

  14. Iowa Voice says:

    Immigration Protest Round-Up…

    Today I’m going to be blogging almost exclusively about immigration topics as a counter to the “Day Without Immigrants” boycott. So I decided to do an blog round-up to track as much as possible being written across the blogosphere.

    Blogs comment…

  15. LJD says:

    This is a simple economic problem: The supply of illegal immigrants will dry up if thereâ??s no demand.

    That seems a little naive. Regardless of employment, they will continue to come in droves for a ‘free ride’. Another economic principle is that when there is a surplus, prices drop. They’ll just be making their jobs worth less.

    All those wanting to protest illegal immigration today:

    First, go out and spend as much money as you can at the stores that are open. We can easily make up the difference for these slackers and show that the economy will easily survive their truancy.

    Second, take note of the stores closed today. Don’t shop there tomorrow, the next day, or ever again. Show them how we feel about having a gun held to our heads.

    I think their infrastructure and those that support their illegal life in the U.S. SHOULD support the ‘protest’. No trash pickup today. No wastewater treatment. No hospital, police, or fire services. No more taking services without paying for them.

    Finally, on Cinco De Mayo, drink Irish whiskey.

  16. legion says:

    That seems a little naive. Regardless of employment, they will continue to come in droves for a â??free rideâ??.

    Y’know, before welfare, immigrants used to come to America for other reasons… Even after welfare, they still came here for the same reasons.

    A lot of them would like to live & raise their families someplace they don’t have to worry about being hauled up against a wall and shot. It sounds like some people would like to discourage immigration by making America just the kind of place that does that… Be careful what you wish for.

  17. LJD says:

    It sounds like some people would like to discourage immigration by making America just the kind of place that does that

    Grow the F up. What part of ILLEGAL immigrant can’t you understand?

    My commment simply called to the floor the fact that if the jobs dried up, so would the immigration. In your own twisted way, you supported my point.

  18. legion says:

    Feeling a bit defensive, aren’t we LJD? It strikes me that assuming all illegals come to the US solely for the welfare ride is a pretty naive & childish position as well. Certainly, the US requires some sort of border control, but generalizing an entire subculture as criminals & welfare cheats is a sure way to become part of the problem, rather than the solution…

  19. Michael says:

    The obvious question is Why doesnâ??t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them? Itâ??s their job and itâ??s certainly easier than trying to catch them as they slink across a gigantic border in the middle of the night.

    If the answer is that we donâ??t have the national stomach to do that, then the protestorsâ?? message is already self-evident but unacknowledged. Indeed, if they manage to do this in a dignified mannerâ??i.e., marching quietly and not under inflammatory banners and foreign flagsâ??this strikes me as the perfect way to get their point across. Rather than â??This land is rightfully ours, anywayâ?? the message should be â??You want us here as much as we want to be here.â??

    Two excellent points. Good post!

  20. What’s the purpose?…

    All quiet on the boycott or protest front here in Palm Beach County. There is a reason for that….

  21. Scenes and Overheard…

    I think we’d find unanimous agreement that people have no problem with legal immigration, but it’s the illegal immigration that is the overwhelming concern….

  22. floyd says:

    james ; the act,the manner,the numbers ;their impact pales compared to the bias in reporting. the media wrote the story a long time ago.

  23. jpe says:

    The boycott day sure made riding the subways more pleasant today. I wish everyday were boycott day.

  24. […] The letter can be downloaded as a PDF file here. Full text of the letter after the jump. UPDATE (5:43 PM): For more on this, read Right Wing News and WizBang! UPDATE (10:29 PM): Make sure you check out RedState’s post on this topic along with Outside The Beltway. Ms. Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department of Homeland Security 425 I St. NW, Room 7100 Washington, DC 20536 […]

  25. Sunanta says:

    A Day without Immigrants?. Oh my! I didn�t know that the people who live in this country without any legal document(s) are �Immigrants��.so, what am I?. I�ve been waiting in the long line to submit my paperworks to the U.S.Embassy in Thailand. I�ve been answering so many questions at the U.S.Embassy. I�ve been waiting in line (again) after I got in the U.S.A. to apply for my SSN and my Resident card before I can have my I.D. card. I pay tax from my U.S.Dollars income, I�ve never done anything illegal. I�ve had to apply for the U.S.Visa for my parents to come in the U.S. for only 1-2 month visit when my son was born and the U.S.Embassy issued visa for my mother but refused to issue visa for my father!. I�d like to ask the people who called themself �Immigrants� do you have I-94 when you arrive in this country? I bet you don�t and I bet you don�t even know what is it? because �YOU ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS�.

  26. Day Witthout Immigrants: Political Success Or Political Provocation?…

    It was called “Day Without Immigrants” &mda……

  27. LJD says:

    Right, Legion. They all come here for the work, but just coincidentally get health care and education they don’t pay for. They just coincidentally get pregnant so they can stay with their natural born American children.

    As long as you lefties keep making this a racial issue, there will never be a solution. As long as you keep pouring emotion and sensational rhetoric in, we’ll never have a rational debate. Interesting that your ‘plantation’ Democrats want to keep them in the ‘subculture’ status, rather than integrating them into all of our AMerican culture.

    I love the Mexican people and their culture. They have much to add to our country. Immigration should be reformed, to allow them to come to the U.S. and work legally.

    They should not be rewarded for violating our border. They should not be placed in a position of priority over those who have waited in line.

  28. Pug says:

    LJD wants to blame it all on “you lefties” of course. Gee, that’s a new one. And the plantation remark, how original.

    Maybe you Righties should quit hiring them, moron. I doubt most of them are working for “lefties”, are they LJD? They are working for the big money boys that back the Republican Party and you know it. Construction companies, hotel chains, restaurants and on and on.

    This is a tough one for the Republicans, LJD. The big money Republicans don’t want these people deported. They do want to get fools like you all fired up, though, so you’ll go out and vote for the tough-guy Republicans. Then, they’ll forget all about it after the election.

  29. Why Weren’t They Rounded Up?…

    James Joyner asks a question that probably occurred to many regarding yesterday’s events:
    The obvious question is Why doesn’t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them? It’s their job and it’s certainly easier than trying …

  30. […] Now James Joyner over at Outside the Beltway goes deeper and ask why exactly they were not round up? The obvious question is Why doesn’t the Border Patrol go round these people up and deport them? It’s their job and it’s certainly easier than trying to catch them as they slink across a gigantic border in the middle of the night. […]

  31. LJD says:

    OK dipshit, what’s your solution? Deport them all? Party of the people indeed.

    I also love how you dicks like to make assumptions about me and put words in my mouth. As long as it all fits into your tidy, small-minded view of the world…