The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Location: Palms - L.A, California

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rallying for Immigration on the National Mall

Today, there will be major pro-immigration rallies all across the U.S. And given the failure by the Senate to pass an immigration reform bill last Friday – as (sort of) assumed here in the Swamp – the rallies take on an added resonance.

(c) AFP/Getty Images, J. Emilio Flores
300, 000 rally in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006.

They also need to be seen in the context of the big rallies that took place last month (click here for Migra Matters' great reporting). These were the first show of strength by those who believe in a fair, comprehensive approach to immigration. In other words, those folks who take history into account, who live within the bounds of reality and can see beyond the national security-immigration smoke screens.

Here in Washington D.C. the rally is expected to be sizeable, perhaps gathering up to 200,000 people. It will be held on the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, and promises to attract various speakers from religious, political and humanitarian organizations.

The scene earlier today:
I am running along the Mall, soaking up sunshine and the pre-rally vibe. A stage is being set up, tv-crews try to park their vans, school kids are milling about, tourists meandering - perhaps unsuspecting of what is about to happen .... The weather is beautiful and it promises to be a good day. As I jog past the Lincoln Memorial, I am reminded of what he believed in – and of the great Civil Rights Era rallies on the Mall, led by Martin Luther King – and how clearly this too is about rights.

Yes, that last comparison is a contested one (click here to read Juan Williams back up this analogy in today’s WP). Detractors will point out that undocumented immigrants and other immigrants are not U.S. Citizens. I would add: “yet”. The current immigration situation has created an underclass that lives in the shadows, i.e. like segregation. It is antithetical to the American creed to not address this. This was, is and will always be a Nation of Immigrants. Pure and simple.

For those with concerns about transgressing laws, cultural change etc I close by offering the words of a recent immigrant, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also addresses border security but only in the context of a broader, compassionate picture:

“Immigration is not just a theory debated on talk shows and on Capitol Hill; in California, it's a reality that we live with every day in our schools, hospitals and workplaces. When Congress returns from its Easter recess, it must immediately address immigration reform again. I urge Congress to remember that immigrants are good people….
Already we hear so much talk about so many false choices. We are told that in a free society it's not possible to have border security. We are advised that in order to secure the borders, we must deport 12 million people. Never mind that we don't know who they are or where they are, and that it could cost up to $230 billion to do it.
I reject these false choices, and Congress should too. I salute the members of both parties in Congress who are conducting a civil, serious discussion on this issue. I urge them to agree on legislation based on a simple philosophy: control of the border….and compassion for the immigrant….
To pursue a policy of compassion, Congress must attack the problem, not people. A compassionate immigration policy will fight this battle at the borders, not in our schools and not in our hospitals. Teachers, doctors and charity workers should not have to choose between helping those in need and enforcing the law. A compassionate immigration policy will acknowledge that immigrants are just like us: They're moms and dads looking for work, wanting to provide for their kids. Any measure that punishes charities and individuals who comfort and help immigrants is not only unnecessary, but un-American.”
(click here to read the entire piece)

Yes indeed. "Just like us". U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo and CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs, wrap your confused rants around that one.

In a couple of hours, I will head back down to the Mall to join the rally, and tomorrow I will file a little report for all y’all.


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