Anonymous David asked, in his last comment, "What does the immigrant uprising look like from your vantage point?" This is a serious enough question that I think it deserves a post, not just another comment.
First of all, David, go back and read the comments under my post "Walls and Borders" (March 21), especially Boggart's long comment on the view of the situation from a residence 11 miles from the Mexican border. I don't necessarily agree with everything in it, but most of Boggart's points are really well taken.
I saw the immigrant uprising from the viewpoint of my office on the 6th floor of a building near a main street in northern California. It was amazing to watch - at least 10 visible blocks of people, filling the sidewalks about 3-4 abreast, walking quietly onward for another 4-5 blocks before they turned right toward a park where they gathered. When I saw them they were stopping for traffic lights, although some of my co-workers said they didn't at first. I didn't see any flags, just all those white T-shirts. That was the day the garbage guy didn't come around to my office to empty my wastebasket, and the cleaning lady didn't refill the toilet paper dispensers. Nobody was really inconvenienced; the office building is immaculately maintained.
If you mean, what do I think about all this, I don't know. As Boggart pointed out, there aren't any easy answers here. So I'll just give some random impressions, please don't expect these to be consistent or to make sense:
I read an English translation of the Spanish version of the anthem, Nuestro Himno, and I was tremendously moved. It's a staggering compliment to our country, our flag, and our ideals. You'll find the translation at the bottom of the article at the link.
James Sensenbrenner is freaking insane, absolutely barking mad, if he seriously thinks he can classify 12 million people as felons and then do anything realistic about it. We can't handle the prison population we have now.
Not to mention making felons of teachers who teach their children and doctors who heal them; I guess the good Christians of today want to throw the Good Samaritan in jail. Besides which, you can catch an infectious disease from an illegal immigrant as fast as you can from a good Murrican citizen; faster, in fact, because they don't have health insurance and so don't go to the doctor until they're REALLY sick. Once upon a time we had a concept called "public health" but we seem to have forgotten it.
This country was built by immigrants who came here with nothing but their hands and their work ethic; we didn't limit immigration until 1924 (except for the Chinese). The undocumented illegals are a whole lot closer to those immigrants than to some of our current citizens. "I lift my lamp beside the golden door" - but the golden door isn't on the Mexican border, apparently. Some people seem to think, my family is aboard, now pull up the gangplank, and that gives me kind of a queasy feeling.
On the other side of the coin, it takes years to become a citizen legally, and granting these people amnesty will skip them to the head of the line, and that's not fair to the people who've tried to obey the law. Do we have all these illegals because Reagan granted an amnesty in the eighties?
On the third side of the coin (sort of like the third half of the show on Car Talk), the urge to not let people in because they're not like us is not only racist and xenophobic, it's boringly racist and xenophobic. All the things they're saying about the Mexican illegals now have been said, in the past (in only approximate reverse order), about: the Poles. The Slavs. The Italians. The Irish (for generations, "No Irish need apply"). The Swedes and Norwegians. The Germans (and that was Benjamin Franklin, ranting that they refused to learn English and they bred like rabbits, and haven't we heard this before?). Which of those were your ancestors? The real question is, why don't we want them to come here? Why do we feel so threatened by them?
Finally, a little full disclosure, so to speak: it's very likely my lace-curtain Irish, boned-lace-choker grandmother was a wetback (as we used to call them before it became politically incorrect), all 5 feet 2 inches of her. A Canadian wetback: she came to the country in 1921, and just never bothered to become a citizen; and sometime in the 40's she insisted on going home to Toronto to see the relatives, and they had to smuggle her back across the border because by then you needed papers. She's dead now, God rest her; if they want to deport her they'll have to dig her up.
So I don't have any answers. I can't argue with Boggart's points about the load on our services, and the taxes they don't pay, it's all too true; but this whole country is built on immigration, right back to the "Native" Americans whose ancestors came over the Bering Strait in the last interglacial, or whenever. The only continent in the world with people who really can't be called immigrants is Africa, it's the only place the species evolved. Everybody else is an immigrant at some level; and I think we need to quit arguing about who has the "right" to be where, and start trying to think of the practicalities that we all need to deal with, like educating children and preventing epidemics.