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April 20, 2006
Boycott Losing Momentum (Updated)

The planned walkout of illegal immigrants for May 1 has lost steam according to a report by the Washington Post. Two weeks after the call for the boycott and one-day strike, a panel of immigration activists announced yesterday that they would encourage people to stay at work but to sign petitions and join protests on May 1:

A panel of immigration activists said yesterday that it will not encourage workers and families to walk off the job and keep their children from school as part of a May 1 boycott, but will hold voter-recruitment and petition drives instead.

The announcement by activists from the District, Chicago and Los Angeles at a news conference in Washington underlined the split among the mostly Latino activist groups that led huge demonstrations in more than 140 cities in recent weeks, and shows that the grass-roots movement is operating at cross purposes toward the same end -- immigration reform and legal status for illegal immigrants.

"We are going to have several meetings; we are going to have thousands and thousands of people sign petitions. . . . We will register people to vote and send thousands of e-mails to legislators," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland in Silver Spring.

Torres was joined on the panel by representatives from several immigration organizations, including the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, both based in Los Angeles, and the National Capital Immigration Coalition in the District.

Other groups plan to push the strike, making the split a potentially bitter one if the crowds do not turn out as planned. A representative of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, one of the groups pressing for the walkout, says that their plans have not changed. This should surprise no one, as HML has partnered with International ANSWER, the last of the Stalinist apologist groups, to select the old Communist holiday to highlight their open-borders philosophy.

The panel in DC wants to avoid the train wreck for illegal immigrants that this walkout will create. While the rallies have increased the visibility of the immigration debate, it has also polarized American opinion and created a significant and politically difficult backlash. The sea of Mexican flags and antagonistic sloganeering has made it more difficult for Congress to pass any measure that allows illegals to normalize for citizenship. A walkout, especially on a date most Americans will associate with socialist propaganda, will further erode moderate positions and make it more difficult to reach any solution other than a widespread crackdown on illegals.

These activists want to rechannel the debate into more positive approaches, but it's unclear how much influence they have. Right now, the illegals have cast their lot with the socialists, and until they realize that the alliance will do tremendous damage to their cause, they will continue to strengthen the hardliners who oppose them.

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle reports that some immigration groups have explicitly tried to distance themselves from I-ANSWER:

The boycott idea emerged in early April from activists of Latino Movement USA, and the anti-war ANSWER Coalition.

Immigration leaders at Thursday's briefing and elsewhere said those organizations were no longer part of the national immigration reform movement.

ANSWER spokesman Carlos Alvarez said no group or coalition owns the issue of immigration reform.

Don't bet that I-ANSWER plans on taking their leave from this issue.

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Mark Tapscott, in his role as editorial page editor, weighs in on the immigration debate by calling out the reconquista movement:

The first thing to understand about Reconquista is that while it is perhaps not the official policy of Mexico, it might as well be. Current and former top Mexican government officials and advisers, for example, along with leaders of U.S. groups like the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, routinely co-host seminars of the Foundation for Solidarity of Mexico and America, according to Hector Carreon of the Aztlan Communications Network. The basic aim of FSMA, which is a key convergence point of open-borders advocacy in both countries, is uninterrupted immigration from Mexico to the U.S. ...

President Bush should call upon President Vicente Fox and other Mexican political leaders to disavow the Reconquista movement explicitly and to adopt much-needed reforms to expand economic opportunity and spread the wealth more widely in their nation. And Congress should reiterate in law and regulation that, while we will always welcome the world’s huddled masses, those who immigrate to America are expected to become Americans.

And, I would add, they are expected to do so while obeying all of our laws, including those regulating immigration.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 20, 2006 5:00 AM

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Captain Ed is reporting: The planned walkout of illegal immigrants for May 1 has lost steam according to a report by the Washington Post. Two weeks after the call for the boycott and one-day strike, a panel of immigration activists announced yesterday... [Read More]

Tracked on April 20, 2006 9:38 AM


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