Rallies and Walkout Intended to Make Point

Discussion
May 01, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Supporters of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws are hopeful of making a very big point today as millions of immigrants (lawful and illegal) are expected to stay away from their jobs and join in a series of rallies across the U.S. as well as participating in a daylong economic boycott of American businesses.


Organizers of the rallies and walkout are hoping to forcefully demonstrate the important role that immigrants, 12 million of whom are in the U.S. illegally, play in keeping the American economy moving.


A number of businesses, including Cargill Inc., Tyson Foods and Seaboard Corp, have said some company plants will be closed for the day. Other businesses, both large and small, are also expected to feel the impact as millions stay away from work today.


Not knowing how many will participate , the effect of the walkout is far from certain. Large numbers are expected for the rallies as they were at previous events. Thousands joined in rallies on April 10 to express opposition to legislation that would have reclassified illegals as felons and mandated a fence be built along much of the border with Mexico.


While some have been vocal in calling for the action, others have strongly argued against it.


Reuters reports that Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who has sided with those supporting changes in immigration laws, has argued against a nationwide walkout.


The Cardinal said in a statement, “Go to work, go to school, and then join thousands of us at a major rally afterward.”


Moderator’s Comment: Will the rallies and plans to walk off jobs today have the desired effect of making it clear to all that the nation needs immigrants
(legal and illegal) for the economy to keep moving? What would happen to foodservice, retail, agriculture, textiles and related businesses that are the biggest employers of immigrants
if those here illegally in the U.S. were suddenly expelled?

George Anderson – Moderator

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17 Comments on "Rallies and Walkout Intended to Make Point"


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Chuck Hartwig
Guest
Chuck Hartwig
14 years 9 months ago

So Kara, what you’re saying is that the ILLEGAL workers have all the rights and the employers have all the responsibility. If an employer cannot question the status, and the INS does an audit to find the ILLEGALS, can an employer get out of the proposed fines for hiring ILLEGALS??

What is wrong with this picture?

Douglas Gray
Guest
Douglas Gray
14 years 9 months ago
I work in a area where virtually the entire workforce is made up of immigrants. Where I work I am the ONLY employee born in the USA. However we manage to run a factory with mainly unskilled positions and have only 100% properly documented workers. It can be done, even with work that folks say American’s don’t want. Businesses make a conscious decision to hire undocumented workers and I can only speculate why. Construction is the most effected; recently in South Florida. Why? They don’t pay the employer portion of taxes for these workers, the employee can’t file worker’s comp if they are injured, they don’t get overtime, they get no benefits of any kind, no holidays, no vacations, no medical and no dental. They get NOTHING. I may be a pro-business conservative, But this is irresponsible greed. If they really just wanted to give undocumented workers a fair chance they would give them the same pay, benefits and respect they give documented workers. Businesses must pay stiffer penalties for using undocumented workers. At the… Read more »
Mark Burr
Guest
14 years 9 months ago
Doesn’t anyone want to ask the question? What question? Well, how do so many immigrants become so organized? How do all who are supposed to be illegal and undocumented communicate, organize and sponsor huge demonstrations that are simultaneously scheduled in every major city? Wouldn’t anyone like to begin to understand the methods of communication, organization and sponsorship at work here? Myself, I am very curious. Likely there is dramatically more going on here than those who are illegal staging a few protests. Wouldn’t statistics bare out low (yet growing) use of the internet among illegal Hispanics? I find it hard to believe they are carrying laptops across the border in their knapsacks? If the knowledge of English is low, could it be the popular media isn’t feeding this fire? There is a tremendous amount of coordination going on here. Is it political? Is it economic? What’s driving this massive show of force by what could be described as an ‘insurgency’ in our own country? Certainly it could be political…couldn’t it? Senator Ted Kennedy was quoted… Read more »
Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

OK, so I don’t go shopping today for jeans. I’ll go tomorrow – I need the jeans. Retailers just aren’t going to be hurt that much – today, yes; tomorrow, no.

Suzanne irizarry
Guest
Suzanne irizarry
14 years 9 months ago

Here is a solution:

1) Take pay away from the C-suite pool and put into the labor pool. That way, US legal workers can afford to do those jobs again.

2) Let’s all play by the book. Work legal, hire legal, pay taxes…without funny accounting…

3) Make bilingual education the goal for all children and all schools across America. Truly give youth the chance to learn, think and communicate in at least two languages…like many of the countries in the European Union and private schools in Latin America. After all, it has been proved that children who learn in more than one language do better in Math and Science….something we need to catch up on comparied to other industrialized countries…. A reason HB1-visas quotas get filled too fast….

Don’t we need more people who are better prepared in math and science anyway? And, as a bonus, people who can communicate with more people, within the US and globally, and who can think beyond ethnocentric restrictions?

David Livingston
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Obviously, some industries would be crushed. I’m in New Orleans and the city would still be a mess if not for the immigrants. Someday, monuments will be built to honor them. We need to find a way to let them in the front door, document them, and tax them. They are coming into our house anyway.

Karin Miller
Guest
Karin Miller
14 years 9 months ago
Whether or not these rallies make the intended point, the situation needs to be addressed. I don’t believe in rewarding illegal behavior, but we have to acknowledge that illegal immigration from south of the border has been encouraged and nurtured here in the USA. Since we have been looking the other way for long enough to raise an entire generation, many young adults are technically illegal, but have lived here from early childhood and were educated in our public schools and community colleges. Some have absolutely no memory of Mexico. It would be inhumane to punish them for something over which they had no control, and I don’t think breaking up families is the answer. I think we have no choice but to find a way to document and deal with illegal immigrants on a case by case basis, having a clear set of rules, with the goal of resolving what is a tangled mess of our own creation in the fairest way possible. However, I also believe that we must get serious about protecting… Read more »
Daryle Hier
Guest
Daryle Hier
14 years 9 months ago
We have had for many years a fairly successful immigration policy. It is the illegal immigration situation that is the problem, which many have tolerated for far too long. Not only do we have millions of illegals crossing over every year, but also because of this open border condition, we’ve had little control over who comes across including potential terrorists. Both of these circumstances have left our country in dire straits. Having operated many businesses of my own over the years, making employers be the enforcement agency for illegals definitely rubs me the wrong way, but in the end, it’s probably a necessity. A couple decades ago, the construction jobs paid a fair wage and we’re employed by legal Americans – those jobs were taken by illegals who would work for less. These trades and occupations, like many, were always wanted by the American workforce – not this dribble about illegals working at jobs nobody wanted. With a strong economy, we’ve been able to endure illegals sending their money away but this cannot continue. We… Read more »
Shirl Whiteman
Guest
Shirl Whiteman
14 years 9 months ago
Most of the mob mentality we see on TV is not focused on the real issue at all. The media would like us to believe that this is all about types of jobs performed that others are unwilling to do. The real issue here is to have workers here legally. This is the basic point people are trying to make. Most of our ancestors came to America as immigrants; they came over legally. Yes, there is the issue of the time it takes to receive paperwork to get visas that could be addressed. We already know where most of the workers are working, it should be a simple process to have groups of officials go to the workplace, identify undocumented workers, register them on the spot, (name, address, etc.) hand out a temporary card to be updated, at a later date, with a permanent one. The country would very quickly know how many workers we really have, where they are, and who they work for. It would not take long to weed out any possible… Read more »
Kara M. Maciel
Guest
Kara M. Maciel
14 years 9 months ago
Today, many retailers may feel the impact of their workers not showing for work, but companies must be aware that these employee absences may implicate protections under the National Labor Relations Act, even if the employees are not represented by a union, and take the appropriate steps to protect the business’ operational efficiencies, while not running afoul of the law. It is arguable that an employee’s absence could be considered “protected” activity under the NLRA. Employers should take this risk into account when deciding whether to impose discipline on employees under their attendance policies. Importantly, if an employee fails to call in to work or otherwise violates the attendance policy today, employers should consistently enforce its policies and procedures. However, it is crucial that retailers not impose any additional restrictions on absences today that do not apply to other absences. Also, employers should refrain from threatening termination or other discipline for not reporting to work. Further, it is advisable that the employer not take any additional steps or review the employee’s immigration status more harshly… Read more »
Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Who is hurt by the large undocumented work force? Unemployed and poorly-paid citizens. Look at the truck driver crisis. Trucking companies raised wages when most states demanded proof of citizenship for driver licenses. Some companies offer license course fee reimbursement. When they were able to hire the undocumented, these offers were nonexistent.

W. Frank Dell II
Guest
14 years 9 months ago
No question the U.S. has an immigration problem. As this country was built by immigrants, we know what to expect. People who came to this country legally are always welcome. The ones who overstay their legal visit and those who arrived illegally have a real problem. This big show is going to backfire. Americans believe all should play by the rules. Illegal immigrants have not played by the rules. Immigrants are expected to learn our language and, over a few generations, join in and become mainstream. The American public does not want to be forced to learn to speak Spanish or any other language. We like English. Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, but accept government services. The expected outcome is as follows. Our borders will be shut down to illegal immigrants. Nothing will happen before this is working. Then illegal immigrants will be asked to leave, but will be given an express pass back in. Business will be operating in limbo as to worker availability. They will be forced to invest in labor saving… Read more »
Hy Libby
Guest
Hy Libby
14 years 9 months ago

Employers with a penchant for hiring illegals in an effort to depress prevailing wages will now see the loyalty that they have purchased at the expense of American workers. The myth that these lawbreakers only take jobs “…that American citizens won’t take” is broken by a quick look at the meat cutting/packing industry where wages now being paid to illegals (and others) is about half of what it was ten years ago when this was a job that many Americans COULD AFFORD TO TAKE and support their families with money that was subsequently spent here in the US, not in Mexico.

NO amnesty. NO free ride. Protect American jobs for LEGAL American workers.

Bob Bridwell
Guest
Bob Bridwell
14 years 9 months ago
I guess I don’t get it. Employers are required to complete an I-9, for legal availability to work. Employees must provide SS# in order to get paid. Employers must file quarterly and annual 940 and 941 with these SS#. I have seen more than one case where the IRS/SSA rejected an SS# because the names did not match. In this case, employees gave nicknames like Bob instead of Robert. I then had to file amended returns and go through a hassle to correct. I think the whole thing is simple, you fine the employers who hire illegals. Second, anyone – banks, or Western Union Agents would have to verify SS#s in the same fashion if any money changes hands. If illegals can’t get a legit SS#, or can’t wire transfer money back to their home country they would have only the incentive of getting freebies. My whole point is this: most Americans are live and let live types. I think the “Silent Majority” is just about to the tipping point. Foreign language anthems, foreign flags… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
14 years 9 months ago
My vision is of thousands of illegals voluntarily gathering in one spot, and then a law enforcement cordon rounding them up and sending them back home. This reminds me of the police “sting” tactic of notifying parole violators that they’ve won a prize. Violators get stupid, show up for the prize, and get busted. Works for me. I suspect that this scenario works for many others as well. Polls of American citizens demonstrate a consistent lack of compassion for persons entering our country illegally, especially when they might be terrorists. Consider: The protection racket revolves around a central tenet: “Pay me to protect your property/livelihood/family from harm. Or, don’t pay me and your property/livelihood/family will suffer harm.” That’s extortion, usually by American citizens. Now we’re facing extortion by persons with no legal standing in our country: “Legalize me or I won’t pick your strawberries.” OK, I’ll pass on the strawberries. And the crisply-mown lawn. And handing my children off to nannies who can barely speak English. Instead, I’ll opt for the rule of law. And,… Read more »
Suzanne irizarry
Guest
Suzanne irizarry
14 years 9 months ago

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.

John Lansdale
Guest
John Lansdale
14 years 9 months ago

For perspective on the immigrant issue, study the Vikings of the early middle ages, especially the kings who paid them.

Up to now, the small businesses, esp. retailers have benefited more from immigration than big corporations who are subject to myriad regulations.

One suspects “reform” in the Bush congress is an attempt to tip the balance the other way.

The human story in the middle is heart wrenching and big companies are exploiting it without conscience.

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