My view is that we should make it easier to become an American citizen. Also, the new Americans are not “taking jobs” from others, because the jobs they go after aren’t posted on Monster.com nor do they call for W-2 forms. They’re odd tasks that someone comes up with at the moment. The “taking” idea is silly.
HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) — Massive street marches to protest a proposed crackdown on illegal immigration have energized U.S. Hispanics and may signal a new day of Hispanic political involvement.
The demonstrations, which attracted both legal and illegal residents across the country, mean politicians may face an angry Hispanic electorate in which Republicans would be the biggest losers, activists said on Monday.
Half a million people marched in Los Angeles two weeks ago, and another half a million protested in Dallas on Sunday. On Monday, there were smaller marches in more than 60 cities, all to express displeasure with proposed legislation in Washington aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration.(Watch how the rallies could change the political landscape — 2:28)
As happened in Los Angeles, the Dallas march stunned the organizers, who expected only 20,000 people in politically conservative Texas.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine half a million people marching in a city that has 1.2 million people,” said Lydia Gonzalez Welch, a board member with the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, which promoted the so-called Mega March.
“The feeling of celebration and amazement yesterday was powerful and we will make sure that power continues to be demonstrated and the local leaders will feel it,” she said.
“This is the first real social movement, bottom-up,
grass-roots movement of the 21st century,” longtime Hispanic activist and university professor Jose Angel Gutierrez told the Dallas Morning News.
Flexing what it hopes is new political muscle, LULAC, the largest U.S. Hispanic organization, called for supporters to boycott stores Monday and not go to work, but the results were not clear.
Organizers at all the marches, with an eye to future elections, encouraged protesters who are citizens to register to vote. They urged illegal immigrants, who cannot vote, to push those who can to exercise their right.
“We will see this transfer into political power. If we cannot change their minds, we will change them (politicians),” said Elias Bermudez, head of advocacy group Immigrants Without Borders, at a march in Phoenix, Arizona.
40 million Hispanics
There are 40 million Hispanics in the United States, although due to age and legal status, just 13 million are eligible to vote.
Of those, only 60 percent are registered to vote and turnout at the polls is usually lower than among whites and blacks, experts say.
But they are concentrated in key states such as California, Texas and Florida and, by 2020, the number of Hispanic voters nationally is expected to top 20 million.
Democrats stand to gain most from new Hispanic involvement because political analysts say that, typically, two-thirds of Hispanics vote for their party.
Despite exuberance among activists, greater Hispanic political activism is not assured because the Hispanic population is not a political monolith, experts say.
While U.S.-born Hispanics are largely sympathetic to illegal immigrants, a Pew Hispanic Center survey found that a third of them feel illegal immigrants drive wages down.
Republicans have made gains in attracting Hispanics, but could lose ground by pushing a harder line against illegal immigrants, said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson in Dallas.
They “should take a deep breath here, and ask themselves what a failure to deal with the concerns of immigrants both legal and illegal will mean for the Republican Party,” he said.
Republican political consultant Bill Miller in Austin agreed the party is in a difficult position.
“It’s a real high risk situation for Republicans, and it’s almost all down side,” he said. “There is no more sacred issue to Hispanics.”
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