On April 10, 2013, freedom of speech and assembly embodied in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was tested by some 2,500 people taking part in a “Rally for Citizenship” on the Capitol Mall.
Among them were undocumented immigrants and their supporters who called for passage of comprehensive immigration legislation with a universal pathway to citizenship. They rallied for instantaneous “legalization,” social and welfare entitlements, and U.S. citizenship within months of “legalization.”
The current bill being proposed by the Senate Gang of Eight, led by Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would give these benefits and more.
At the Rally for Citizenship, the news media photographed demonstrators carrying signs printed in Spanish and waving flags of Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, and to a lesser extent, the USA. Early editions of printed, televised, and computer news showed the foreign flags, but later editions were edited to show only those waving U.S. flags.
The crowd chanted in Spanish, “Yes we can,” a 2008 Barack Obama slogan. Then, as if on cue, the chants became, “No person is illegal” and “We are citizens of the Earth.” They waved signs, some in Spanish, others in English, some hand-written, others commercially printed.
Many signs criticized U.S. citizens and organizations thought to be against amnesty for illegal aliens. Children in T-shirts printed with “Don’t deport my mom” reflected the labor-union tactic of using children to evoke sympathy and gain publicity.
Although the rhetoric of rally speakers tended to be uninspired, the demonstration was a well-orchestrated, well-financed, Alinsky-style community-organizer protest.
Most demonstrators had traveled from outside the Washington Metro area and reportedly were funded by leftist groups, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); by La Raza, a radical left-wing immigrant-advocacy group; and by CASA of Maryland and the Center for Community Change — groups that actively supported Obama’s presidential campaigns.
While the rally was taking place, a U.S. Senate hearing on immigration received Border Patrol testimony that, thus far in fiscal year 2013, apprehensions of illegal aliens on the Mexican-U.S. border were up 13 percent over 2012. Such numbers are contrary to Obama propaganda that the border “has never been so secure.”
Senator Thomas Carper, D-Del., Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said he was “shocked” to learn that Mexican Drug Cartels (MDC) control mountaintops on U.S. lands. Washington observers have long known that MDCs control parts of federal lands nationwide, as facts appear regularly in reports such as Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies.
Congressional Democrats, along with the Obama administration, appear to be in denial that drug smuggling, gun-running, human smuggling, and terrorist smuggling occur with impunity on federal lands from California to Georgia. An April 2013 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of Americans showed that 63 percent believe that the Mexican-U.S. border is not secure.
Some observers of the rally questioned the cost of transporting, feeding, and housing the demonstrators, many of whom couldn’t speak English. One wag opined, “How are they going to learn English and pay “legalization” fees without getting welfare?”
Another noted that the “latest Senate bill has the English language requirement watered down to ‘some understanding of English’.” Yet another added wearily, “Whores on the Hill, selling out America as we stand here.” A fourth observer said, “Why don’t undocumented immigrants have to pass the health exams required of legal immigrants? My wife was required to pass a health exam before she could step on U.S. soil.”
Does the bill proposed by the Senate Gang of 8 address these concerns? Not when it calls for immediate “legalization” and welfare for illegal aliens. Such proposals conflict with existing federal immigration law, which mandates that immigrants not be “public charges.”
In contrast, the tenor of the “Rally for Citizenship” was that the United States is obliged to offer illegal aliens U.S. citizenship and all related benefits. Irate U.S. citizens, however, had plenty to say in response: “The U.S. will soon be a state of Mexico.” “Why was DHS not making arrests?” “DHS is toothless. Make arrests!” “Obama owes them — even illegals voted for him.” “Why aren’t they at work, if they are so hard-working?” “Where do they get the money to travel to Washington?” “I’d like to see them demonstrate in Mexico City.” “The Dems give them everything for a vote.” “Union money and millionaire money from Obama’s 1% friends pay for it all.”
Congress could be receiving the wrong message from staged demonstrations like the Rally for Citizenship. Also it remains to be seen what effect the Boston Marathon bombing by two immigrant brothers, one of them a recently naturalized U.S. citizen, will have on comprehensive immigration reform. The immediate effect may be the Gang of Eight bill going back to the drawing board.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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