LOS ANGELES (AP) - Thousands of immigration advocates marched through downtown Los Angeles in one of the largest demonstrations for any cause in recent U.S. history.
More than 500,000 protesters - demanding that Congress abandon attempts to make illegal immigration a felony and to build more walls along the border - surprised police who estimated the crowd size using aerial photographs and other techniques, police Cmdr. Louis Gray Jr. said.
I am one of those people who thinks that stereotypes are usually accurate statistical generalizations. But whenever I visit my parents in L.A., I am struck by the contrast between the popular stereotype of the lazy Hispanic and the stark reality that Hispanics are doing 80% of all the hard work. The protestors are as tired of this as I am:
"We construct your schools. We cook your food," rapper Jorge Ruiz said after performing at a Dallas rally that drew 1,500. "We are the motor of this nation, but people don't see us. Blacks and whites, they had their revolution. They had their Martin Luther King. Now it is time for us."
Many protesters said lawmakers were unfairly targeting immigrants who provide a major labor pool for America's economy.
"Enough is enough of the xenophobic movement," said Norman Martinez, 63, who immigrated from Honduras as a child and marched in Los Angeles. "They are picking on the weakest link in society, which has built this country."
Elsa Rodriguez, 30, a trained pilot who came to Colorado in 1999 from Mexico to look for work, said she just wants to be considered equal.
"We're like the ancestors who started this country, they came from other countries without documents, too," the Arvada resident. "They call us lazy and dirty, but we just want to come to work. If you see, we have families, too."
Of course, no attack on the common sense of economics is complete without a politician's crocodile tears. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis...
...defended the legislation, saying he's trying to stop people from exploiting illegal immigrants for cheap labor, drug trafficking and prostitution.
"Those who do that are 21st-century slave masters, just like the 19th-century slave masters that we fought a civil war to get rid of," Sensenbrenner said at the meeting. "Unless we do something about illegal immigration, we're consigning illegal immigrants to be a permanent underclass, and I don't think that's moral."
Right, the moral thing is to boot them back to their home countries, which are, apparently, earthly paradises that immigrants leave for no reason at all in order to work cheap, deal drugs, and sell their bodies.