One more time: Immigration Reformers Are Winning August
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball spent some time reporting on the August activities of our side and the anti-immigrant side. And, the results are pretty clear: we are winning.
The full article is worth a read. Here are some excerpts:
Activists on both sides of the immigration debate had put heavy emphasis on the importance of flexing grassroots muscle during this month of congressional recess. The idea is to show Republicans in the House of Representatives, which hasn’t settled on a path forward on the issue, where the most passionate support lies. And as August winds down, the Richmond event seems indicative of the overall trend. Hundreds of immigrant advocates have appeared at rallies and town halls across the country. But the other side, the opponents, have been mostly absent.
Hundreds of reform advocates recently rallied at the Bakersfield, California, office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House GOP whip. (A local television station put the number at “more than 1,000”; Breitbart reported it was about 400, mostly “Mexican in origin,” and noted the presence of “about two dozen counter-demonstrators.”) More than 500 pro-reform activists, including the mayor of Springfield, Ohio, and local clergy, showed up at Speaker John Boehner’s district office. The Washington Times counted about 60 pro-reform activists calling on Rep. Frank Wolf in Herndon, Virginia. They marched through the streets of Asheboro, North Carolina, and gathered alongside the Catholic diocese in Salt Lake City. In Corpus Christi, Texas, a Republican congressman, Blake Farenthold, took to Twitter to beseech opponents to show up and counter the 10,000 pro-reform petitions that activists delivered to his office.
And, then, there’s the opposition — or not. Or, maybe it should be a question: Where’s the opposition?
Anti-immigration-reform groups were hard pressed to come up with evidence of similar grassroots fervor for their side. Indeed, many of the examples they cited seemed to show the opposite. A NumbersUSA organizer passed along footage from a town hall where Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins was asked repeatedly about immigration; all the questioners in the clip are pro-reform, but booing rumbles through the crowd as they speak. At a town hall for Rep. Karen Bass, the California Democrat is asked about an unrelated piece of legislation that would deport “illegal alien gang members” (and explains why she opposes it). In Elkhorn, Nebraska, Republican Lee Terry is asked, “Will we see a path to citizenship in the immigration bill?” as DREAM Act activists are shown in a local television report.
Anti-reform groups appear to be canceling events for lack of participation. The Tea Party Patriots once boasted of summer rallies in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Dallas; and South Carolina, but they’ve disappeared from the calendar on the group’s website. Another anti-immigration-reform group, the Black American Leadership Alliance, had planned a nine-city “We Are America Tour,” but had to drop half the stops. “Dear friends, it is with deep regret that I must inform you all that we had to drop several rallies,” an organizer wrote on Facebook, in a post that has since been removed but was spotted and preserved by the pro-reform group America’s Voice. “We were unable to get organizers for the following: Miami, FL., Chicago, IL., Roanoke, VA., and Wisconsin. The Ohio rally is still going to happen, but not under the “Tour” title. FAIR is leading that rally. That leaves us with 4 rallies. Phoenix, AZ. Richmond, VA. And rallies in Houston, and Dallas, TX. Even the rallies in Houston, and Richmond, VA, are not completely confirmed at this time.”
August isn’t over yet. But, our allies continue to make their presence known around the country while anti-immigrant leaders make really weak excuses:
As for the poorly attended Richmond rally, [NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy] Beck acknowledged it was disappointing, but blamed the lack of turnout on a bad location choice. “We picked a spot that, it turns out, has the highest homicide rate in the city, and apparently a lot of people were afraid to come,” he said. Beck seemed to associate this danger with the African-American population: “We wanted to be there at a place where we could talk about the huge population of descendants of slavery who have never yet been part of the American Dream,” he said. “But sometimes passion and principles get in the way of practicality.”