Pro-immigrant activists say they will “shut down” major cities to demand amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, according to a report in Reuters. Already troubling comparisons have been made to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Let’s make a distinction: one movement strove for the equal rights of citizens; the other insists on the privilege of citizenship to illegal/undocumented (whichever you prefer) aliens. One movement worked within the framework of a democratic government; the other threatens to disrupt that government.
While the civil rights movement of the 1960s gained much through sit-ins, marches and boycotts, it succeeded primarily in courts and in congress. Civil rights activists employed the law to combat lawlessness and employed reason to turn away hatred. The abolitionists of the previous century struggled with the idea that the government and its laws were beyond repair. Some argued for the overthrow of government, for the dissolution of the Union. Ultimately, in the likes of Frederick Douglass and others, they embraced the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. They turned to the democratic processes, not away from it, and established the framework for future civil rights activity.
Absent in the pro-immigration movement is the recognition of public discourse and the right of people to determine their own policies. The 10 to 11 million illegal aliens in America must respect the right of citizens to decide immigration policy, or else they will alienate mainstream America. Shutting down cities does little to increase public discourse, and unlike the civil rights movement of the 1960s, possesses none of the moral fortitude.
America is not indifferent. Each year, the United States admits some 700,000 to 900,000 legal immigrants (source). All immigrants, regardless of their status, are given free healthcare, education and legal support. And polls show most Americans are not for draconian measures so often the targets of these protests.
Disconnect between pro-immigrant activists and average Americans is woeful. While Spanish radio is doing an admirable job informing and engaging the Spanish market, how are they reaching the rest of America? Shutting down our cities does little to reach Middle America.