the Disillusioned kid: Don't panic, they're hispanic!
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Friday, March 31, 2006

Don't panic, they're hispanic!

While the French have been agitating against new labour laws and the British are striking in defence of their pensions, our American brothers and sisters are keeping themselves busy solidarising with Latino immigrants. There are apparently some 11.5 million living in the US illegally. As you might imagine, this doesn't exactly warm the cockles of the neighbourhood nationalists who are pushing for legislation to crack down on immigration.

At the present time there are practically a plethora of putative pieces of legislation passing through Congress, as Aura Bogado explains in the New Standard:
The most liberal immigration bill in Congress was submitted in the House by Texas Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee. That bill would have allowed for legal permanent residency for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for the past 5 years, would have doubled the cap for family visas, and would increase the number of work visas. Jackson-Lee’s bill has been stalled in the Immigration Subcommittee since mid-2005.

Toward the opposite end of the spectrum, H.R. 4437, introduced by James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and Peter King (R-New York) would make it even harder to ever attain residency status, and would criminalize undocumented immigrants as well as individuals and organizations that aid them.

In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Monday that borrowed heavily from a bill introduced by John McCain (R-Arizona) and Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). It allows for permanent residency for those living in the United States for six years or longer, but with stiff penalties to be paid up front. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, unhappy with that bipartisan proposal, is sending his own measure to the Senate floor and urging his colleagues to ignore the Judiciary Committee’s proposal.

Both Frist and the Committee’s bills will be considered on the Senate Floor, and will go to vote next week.

Unfortunately for Frist & Co., the Latino community isn't just going to lie down and be shafted. Setting their sights on HR 4437 they've decided to come out fighting and they don't appear to be doing so on their own.

Last Friday (March 24) saw a wave of massive protests in cities across the US. Many demonstrators wore white shirts to symbolise peace, but they hardly comported themselves like your average lefty radical with some even waving US flags (although it was the waving of Mexican flags which seems to have attracted the greatest controversy). The Latino community also called for a one-day boycott of work and spending. Elsewhere, Republican Senator Chip Rogers, who has been a major proponent of reform, wasn't best pleased when a Spanish language newspaper printed a map showing the approximate location of his home. Following last week's huge show of force, there have been a series of walkouts by school students. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Roy Romer responded to this by by declaring a "lockdown" of all schools in the district on Tuesday, ostensibly to "protect" students. This didn't stop more than 8,500 students walking out in LA County alone, with many more joining them from neighbouring counties. Unfortunately, Wednesday's locdown appears to have been more effective.

Are school kids more radical than they were when I was passing through the education system, or did I just go to the wrong school? In the US, as in France and Britain, they appear to be taking the role once filled by university students, who now seem more interested in all that careers bullshit. It's almost enough to make me forget my general dislike of children and even Mitchell James-Langcaster and his little letter. Almost, but not quite.

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