Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spanish Language Radio Station Targetted by Vandals.

Last Friday, as part of a nationwide rally, twenty thousand people marched in Phoenix against proposed changes in Federal immigration laws, including a proposal to make being an undocumented worker a felony. Contrary to popular opinion, this was not just a march of illegals, because I have friends who participated (although I had to work that day and didn't make it down there.)

It is pretty remarkable actually to get that many people to come together about anything in Phoenix other than a sporting event or a concert, because the city is notoriously apathetic. Even at baseball games, Phoenicians tend to leave towards the end of the seventh inning and rarely exhibit a great deal of passion about anything. So a demonstration of this size, while dwarfed by the demonstrations in Los Angeles and elsewhere was easily the largest political demonstration in the history of Phoenix.

So did this help convince the rabid, anti-immigrant folks to engage in a more reasoned debate than they have hitherto done?

Well, let's say that my suspicion is that they sent their message last night and it is no. Vandals destroyed four radio towers and knocked KMIA-AM, a spanish language sports-talk radio station based north of Phoenix off the air for what could be a matter of months. KMIA is part of a chain of Spanish speaking stations across the southwest, which have been a significant part of the immigration debate, and is a station that many Phoenix Latinos listen to. The FBI is investigating.

It is true that we don't yet know exactly who destroyed the towers and why. It may be that the towers were destroyed by a bunch of teenagers out doing stupid stuff, and it may be that they were destroyed for some other reason completely unrelated to the content of the station. It might be that there was something else that they discussed, other than immigration, that caused someone to be this angry at them. We won't know that until the FBI finishes their investigation. But coming as soon as it did after the immigration march, I have to admit that the timing and target are awful suspicious.

3 comments:

dorsano said...

Imigration reform is where this administration has come the closest to doing something right on the domestic policy front.

I think it's important to deferentiate between the GOP congress and the administration on this issue. The House imigration reforms are counter-productive but

when you slice and dice the administration's proposals and compare them to the Democratic party's proposal the two are not all that different

the "language" of the two is different - and the emotional appeal is different - but the end results are not all that far apart (unless I'm mistaken)

* Anyone here now illegally can stay legally

* Those here can be put on a track for citizenship but they will need to wait in line behind those who are abiding by current immigration law

* There will be a significant effort to reunite the immediate members of imigrant families once the workers here become citizens

-------

The only difference, if there is one, lies in how to secure the borders.

--------

It's no secret that the GOP, as a party, can gain by working this out but if the administration can effect change along the lines that it's currently pursuing

I'll forgive some of the harm this admistration has done to the country.

LILY BRANFORD said...

Well its something that I have mixed feelings about despite debating this around blogarama and reading some truly compelling thoughts. Clearly something needs to be done- but it would be nice if JUST ONCE they set aside the political strategy and demographics and looked at the reality of the situation and the options on their merit.

The vandalism is obnoxious and unwarranted. What a shame.

Eli Blake said...

Dorsano,

I only wrote, 'proposed changes in Federal immigration laws.' But you are right, the impetus for the really obnoxious changes is Republicans in Congress, not the administration.

Lily,

The problem is that there is a complete disconnect between legal immigration quotas and the number of jobs that get filled every year by illegal immigrants. The reason they have gone to a lottery is to cover this up-- if people who 'followed the rules' and wanted to immigrate legally were forced to wait their turn in line, it would take decades at the rate that we legally allow them to come in from Mexico-- and many of them would get here just in time to retire. Had Congress set immigration quotas that reflected market conditions instead of populist xenophobia years ago, we wouldn't have this problem (or for that matter, many of the problems we have with Social Security) right now. And yes, Democrats controlled Congress for forty years and did very little to improve the situation.

That said, we have to come up with a plan that addresses the reality of the people who are here right now. We don't know who they are, and have no way to round them all up and send them home, so unless we can create an incentive (amnesty or a guest worker program) to report themselves, we won't find out who they are. Therefore, laws that tell people that they need to go back home are stupid political rhetoric put on paper. So are laws telling people it will become a felony-- the prisons are overcrowded right now; if we create between 10 and 20 million felons overnight and are lucky enough to catch all of them (or even most of them) we would literally have to release every single convicted prisoner in America in order to lock them all up (And what else would you do? Fine them? And when they don't pay the fine, then what?)

And the most important factor if we really want to limit illegal immigration: If you bust a factory with five hundred illegal immigrants working there, instead of declaring five hundred people felons and throwing them in prison (and probably having them replaced with five hundred more next week), how about implementing five hundred felony counts against the company CEO, VP in charge of personnel, and hiring manager, and let them sit and rot in prison. Do that, and pretty soon you won't see people hiring undocumented immigrants and then they really will quit coming that way.