On March 26, hundreds of thousands of people flooded onto Los Angeles' streets to protest a bill currently passing through Congress. The House version of the bill strengthens legal consequences for those associated with illegal immigration: Knowingly assisting, encouraging, directing or inducing illegal immigrants to cross the border would be punishable by no less than three and no more than 20 years in prison, and/or a fine; knowingly hiring more than 10 illegal immigrants would be punishable by no more than five years in prison, and/or a fine; illegal immigration would be a felony; new border patrol agents would be trained; funding would be provided to construct a fence along one-third of the U.S./Mexico border.
Protests regarding the bill aren't restricted to Los Angeles. Tens of thousands have turned out in Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee. Some of those voices aren't particularly civil; certain signs at the Los Angeles rally read "THIS IS STOLEN LAND" and "If you think I'm 'illegal' because I'm a Mexican learn the true history because this is my homeland." Meanwhile, politicians in California are already assisting, encouraging, directing and inducing illegal immigration by pandering to the crowds. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke to the gigantic Los Angeles protest; Rowena Lagrosa, Executive Officer of Educational Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), issued a letter asking that students stay on campus, but pledging that if they chose to ditch school to protest, taxpayer-funded buses would transport the students.
These protestors are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there are currently about 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The problem of illegal immigration is reaching the breaking point. Only now, several decades too late, has Congress decided to act.
But better late than never. The stated purpose of the controversial bill is to curb terrorism. September 11 surely awakened us to the dangers of nonexistent border control, but most Americans are worried about illegal immigration for two very different reasons: First, illegal immigrants are more likely now than ever to take jobs that used to belong to citizens; second, illegal immigrants are more likely now than ever to remain apart from the vast American melting pot. Neither of these reasons bears any resemblance to the accusations of xenophobia the left loves to hurl at those who wish to stop illegal immigration. Americans are not xenophobic – they're prudent.