San Francisco Protest March Against HR4437

Somebody's Little Girl
Somebody’s Little Girl

Well here I go again getting into something that I try to generally avoid, politics.

In what was the largest protest I’ve ever seen in San Francsico, thousands of immigrants marched up Market Street at noon today protesting bill HR4437. Many had taken the day off work to show their solidarity with the hundreds of thousands others who marched across the U.S.

Personally I think that more legislation against this largely poor group of individuals is not necessary. Most illegal immigrants work for cash and end up doing jobs that Americans just will not do. The fact that there are those that would begrudge an individual who comes to this country to make a better life and send money back to their families is beyond me.

I say let these individuals work. Don’t treat them like criminals. They are by and large a hard working group and their culture and spirit adds to the flavor that is the United States of America. I shot the protest and you can see my set up on Flickr here. I’m glad that the awareness was raised today by this largely marginalized group of our society.

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  1. I’m tired of that “jobs that Americans won’t do” line. These folks come over here and take REAL jobs from LEGAL citizens. Construction work. Factory work. Farm work. It’s all work that could be done by the 290 MILLION legal residents of the United States. What that stupid line means is they’ll do the jobs for a lot less than Americans would expect to be paid to do them.

    The problem with this law (and any new immigration reform law) is that we already HAVE laws on the books to deal with illegal aliens. They’re not enforced! What makes anyone think these NEW laws would be?

  2. Bucs Fan says:

    Jobs Americans won’t do?

    Try Me, I work my butt off to care for my family and people have the nerve to imply that I’m the lazy one? America didn’t achieve its status with a lazy reputation. This tired line of “jobs American’s won’t do” needs to stop, it’s just pure liberal rhetoric, I usually really enjoy your blog, but come one that’s really rude to call me and nearly 300 million other legal US citizens lazy.

    And even if there was any shred of truth the to the lie of “jobs American’s won’t do,” let LEGAL immigrants do them, not ILLEGAL ALIENS who have such a low amount of respect for our country and laws that they think they don’t apply to them. I have many friends that have immigrated here from all around the world and my stepdad’s family immigrated here about 100 years ago. These actions by ILLEGAL ALIENS are like a complete and utter insult to those that followed the laws to get here.

  3. MikeA says:

    I don’t understand why the Bush administration refuses to enforce the laws of this country. These rallies should have had bus-loads of federal agents rounding up and deporting ever illegal alien attending the rally. Liberals seem to think President Bush and his administration have been overstepping their power when it comes to law enforcement, but in reality, they seem to be much too soft on law enforcement.

    If we allow these fence-jumping, tunnel-digging, border-crossing invaders to attain amnesty for their crimes, then what will prevent the next wave of illegals from assuming the same gentle, caring amnesty treatment also awaits them?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow…no wonder the US has such a bad reputation around the world with racist and ignorant opinions like the ones above.

    first off, you seem to be putting the blame on the abused instead of the abuser.

    Go ask your “native-born” american friends with businesses who put the gun to their head to hire people for less money? The fact is that it is the “native-born” americans that exploit immigrants with crap wages and at the same time exclude all americans from getting a decent wage. But instead of pointing that out and passing laws to prevent business owners from exploiting employees, you choose to blame the worker who has few to zero options. The US economy is built on the back of exploited immigrants to allow you cheaper prices at the grocery store and when you buy just about any product made in the US. Think about that next time you buy your fruits and veggies or a pair of pants.

    As for you bucs…you have a lot of nerve calling anyone an alien. I guess your stepdad’s family were also “illegal aliens”. I doubt they got their paperwork all nice and done 100yrs ago.

    You seem to forget the only true “americans” are the Native Americans from whom your european ancestors stole the land. Unless you have Native American ancestry everyone is an immigrant from their roots. Deny it all you want.

    And California was once part of Mexico. But I guess ignorance is the most common disease in the US.

    As for mikea’s comment:
    “These rallies should have had bus-loads of federal agents rounding up and deporting ever illegal alien attending the rally.”

    Wow! You are the face of racism at it’s worst! You were the same type of person asking for segregation in the 60’s. Please do yourself a favor and jump off a cliff, or at least go get an education.

    Thanks Thomas Hawk for your educated, insightful point of view.

    Unfortunately, the US has a long way to go before ignorance and racist opinions go away.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    “I’m tired of that “jobs that Americans won’t do” line.”

    “Jobs Americans won’t do?

    Try Me, I work my butt off to care for my family and people have the nerve to imply that I’m the lazy one?”

    Bruce and Bucs Fan. At least in the San Francisco Bay Area I’m doing work on my house right now. Most of the work is demolition, painting, plastering, not super sophisticated work.

    If I go down to Berkeley where the folks wanting work hang out they are all latino. I feel that the $12 an hour I pay them for unskilled labor is a fair wage. It is certainly better than the minimum wage. And yet there are no Americans who want to do this job for me. There are no Americans down there hanging out looking for work. Sure, I could hire a contractor and pay him $100,000 to do work on my house but I don’t have that kind of budget to spend. Which is why I’m trying to act as my own contractor.

    Americans, by and large, are not hanging out anywhere waiting for day labor. They are also not knocking on my door asking for housecleaning work or gardening work. At least not in the Bay Area where I live.

    And bucs fan. I never implied that you were lazy. Because Americans don’t want to paint at my house for $12 an hour in the Bay Area doesn’t have anything to do with your personal work ethic. If you are working your butt off you are obviously not lazy.

    There are lots of non-lazy Americans looking for work. But, by and large, these people want real (and mostly eaiser) jobs. They want to be managers at the Gap or Construction foremen. They don’t want to work on Saturday and Sunday. And they are not sitting out on the corner by the Home Depot wanting to come help you build your deck out in the hot sun on a Sunday afternoon.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “I feel that the $12 an hour I pay them for unskilled labor is a fair wage. It is certainly better than the minimum wage. And yet there are no Americans who want to do this job for me.”

    Then it is NOT a fair wage.

    Thanks for contributing to the problem.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thomas,

    Your statement basically proves Bruce’s point that “they’ll do the jobs for a lot less than Americans would expect to be paid to do them.”

    Now think about why this is the case. Could it be that they aren’t paying for health insurance? They aren’t paying taxes? Maybe doing without safety equipment like painter’s masks?(you may be providing the safety equipment for them, but not everybody would). And of course they aren’t carrying any type of contractor’s insurance (You better hope they don’t get hurt on the job.)

    Now take it a step farther. What about the person/business willing to pay only $4 an hour to an illegal immigrant. Do you think this is okay? I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet you support a minimum wage or maybe even a living wage. Do you think illegal immigrants should be excluded from this?

    In a nutshell, just because you think $12 is a fair wage, that isn’t necessarily the case. It may very well be a fair wage for someone to take home $12 an hour as a painter, but any legitimate worker doesn’t have the luxury to collect the entire $12 because of the expenses mentioned above.

    And if we do make these “illegal” immigrants into “legal” workers, we’ll have to give them the same protections as everybody else (rightfully so) and their wage will increase to be on par with Americans that are already here.

    Also, do you really think that your only choices are to hire someone in the Home Depot parking lot or pay a contractor $100,000? Open your phone book and you’ll find hundreds of options that lay somewhere in between.

  8. Malcolm says:

    I’m not surpised that white folk won’t admit to the fact all white people, to N.America, were at one time aliens and in the eyes of N.American native Indians illegal aliens.
    Malcolm
    Harpoville Post

  9. Bucs Fan says:

    Thank you Thomas for your elegant and respectful reply to my comment. I think your reply really pin-points the problem. I grew up in the mostly abandoned region of mid-Michigan. Where I’m from, you would have no problem getting help with physical labor for $6/hr, not even $12. I think this just displays the unfortunate gap the exist between California, New York, and the rest of the country. I guess there in the bay area, people feel they’re entitled to make a decent wage, as where I’m from people don’t feel they’re entitled to much, they’re just happy to get what they can.

    And about that comment calling me a racist. If I was a racist I’d have a major identity crisis because I have pretty much every race in my ancestory and my best friend is a Tanzanian immigrant (who went through years of paper work and process to do it legally). I personally have no problem with illegal aliens, I have a problem with people breaking laws and getting away with it. I would love to see every person with a clean criminal history at these immigration rallies become citizens, but I want to see them do it the right way, not by butting their way into the front of the line when there are a lot of people that are trying to get here legally.

    This issue has nothing to do with the people involved, it has to do with being able to have secure borders. We have to know who is here, and why they’re here. September 11th was less than five years ago, and people have already forgotten how dangerous our lack of border security really is.

  10. Leng says:

    If I was in San Francisco, I would be part of that protest myself. HR4437 doesn’t make sense. It’s not economically feasible to pass legislation that convicts and jails illegal immigrants who are currently within U.S. borders as felons. I can understand legislation that attempts to tighten borders and prevent FUTURE illegal immigrants from arriving but trying to back paddle and fix something that’s already very much part of this country is a waste of time and money. It also adds paranoia and fear among the population. People will be afraid to help each other for fear that one of them might be convicted if the other is an illegal immigrant – “aiding and abetting” as the legislation puts it.

    I do not know enough about how illegal immigrants impacts the U.S. job market to comment on this point. But deporting all those who are currently here is not a viable solution. What do those who favor it see as the benefits? Will it create more jobs for Americans? Will it raise wages? Will it enable corporations to operate more efficiently? …. Or is this all just for show and tell?

  11. Ron H says:

    “Then it is NOT a fair wage.

    Thanks for contributing to the problem.”

    No, the problem is that in my shop, I am forced by the US and NY governments to pay for workers compensation insurance for all of my workers, to pay for their social security taxes, to pay health insurance premiums for them, and disability insurance for them. Those fees are before we even get to their actual wages.

    These costs come directly from our bottom line. Margins are now razor thin, and because our country competes on a global playing field, raising prices isn’t an option. A shipment of goods from China can come from a shop where the employers are not burdened with any of these costs, while also enjoying the benefit of paying much lower wages than even our illegal aliens receive in the US. How can I compete with Chinese goods when our government insists on burdening me and other small business owners with these fixed costs?

  12. “I guess your stepdad’s family were also “illegal aliens”. I doubt they got their paperwork all nice and done 100yrs ago.”

    Heh. Well, let’s see. *MY* parents were born here. THEIR parents were born here. THEIR parents emigrated here from various locations around the beginning of the 20th century. Legally.

    Racism is the cry of the small-minded troll who has no real arguement, but can’t stand losing.

    Oh, and my great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side? Cherokee. Thenkyewveddymuch, buh-bai!

  13. Anonymous says:

    @Bruce Anderson

    I guess all that makes you an excellent candidate for the KKK or any other race supremacy silly movement 🙂

  14. This sort of anonymous ad hominem attack is a standard trick employed by folks who haven’t-and can’t-win an argument based in fact.

    Good luck with that, by the way.

  15. Thomas Hawk says:

    I do think $12 is a fair wage to pay someone to paint in my house. Others may not. And I do support a minimum wage — which $12 is certainly higher than in California.

    Of course the expense associated with all of the various legal mumbo jumbo crap is saved so that makes it cheaper to hire and certainly the fact that most don’t pay taxes on this money also makes it worth more.

    I have no problem with this though. I feel that these people are mostly poor and I’m helping them. They are hard workers and do good work and are happy to work on weekends when I’m around the house.

    I have, by the way, gone to the yellow pages in the past to look to hire painters (as we know that they are not down at the Home Depot waiting to pick up work) and have been generally unsatisfied with the results.

    First off you have to deal with crazy over the top bids. It probably cost me $3,000 in labor and materials to have my house painted by the guys down at the home depot. For the same painting job I’ll get bids of $20,000 or more. Part of the problem is that I live in a reasonably affluent area and I think in general painting services think that since people live in affluent areas that they could and should pay more.

    But $20,000 is ridiculous. Secondly you have to deal with attitude. I had one painter who was a real pain the ass. The guy hounded me when I wouldn’t give him the over priced work and kept arguing how much better his painting was and how professional he was. The estimate was a huge chore with this guy bemoaning all the difficult aspects of painting my last house, shaking his head and in the end getting upset with me.

    Obviously my experience is unique to me but I have no ethical problem hiring someone and paying them $12 per hour to paint and I actually feel better that I’m helping someone who probably needs it the most out.

  16. Anonymous says:

    @Bruce Anderson

    Yep, keep telling yourself that and maybe one day it will come true.

  17. Bender says:

    @Bruce Anderson
    “Racism is the cry of the small-minded troll who has no real arguement, but can’t stand losing.”

    Wow, do you really believe all that!? That’s harsh. I mean, in some cases it’s true but making such generalization about certain races makes you seem more like a prejudiced/ignorant smug.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I fully agree with the person/comment above.

    Bruce, get your head out of your a**. From looking at your ugly mug in the picture, you are about as pasty white as it gets. Where the hell do you get off saying a single word about racism when you have no clue about it? You’re pasty white!! You have no clue and even worse, you’re too ignorant to know when too keep your mouth shut about things you don’t know anything about.

    Fair enough, if you do have immigrant ancestors, then you yourself are an “alien” in one way or another, so I was pointing out how strange it is you write “ILLEGAL ALIENS” in big capital letters when you are from partly immigrant ancestors.

    Don’t you get it??!! 100yrs. doesn’t make any difference, regardless of how much you want to hide behind your KKK mask.

    It’s pathetic to hear your try to dismiss anyone’s claim about racism…I suppose you also think racism isn’t a problem in the US or perhaps doesn’t even exist in your eyes right?

    Keep living in ignorance if you wish. But for god’s sake at least go get a tan pasty white boy!

  19. Eloise says:

    Only Native Americans have any right to call anyone else “illegal immigrant”. If you are not Native American, and you would know if you were and know which tribe, you should not be going around calling other people “illegal” since you, yourself, are descended from “immigrants.” It just may so happen that your ancestors immigrated back in the days when there were fewer restrictions on immigration.
    Also, people you are calling “illegal immigrants” are in reality, HALF NATIVE AMERICAN. “Half-breeds” or “mestizos.” And just like I said above, Native Americans can never be “illegally” on OUR OWN CONTINENT.
    You keep calling people whose ancestors were here when yours got here, “illegal immigrants.”
    The problem starts at the beginning…with your definition of, apparently, half-Native-Americans as “illegal immigrants” in the first place. That’s where you start out wrong.
    You’re talking about trying to pass laws to keep Native Americans off of OUR OWN LAND.
    There are already treaties on the books that say that Native North American Indians have the right to live and work on any part of North America as it is and has been for 10,000 years, OUR LAND; and you would have the US violate those treaties and instead treat some Native Americans as “illegal” on what is actually their own land in the first place.
    Stupid gringos.