On May 1, protesters hit the streets of Washington, D.C., and several other major American cities to commemorate International Workers Day with a message against the “deportation machinery” of the federal government. This won’t be the first year activists used May Day to highlight the fight for the rights of illegal immigrants, laborers, and other supposedly-persecuted citizens of the world, but it is the first one of the Trump era, so to speak.
Perhaps not surprisingly, in light of that fact, there was more emphasis on illegal immigration this year than in year’s past, with many bringing signs and banners to their protests geared towards protecting the civil rights of undocumented workers.
In The Nation write-up prior to the event, writer Julianne Hing said that the protests had moved beyond a call for traditional reformation laws.
“Today, no one, not even immigrant-rights advocates, is calling for immigration reform anymore,” Hing wrote. “Immigrants and their allies are now defending civil rights like due process and values like democracy and inclusiveness. The policy agenda is no longer about winning citizenship or even legal status for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. It’s about defending families from separation.”
That phrasing, of course, makes it seem as though activists have given up all hope of amnesty, which is…well…disingenuous at best. Trump may have been elected, but we’re barely a year out from a Democratic primary debate that took place partially in Spanish where the candidate-to-be essentially promised that she would not deport any illegal immigrant that wasn’t actively involved in mass murder. We could pretend that the left has “learned their lesson” from last year’s failure, but does anyone really believe that for a minute? The Los Angeles Times ran a column this week urging Trump to revive the old Gang of Eight amnesty legislation! No lessons have been learned. Not one.
Of course, even with a renewed focus on illegal immigration, the protesters Monday managed to hit a number of other liberal causes as well. In New York, LGBT activists shouted, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous,” because, well, apparently they’re still being oppressed in some way. And in Philadelphia, approximately 1,000 teachers hit the streets with picket signs, using their sick days to protest against…well, whatever it is they’re against. Does it really matter?
And of course, the day comes and goes and nothing changes, because protesting doesn’t actually DO anything. Which, of course, is why so many liberals are drawn to it. It’s a social event. And, in many cases, it’s an excuse to skip work. So why not, right?
But VOTING…oh no, that’s too much. How dare you even ask…