Immigration protests fall short of plan, still effective

More than 300,000 demonstrators in Los Angeles and more than 300,000 more in Chicago entered the streets with a common goal: to prove their worth to the American public.

On Monday, immigrants across the country marched in protest of the possibility of new, stricter immigration laws. There was an added element; immigrants were also instructed by immigration rights organizations to not go to work to prove how much their work affects the economy of this country. explained that organizers of the event predicted large turnouts to the rallies. However, the question remained, would immigrants really stay home from work and school?

On a larger scale, “Day Without Immigrants” protests across the nation did bring real focus on the issue. The attention did not come by the way of a huge dent in the U.S. economy, as some leaders within the immigrant community had hoped.

The immigrants in this country have already demonstrated their ability to organize and make their presence known, but this time around, they needed to prove their potential to impact the economy. The previous protests had massive amounts of people come out into the streets in all types of cities, and the government still failed to act. The immigrant population has a right to take these desperate actions. Large protests attract attention, but they don’t always get the job done.

And although there wasn’t a big effect on the economy as a whole, some areas with high Latino populations noticed smaller turnouts at schools and businesses. Some schools in California reported up to one-third of the students did not show up because of the boycott. Small businesses turned out to be the ones most dramatically impacted by workers staying at home. The economic impact cannot truly be determined, though most economists are doubting there will be any long-term effects.

Regardless of the fact that the economic factor of immigrants was not as strong, the protests were what really mattered. There was also a little something extra that those demonstrating proved. Not just Hispanics came out in support of the cause, but other ethnic groups showed more support than in the previous protests. The New York Times reported these rallies were able to spark wide-spread social actions that covered gay rights and the war in Iraq. At a time where apathy is running high, it’s good to see that not all have lost hope.

This is just one more action that should help prove to the U.S. government that immigrants matter, and they mean business.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.