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EDITORIAL: May Day malaise
Job-seeking Americans aren’t buying amnesty for illegals
May 1 brought marches and rallies to commemorate International Workers' Day to nearly every corner of the globe. Yet even the left was unable to muster much enthusiasm for a socialist holiday that in the United States has morphed into an excuse to demand amnesty for those living and working in the country illegally. That's a message that few are buying when jobs are already in short supply.
In Los Angeles, the epicenter for the pro-amnesty push, only a few thousand people showed up for the city's May Day rally for celebrating the millions who hopped over the border in violation of the law, according to the Los Angeles Times. By contrast, around 60,000 marched a year ago when controversy was fresh over Arizona's new anti-immigration law. A gathering in New York on Sunday saw about a thousand rallying for more jobs and fewer deportations, reported the Associated Press.
Originally a celebration of spring, May Day was appropriated by the socialist movement in the 19th century. It has essentially become a second Labor Day where leftists seek a free pass for the multitudes who have snuck into this country. Big Labor's interest is obvious. The bosses want to boost union membership which has been in a freefall since its peak in the 1950s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 771,000 tore up their membership cards in 2008. Unions lost another 612,000 members in 2010, a drop in work force share from 12.3 percent to 11.9 percent.
Labor bosses have done the math and concluded that the millions of illegal workers in the United States represent their only hope for pulling out of the membership nosedive. Members mean money - dues for union coffers and higher salaries for bosses. Similarly, supportive politicians see illegals as a source for campaign donations and new votes.
Immigration-rights advocates had hoped congressional passage of the DREAM Act - which grants conditional permanent residency to certain deportable, illegal students - would establish a beachhead for amnesty. Since the bill's narrow defeat in December, the union-immigrant alliance has resorted to increasingly strident demands that President Obama take matters into his own hands. "The president can announce a policy of allowing DREAM Act-eligible young people to stay in America until Congress passes comprehensive immigration legislation," wrote AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in a Hill newspaper Op-Ed Thursday.
Liberal Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, speaking before a Chicago church coregation last month, called on the president to go even further. He urged Mr. Obama to go behind the back of Congress and grant blanket amnesty for all illegal immigrants through executive order.
It is characteristic of the left to promote the interests of favored subcultures over those of law-abiding working families. With 13.5 million Americans currently unemployed, a May Day message that would lead to even more competition for scarce jobs no longer resonates in Los Angeles, New York or anywhere in between.
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