The “Day Without Immigrants” From A Legal Immigrant Perspective
In spite of being an immigrant, my first reaction to the so-called “Day Without Immigrants” protest/boycott – which encourages the foreign-born not to attend school, go to work, or spend money on that day – usually consists of eye-rolling. That’s not because I’m a “self-hating immigrant.” I’m most certainly not. Rather, it is because the Day Without Immigrants is a divisive publicity stunt designed to misleadingly lump illegal aliens in with legal immigrants and push for amnesty – which is harmful to legal immigrants as much as to native-born Americans.
The Day Without Immigrants is not new. The name was influenced by the satirical movie A Day Without a Mexican (2004), in which all Mexicans in California suddenly disappear, leading to the rapid implosion of the state and its society and economy. Back in 2006, the first Day Without Immigrants took place on May 1 – which happened to be socialist International Workers Day – and was part of a major pressure campaign for amnesty. Not many people noticed. In 2017, the Day Without Immigrants took place in February and was primarily a protest against former President Trump and his immigration policies. Even fewer noticed.
This year, the Day Without Immigrants coincided with Valentine’s Day because, as one activist and organizer said, “11 million immigrants in the U.S. deserve the same love as everyone else,” by which she meant amnesty. This time, no one noticed. The organizer’s statement was a misleading yet typical reference to illegal aliens simply as “immigrants” – as if there was no difference between someone who followed the rules and someone who snuck in illegally. Her numbers were also wrong. FAIR estimated at the actual number of illegal aliens to be 14.5 million, even before the Biden Border Crisis.
This year’s Day Without Immigrants expressed the pro-illegal-alien lobby’s anger and disappointment at the failure of the Biden amnesty last year. This temper tantrum was coupled with complaints about the (very limited and reluctant) reinstatement of the “Remain in Mexico” anti-asylum-fraud policy, which Team Biden intends to scrap as soon as legally possible. In other words, the pro-amnesty activist crowd is unhappy that an administration that has largely dismantled our border security system hasn’t completely opened the Southwest border and adopted every single one of their radical, utopian proposals.
There is nothing wrong with recognizing and even celebrating the contributions made to this country by lawful immigrants. Indeed, immigrants should be contributing to their new homeland. The problem is that the organizers and sympathizers of the Day Without Immigrants love to push misleading statistics, such as highlighting the taxes paid by illegal aliens while ignoring the associated costs. In reality, once those costs are included, illegal immigration imposes a net annual fiscal cost of $134 billion.
Another issue is that the philosophy underpinning the Day Without Immigrants is deeply divisive as it attempts to pit the foreign-born against the native-born while simultaneously subordinating the interests of legal immigrants to those of immigration lawbreakers. And all of this is accompanied by a self-important, defiant sense of entitlement which demands that illegal aliens be absolved from the consequences of violating our laws and rewarded with amnesty. That is deeply unfair towards legal immigrants, not only because they immigrated the right way, but also because they would shoulder the costs of amnesty – from increased job competition to growing fiscal burdens – as much as native-born Americans. Perhaps the “Day Without Immigrants” should be renamed the “Day Without Illegal Aliens” since the organizers seem to care far more about the unlawfully present than those who came to the United States the legal way.