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Immigrant Song 

It's not just the national anthem being sung in Spanish that's got anti-immigration folks riled up. Which side of the fence are you on?

Wednesday, May 10 2006
In December, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants and anyone who hires or assists them. As the legislation is debated in the Senate, the country — and especially California — has been roiled by the controversy over whether illegal immigrants should be granted some kind of amnesty or be prosecuted. On May 1, hundreds of thousands of pro-immigration protestors marched in a daylong boycott of businesses and schools, while anti-immigration protestors staged their own rallies and "spend-a-lot" events, encouraging Americans to display their patriotism through purchasing power. Although President Bush has suggested that a temporary "new worker program" would work, and a reformed immigration policy could address the issue without either blanket amnesty or prosecutions, anti-immigration groups and conservative politicians continue to press for mass deportations and fines. Are you an apologist for the immigration controversy? Take our quiz and find out!

1) The pro-immigration movement arose out of spontaneous protests against a legislative proposal that has been passed by the U.S. House and is currently under consideration by the Senate. The bill would make felons of illegal aliens and impose harsher penalties on people who employ and harbor them, and calls for the construction of new walls along 700 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. What impact do you think the legislation would have?

A) Gee, Orange County lawyers would have to stop hiring day laborers to help them move.

B) Impact? You mean on the midterm elections? (Bonus point for admitting you're a Republican strategist.)

C) It would return this country to the lofty, idealistic perch upon which our founding fathers built their most sturdy imperatives for a groundbreaking, all-inclusive democracy: Namely, we don't want your immigrants.

2) The "Great American Boycott" of May 1 was a mixed success, with little economic impact on the U.S. and even many pro-immigration figures unsure of whether to endorse the idea. What was most surprising to you about how the boycott turned out?

A) I learn much, much more when I don't go to school.

B) It's true — the Mission does have parking spots. I never thought I'd live to see them.

C) The lack of violence. There's no way you could get that many nationalistic white people in one place without a riot.

3) The AFL-CIO endorsed the boycott, with Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson saying, "We believe that there is absolutely no good reason why any immigrant who comes to this country prepared to work, to pay taxes, and to abide by our laws and rules should be relegated to this repressive, second-class guest worker status." Do you agree?

A) Well , sure ... as long as they're Eastern European.

B) That depends. Is tolerating polka music a deal-breaker?

C) Let me ask Ms. Chavez-Thompson a question: Were the 9/11 terrorists illegal immigrants? Okay, okay, so we let them in knowingly. Bad example.

4) The volunteer border security group the Minuteman Project, which launches citizen patrols along the Mexican border, has begun building a 6-foot-high barbed wire fence along the border in Arizona. Asked his opinion of the boycott and pro-immigration marches, Director Jim Gilchrist said, "It's intimidation when a million people march down main streets in our major cities under the Mexican flag. This will backfire." What's your response?

A) Relax, Jim. That was just a car.

B) I know, I know. And just think, 200 years ago, these were their major streets that they could march down under a Mexican flag. Can't see where the problem lies ...

C) I've been wondering: Is there perhaps another reason, Mr. Gilchrist, that you call yourself "The Minuteman?" Be honest.

5) Many people are opposed to amnesty because of the economic impact of illegal immigrants, or their children, who seek welfare or jobs that would otherwise go to American workers. On the list of the nation's gravest economic threats, where do you rank illegal immigration?

A) Right behind "white trash on welfare."

B) That depends ... do we count the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as separate? (Bonus point for adding: "And I'm not even trying to make a political statement. I'm just confused about the accounting.")

C) No. 1. When I'm gassing up my Hummer that I bought with the tax cut, I have to ask myself: "How did the economy come to this? How?"

6) The immigration debate has bled into other areas of pop culture, with pro-amnesty groups endorsing a new rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" sung in Spanish. What's your opinion about a new version of the national anthem?

A) I think it should be banned. Not because it's in Spanish, mind you, but because it's a truly dreadful piece of music written by a tone-deaf amateur poet.

B) Seriously. When Canada outclasses you in something, you know you have a problem.

C) That's it. We're stealing "Feliz Navidad" and doing it in English ... What's that you say? Oh, damn that Jose Feliciano. Damn him.

7) What would you like to see come out of this controversy?

A) Amnesty for illegal immigrants, as long as they never play Neil Diamond's "America" at a rally again.

B) The rest of the world just needs to find high-paying jobs like Americans do. Unless, of course, those jobs are outsourced from American companies. In that case, foreigners are still evil.

C) A big-ass fence. Hey, it worked in China.

How to score:

Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."

0-6 points: Why does it seem like Eric Estrada is the only guy who can work both sides of the border with no problem?

7-10 points: On the fence, huh? Just don't be there when The Minutemen come a-huntin'!

11-14 points: Congratulations! You're a true apologist for the immigration controversy. Next stop: The Midwest, where we can crack down on all those Indians who came over illegally on the "Land Bridge."

About The Author

Matt Palmquist


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