It’s unclear whether immigrants in Iowa will walk-out of work today, or stay on the job. This is the National “Day Without Immigrants” Mark Grey, a University of Northern Iowa professor who heads the Center for New Iowans, says Iowans will notice the walk-out. “I think we’re going to see a number of people not going to work. I think we’re also going to find a number of students who are not going to go to school,” Grey says.
“There are also schools like in Storm Lake, for example, where they’ve already informed the school administrators that they won’t be there and they’ve already made arrangements to accommodate that day.”
Grey predicts a number of small businesses owned by Latinos will shut down today, and a lot services will be shut down because of a lack of Latino labor. “Of course the whole point of this is to demonstrate to people throughout Iowa the growing importance of this population to our economy,” Grey says. “I would contend that there are a growing number of sectors of our economy that would fundamentally fall apart without these people.”
A lot of Latinos came to Iowa, initially, to work in meatpacking plants according to Grey but they’ve now diffused into the manufacturing industry, the service sector, hospitality businesses like hotels, the building trades and road construction. Grey says some of Iowa’s larger cities are also seeing large new neighborhoods of recent immigrants from Bosnia and the Sudan.
Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, has been advocating strict enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and construction of a fence along the U.S./Mexico border. King says he is “amazed” that immigrants will be walking out on their jobs today.
King says the strongest advocates for open borders and the strongest advocates for accommodations for illegal immigrants who’ve been living here are the Americans who employ the illegals, and the people who educate their children. “And yet they’d walk out of their jobs and walk out of the schools and boycott America to try to send a message, but they’re biting the hand that feeds them because the very people that employ them are the ones that they should be grateful for,” King says.
King will be in Washington, D.C. today where immigration marches are planned. So what will King ask a protester if he encounters one? “First of all, you know I’m not likely to be able to communicate with one of them but if I could, I’d ask them why they’re protesting against the United States. It’s the nation south of our border, apparently, that are the ones that are making it an unlivable place to live. Why don’t they protesting against (Mexican President) Vincente Fox?”
King questions what Mexico will do without the young people who are leaving and coming here to make a living. King also says the issue before Congress is not about legal immigrants, but what do to with those who enter, or have entered, the country illegally. King says he wonders what would May 1st look like if all illegal activities conducted by illegal immigrants were suspended. “No illegal border crossings. No drugs smuggled. No crimes committed,” King says.
King contends that if all illegals stopped what they were doing today, the supply of meth would be reduced by 80 percent, 12 U.S. citizens wouldn’t die at the hands of an illegal alien and 13 Americans wouldn’t die because of an illegal who’s driving drunk.