May 2, 2008

Same Rally, Less Filled

Marc Comtois

The ProJo wonders why there are fewer immigrants showing up at immigrant rallies, but Rev. Robert Beirne, a priest at St. Anthony’s in Providence has the answer:

The estimated 300 people in attendance were but a fraction of the participation seen at immigration-rights rallies in years past.

“I’m very disappointed,” said the Rev. Robert Beirne, a Roman Catholic priest at St. Anthony’s in Providence. “Two years ago, there were tens of thousands of people who were proud to be here. Look at this turnout. I think people are afraid.”

In 2006, as many as 20,000 people participated at a State House rally designed to showcase the positive social and economic contributions of immigrants on International Workers’ Day. By last year, the number of supporters at a similar rally had dwindled to an estimated 500 to 700, following a raid two months earlier on a New Bedford factory, when 361 workers suspected of being in the country illegally were detained by federal officials.

Guess we know where the ProJo is leaning. How about this: maybe the immigrants aren't here anymore. Or maybe they've just moved on. You know, they've got better things to do, like work.

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I don't think it's fear of ICE.They would never bust a "civil rights" rally-too much potential bad press.I think it may be a realization or fear that maybe they overplayed their hand previously and the public isn't generally supportive of people without legal status demanding things.The demise of the Kennedy-McCain Bill and Pelosi's comment that immigration legislation won't be coming up again for a few years may have also dampened enthusiasm.The declining economy also is a bad time for people to look for sympathy.My point is that it probably is a confluence of reasons rather than a single one.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 2, 2008 3:31 PM

Last years rally only had about 300 attendees.There were approximately 200 immigrants,both legal and illegal,and 100 American radicals from Brown,the U S Communist party,the U S Socialist Party and a vendor from N Y selling foreign flags.Immigrants were waving flags from Columbia,Honduras,Guatemala,Mexico and a few U S flags.

Posted by: leprechaun at May 3, 2008 8:09 PM

I'm pretty sure the estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants in RI didn't just disappear overnight.

Rev. Beirne is likely right that they're too afraid to protest.

Probably because they don't want to get rounded up by Carcieri's gestapo and deported for the crime of cleaning some public toilets somewhere.

Posted by: Angry Citizen at July 19, 2008 12:44 PM
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