Immigration and the Working Class

IMMIGRATION AND THE WORKING CLASS….When it comes to the immigration debate, anecdotal evidence is king. Did American flags outnumber Mexican flags at Monday’s May Day rallies? How many day laborers hang out at your local Home Depot? Did illegal immigrants really swarm into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and take all the plum construction job away from hard working natives?

With that in mind, here are your anecdotal tidbits for the day. First, from The New Republic, we plum the depths of Joe Sixpack’s psyche via the storylines of professional wrestling:

In the 1980s after the oil and hostage crises, Sgt. Slaughter battled the Iron Sheik. Three years ago, the “French” tag team La Resistance criticized the war on terror….Given this history and the recent immigration debate, one might expect equally cringe-worthy storylines involving Latinos.

But recently on “WWE Smackdown!” ? televised on UPN ? a crowd in Peoria, Illinois, cheered as the masked Rey Mysterio, in his soft, slightly squeaky voice, said his dream had come true: He’d just defended his title as world heavyweight champion ? making him the first Hispanic American to hold the strap. A few weeks later, Mysterio stood up for himself against a bullying Texan who mocked his origins and taunted, “Habla ingles?”

The crowds love him! Next up is the LA Times, which tells us what happened when the country’s most famous anti-immigration group tried to rally African Americans to their side:

The Minuteman Project, the self-proclaimed citizen border patrol that has emerged as a vocal opponent of illegal immigration, arrived in the heart of South Los Angeles on Wednesday hoping to recruit blacks to their cause.

But instead, they were met by protesters ? most of them African American ? who compared the group to the Ku Klux Klan and urged them to take their campaign elsewhere.

What does this all mean? I don’t know. But perhaps immigration from Mexico isn’t quite as unpopular with America’s working class as we’ve been led to believe?

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