The huge demonstrations expected today in Washington and elsewhere are a form of intimidation that the Congress is almost sure to cave in to. And the rhetoric of the left is adapting to maximize its presumed advantage in this fight.
Juan Williams’s op-ed in today’s WaPo is a very important escalation in this political war. He characterizes the demonstrations as evidence of an Hispanic “civil rights” movement. Williams is painting the illegal immigrant protests with the most invulnerable and inviolable label in American politics. To say that the illegals are demanding civil rights now as the blacks did in the 1960s and 1970s is Williams’s attempt to label any opponent of illegal immigration a racist. This is both false and libelous. Williams is guilty of more than just rhetorical excess. His column is nothing more than another attempt at intimidating the wobblies in Congress. And it may work.
The issue of illegal immigration is not a civil rights issue. The issue of civil rights for American citizens — as the blacks and other minorities suffering discrimination were — is entirely separate and distinct from consideration of granting citizenship, providing societal benefits and paying welfare costs for people who have come here illegally. This isn’t a civil rights movement we’re seeing on our streets today. This is a hard-nosed political threat aimed at those many in Congress who are so easily coerced.