Unfortunately, this has gotten the xenophobes very worked up. The Austin newspaper opened an online comments forum which, within a few hours, before the thing was closed to further expression of deranged opinion, was inundated with vitriol like that below. (I have tried to choose a representative sampling.) This from one Hugo:
WE NEED TO SECURE OUR SOUTHERN BORDERS AGAINS ALL ILLEGAL AILENS FROM ENTERING. IF CAUGHT NO NICE TREATMENT, SEND THEM BACK ASAP DRIVE THEM TO THE BORDER AND SEND THEM ON THEIR WAY. BUILD A WALL TAX US TO PAY FOR IT, ARM OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH THE MEANS TO DEFND OUR COUNTRY.
Kevin fears an agenda of "reconquest":
This is less a matter of immigration and more of a reconquista. Those carrying Mexican flags demonstrate this vividly.
A lady concerned with hair dye says:
i cant stand the fact that over the years our crime rate has jumped up so high because of mexicans and illegals coming into our country...they arent nice to us and cause us soo many problems with taxes and welfare they are getting that its running the TRUE americans into the ground each and every day!! I have to pay taxes for someone who sits on ones a*s and does nothing all day but dish out babies and is getting money from our government for it. HOW IS THAT FAIR? come on people! how can we call it right to have illegals in our country. come to america and LEARN english NOT SPANISH!!! i hate the fact that over the past 20 years man there use to be no spanish on any of the boxes of hair dye that i buy. now there is a two sided portion for them. they call them selves americans?
Get them out, at least now if you ever have to go to the hospital you won’t have to wait 2-3hrs behind familys of illegal mexicans w/ no insurance and no intent to pay the bill.
And so on, and so forth--there were 146 comments, almost all like this, within a few hours.
Now it's easy to make fun of these sad illiterates, but this outburst of dementia and hatred is a measure of how the GOP kulturkampf project has prospered, and of Republican success in poisoning the well of reason in the minds of the Left-Behind, casualties of the headlong Republican dash toward a final closure of middle-class opportunity. It's quite a trick for Bush and company to screw people who had thought opportunity was their birthright as Americans--but who will never have a better job than the one they now have at Walmart--and then get them to blame immigrants for their straitened lives, instead of Republicans. But fascism is a one-trick pony, and this is that trick.
It's like Republicans have managed to herd most of their true victims into the supersized debtor's prisons called the red states, dressed the residents in clown suits, and implanted irrationality chips under all the fright wigs such that even the sight of idealistic young protesters provokes automatic outrage, frenzy, and an indignation that outreaches its verbal resources, if not coherence itself. Thus we now see, in the online forum quoted above, and I am sure in many other venues, including the US Congress, what happens when your brains get sucked out by patriotism. All the clowns rush into the center ring in red, white, and blue greasepaint, rending their clothes, with pratfalls and a great flapping of floppy shoes and honking of red rubber noses. Meanwhile the Republicans rulers of the country remain far from trouble behind by the phalanx of crazed caricature-citizens rushing in the wrong direction howling for not-so-virtual blood.
The top-hat-magician wonder of fascism is how a cheap trick will fool the crowd every time, how a cloud of stage-smoke and a loud drumroll of my-country-right-or-wrong rhetoric will invariably reveal--standing bewildered, when the smoke clears, before an audience that goes nuts--a scapegoat.
I dunno if Republicans will use their lowest-common-denominator politics to win on this once again. If past success is any indication, they will end up somehow benefitting from the issue. But I guess I am still optimistic enough to hope that common sense, rationality, and ordinary decency will again reassert itself, and that eventually their cheap tricks will fail to work. Clearly, the cheap tricks failed to impress a lot of young people. That's encouraging.