Eliseo Medina, an organiser of the New York rally, said: "We march in the streets, but we will also march to the voting booth in November."Yes, I suspect Mssrs. Medina and Roebuck are correct -- there'll be votin'-a-plenty, legal or not. And where there's votin', there's panderin'.
The immigration issue is set to become a key one in the mid-term elections, with Latinos the nation's fastest-growing voting bloc.
The BBC's Americas editor, Simon Watts, says the millions of illegal immigrants are starting to form a major political movement.
But, he says, it is still in its early stages. No national leader has emerged and efforts to turn grassroots pressure into an organised voting bloc are just starting.
"The reason why they don't listen to many migrants is because they cannot vote. But hopefully that will change," Roland Roebuck, 58, a half-Puerto Rican man in Washington DC told the Reuters agency.
Senator Kennedy brought a tear to every eye as he invoked some good, creamy Ellis Island romanticism:
Senator Edward Kennedy echoed the Martin Luther King allegory when he addressed thousands in Washington.Well, that's one way to solve the problem of an invasion: redefine it as "immigration."
"It is time for Americans to lift their voices once again - this time in pride for our immigrant past and in support of our immigrant future," he said.
Of course, we're all thinking Mexicans here. But, if "being an American" (whatever that may mean, in our shining new future) is the right of every ambitious human on the planet, why stop there? Shouldn't we be thinking in terms of emptying Africa and Asia into this part of North America, too?
The time of nation-states is, perhaps, ending. And what's ending it, I think, is corporate globalism. A modern mega-corporation hasn't the slightest flavor of a nationality. Labor is fully fungible among the old "nations." The old default economic bulkheads that allowed one economy to be wealthier than another, and one standard of living to be higher than another -- tariffs and duties -- aren't a consideration when politicians are for sale at such reasonable prices. Corporations can either relocate work to low-wage regions, or drive down domestic wages by flooding the labor markets with (former) residents of those areas; both are easy, and both are being done rapidly.
There used to be a kind of consensus that immigration would be limited and controlled to serve the national interest. This is still true, I think. The trouble is that, in this day of corporate dominance, the "national interest" is being defined by people whose interests do not coincide with -- indeed, are positively inimical to -- the interests of the vast majority of Americans.
I do not foresee a pleasant outcome.