This column was written by Tom Tancredo.
What would a day without illegal aliens really be like? Let's try to imagine it.
On May 1, millions of illegal aliens working in meat-processing plants, construction, restaurants, hotels, and other "jobs Americans won't do" are supposed to stay home from work to show the importance of their labor to our nation's economy. Doubtless, there will be some inconvenience if that happens, but there is another side to the story that is not being reported.
We are talking about illegal aliens, not mere "immigrants." If legal immigrants stopped working for a day, we would miss the services of physicians, nurses, computer programmers, writers, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs of all stripes, and some airline pilots…as well as the CEO of Google. That would be more than an inconvenience, but it won't happen because legal immigrants are not out marching angrily for rights that are already protected by our courts.
But if illegal aliens all took the day off and were truly invisible for one day, there would be some plusses along with the mild inconveniences.
Hospital emergency rooms across the southwest would have about 20-percent fewer patients, and there would be 183,000 fewer people in Colorado without health insurance.
OBGYN wards in Denver would have 24-percent fewer deliveries and Los Angeles's maternity-ward deliveries would drop by 40 percent and maternity billings to Medi-Cal would drop by 66 percent.
Youth gangs would see their membership drop by 50 percent in many states, and in Phoenix, child-molestation cases would drop by 34 percent and auto theft by 40 percent.
In Durango, Colorado, and the Four Corners area and the surrounding Indian reservations, the methamphetamine epidemic would slow for one day, as the 90 percent of that drug now being brought in from Mexico was held in Albuquerque and Farmington a few hours longer. According to the sheriff of La Plata County, Colorado, meth is now being brought in by ordinary illegal aliens as well as professional drug dealers.
If the "Day-Without-an-Immigrant Boycott" had been held a year earlier on May 8, 2005, and illegal alien Raul Garcia-Gomez had stayed home and did not work or go to a party that day, Denver police officer Donnie Young would still be alive and Garcia-Gomez would not be sitting in a Denver jail awaiting trial.
If the boycott had been held on July 1, 2004, Justin Goodman of Thornton, Colorado, would still be riding his motorcycle and Roberto Martinez-Ruiz would not be in prison for killing him and then fleeing the scene while driving on a suspended license.
If illegal aliens stayed home—in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, and 100 other countries—the Border Patrol would have 3,500 fewer apprehensions (of the 12,000 who try each day).
Colorado taxpayers would save almost $3,000,000 in one day if illegals do not access any public services, because illegal aliens cost the state over $1 billion annually according to the best estimates.
Colorado's K-12 school classrooms would have 131,000 fewer students if illegal aliens and the children of illegals were to stay home, and Denver high schools' dropout rate would once again approach the national norm.
Colorado's jails and prisons would have 10-percent fewer inmates, and Denver and many other towns would not need to build so many new jails to accommodate the overcrowding.
Our highway patrol and county sheriffs would have about far fewer DUI arrests and there would be a dramatic decline in rollovers of vanloads of illegal aliens on I-70 and other highways.
On a Day Without an Illegal Immigrant, thousands of workers and small contractors in the construction industry across Colorado would have their jobs back, the jobs given to illegal workers because they work for lower wages and no benefits. (On the other hand, if labor unions continue signing up illegal workers, no one will be worrying about Joe Six-Pack's loss. Sorry, Joe, but you forgot to tell your union business agent that your job is as important as his is.)
If it fell on a Sunday, Catholic Churches in the southwestern states might have 20-percent fewer parishioners at Mass if all illegals stayed home, but they would be back next Sunday, so the bishop's job is not in danger. The religious leaders who send people to the marches and rallies will never fear for their jobs, because illegal aliens need their special "human-rights" advocacy and some priests and nuns seem especially devoted to that cause. The fact that most Catholics disagree with the bishops' radicalism doesn't seem to affect their dedication to undermining the rule of law.
All of this might be a passing colorful episode in the heated national debate over immigration policy if it weren't for an odd coincidence: The immigration-enforcement agency responsible for locating and deporting illegal aliens is also taking the day off today. Of course, they didn't call it a boycott. It is just (non)business as usual.
Tom Tancredo is a Republican congressman from Colorado.
By Tom Tancredo
Reprinted with permission from National Review Online