There's no business like show business—just ask Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
So impassioned is Hoyt (e-mail him) about the need to grant another amnesty to millions of wage thieves living within our borders that he participated in a demonstration he knew would get him arrested. And he was.
Surrounded by some of his supporters who share the view that immigration laws should apply to everyone except illegal aliens, Hoyt sat down during rush hour in the middle of Chicago's traffic-clogged Michigan Avenue. Cheering him along including Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval.
"I certainly deserved to get arrested," said Hoyt, who was given 800 words by the Chicago Tribune to tell readers how he was trying to draw attention to how hard life is for those who mock U.S. law but now find the American dream elusive. [I went and got myself arrested, By Joshua Hoyt, Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2004 (Pay archive)]
Hoyt's self-serving account of events also included a photo of himself looking directly into the camera, wearing a big smile and pumping a clenched fist into the air.
Like the smooth-talking snake oil salesmen of long ago, Hoyt talks the talk about improving the lives of "this nation's working poor." But if this were true, why then wasn't he protesting against what mass immigration is doing to our own working poor and the lower middle class?
What's become of their "search for a better life" as the result of the unending torrent of cheap foreign labor? (And now, we recently learned, Hispanics themselves have become victims of our unmanageable immigration policy. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Latino wages in the first quarter fell nearly 4 percent from the same period a year ago.)
"The American Dream is shattering," said Arturo Sanchez, a professor with the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment. "Latino immigrant workers do not have the same upward mobility that immigrants of the past have had."
Although I have long been an immigration reform activist in Chicagoland, Hoyt and I have never met. But he told Tribune columnist Eric Zorn early this year that I am "the darkest and most humorless" of his ideological foes. (Read Zorn's Jan. 13 column, Immigration policy critic a force of one, that kicked off an online debate between Hoyt and myself in Zorn's "Rhubarb Patch.")
I took Hoyt's evaluation of my personality as a compliment. I see no humor in Hoyt's connivance to aid foreign governments—above all, Mexico's—in their efforts to circumvent our immigration laws and undermine our sovereignty.
Hoyt's ICIRR is not modest about promoting itself as the state's leading champion of illegal aliens. Last year it was active in pushing for state tuition for illegals (enacted in spring 2003). But it has twice failed to get the Illinois General Assembly to approve bills that would award driver's licenses to the estimated 500,000 "undocumented" workers living in Illinois.
Hoyt's group also is very careful about revealing to the outside world its activities that might be at odds with its stated mission of protecting the rights of (legal) immigrants and (legal) refugees.
Take, for example, the ICIRR's "immigration summit" held Jan. 22 in suburban Arlington Heights. Among the invited (and paying) attendees was a moderate Republican legislator, state Senator Rep. Paul Froehlich.
When Froehlich attempted to attend a breakout session dealing with ICIRR's efforts to advance legalization legislation, he said one of Hoyt's henchmen asked him to leave the room (he did) because his presence "might make some in the room nervous."
The ICIRR is funded with the help of a greedy and unprincipled business community. Some of Chicago's largest corporations comprise the membership of the Donors Forum of Chicago, which has given $100,000 to ICIRR for its Legalization Project.
Corporate funding for ICIRR is Hoyt's least favorite discussion topic. He has yet to use his opportunity to get in the last word of our online "Rhubarb Patch" debate. More than three months have passed since I submitted my final installment questioning him on where his money comes from.
But it appears that Hoyt has taken the coward's way out by walking away from my challenge.
I'm not surprised. By openly supporting illegal immigration, Hoyt has already abandoned millions of his hard-working fellow-Americans in Illinois.