It isn’t just about illegal immigration

29 04 2008

This is an article by Ruben Navarrete a nationally syndicated columnist and writer for the San Diego Tribune, that reflects the feelings of many US citizens of Hispanic/Latino ancestry.

U.S.-born Latinos in America are fed up. They’re tired of the ugliness in the immigration debate, and they’re not buying the argument that it does not concern them.

Take it from Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization. She recently delivered a passionate and important speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Her topic: the immigration debate and what she labels a wave of hate sweeping the land – one that isn’t limited to illegal immigrants, or even immigrants in general, but that is now splattering onto all Hispanics regardless of where they were born, what language they speak or what flag they wave.

“Most Latinos aren’t immigrants,” she said. “More than 80 percent of Hispanics in this country are U.S. citizens or legal residents. But the truth is, Hispanics understand that this issue is about all of us.”

For some people it is just a matter of having a Spanish last name, having darker skin or “looking Mexican”, to label and discriminate against you. Most people unfairly assume that all Latinos are Illegal Immigrant and that all illegal immigrants are Latinos or Mexican.

Part of the problem is that the right-wingers weren’t content to just attack illegal immigrants. They had to attack an entire culture, which is shared by legal immigrants and U.S.-born Hispanics. And so, a discussion that should have been about exactly three things – improving border security, smoothing the path for legal immigrants, and deciding the fate of 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States – became about outlawing taco trucks, limiting the number of people in a home, blasting pizza parlors for taking pesos, banning Spanish-language library books, and other nonsense.

The way Murguia sees it, immigration is “on the verge of becoming one of the largest civil rights issues of our generation.”

But in this case Murguia has a point. An ethnic group that has always answered the call to duty, and which boasts a higher ratio of Medal of Honor recipients than any other, deserves better.

That’s what I’m hearing from many U.S.-born Hispanics. When they talk to me about the immigration debate, they condemn the hypocrisy of a society that is addicted to illegal immigrant labor but looks for others to blame for the addiction.

Read the rest of the article here

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