Immigration debate wasn't colorblind

Immigration debate wasn't colorblind (by Ruben Navarrette - 7.29.07)

SAN DIEGO -- The winners write the history. And now that border restrictionists have won the battle to scuttle immigration reform, the history that many are desperate to write is that the debate was colorblind.

Really. The restrictionists and those pundits who have taken up their cause claim that race and ethnicity aren't even part of the discussion and that those who oppose giving illegal immigrants a shot at legal status would feel the same way if the immigrants were coming from Canada instead of Mexico. They say their concerns are limited to border security and the rule of law, and have nothing to do with nativism or xenophobia. And they reject any suggestion that the debate was hostile to Hispanics.

And, as I travel the country speaking to Hispanic groups, one thing I hear is that "anti-immigrant" rapidly morphed into "anti-Hispanic" and specifically "anti-Mexican."
This is the fable being spun by CNN's Lou Dobbs, a commentator labeled by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt as "the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans." In recent days, Dobbs has argued that the Senate compromise died because Americans of all colors dispassionately concluded that it was bad for the country. Racism played no role, he insists.

Most Hispanics feel differently. I've seen three surveys, including one by the Pew Hispanic Center, where majorities of Hispanics say that the immigration debate has led to an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment. And, as I travel the country speaking to Hispanic groups, one thing I hear is that "anti-immigrant" rapidly morphed into "anti-Hispanic" and specifically "anti-Mexican."

I get evidence of that every day in my e-mail. Just last week, after I defended the prosecution of two Border Patrol agents, a reader called me a "dirty Latino" who needs to get "back to Mexico." Another writer called me an "anchor baby" -- the term used by nativists to describe the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States. Never mind that I was born in the United States and my parents were born in the United States. What I see here is racism.


Report reveals discrimination against Latino workers

A new survey, Diversity in the Workplace (Report reveals discrimination against Latino workers, La Tribuna Hispana USA via IPA - 7.3.07), found that one-third of respondents had suffered discriminatory practices at work.

In accordance with the anti-Latino campaigns of the right, the survey found that Latinos are under siege in the American workplace, too. Here are some of the survey findings:

1) 15% of Latinos said that they have received a racist insult at work.
2) 25% of Latinos feel he or she is paid less and has fewer possibilities to progress in his or her career, compared to their white colleagues.
3) 26% of Latinos rank as serious discrimination or unequal treatment they've suffered.
4) 29% of Latinos say they suffer discrimination or unequal treatment at least once a week; 18% indicated that it occurs once a month; and 31 percent said that it occurs one to three times a year.

The most frequent discriminatory or unjust practices report by Latinos include:

1) not receiving credit for one’s own work (53 percent)
2) colleagues talking about fellow workers behind their backs (41 percent)
3) not receiving raises or bonuses (38 percent)
4) having concerns dismissed or not taken seriously (37 percent)
5) feeling that one’s ideas and opinions are generally ignored (34 percent)
6) being passed over for raises (32 percent).
7) paid less than their white colleagues, despite having the same skills and experience (22%)

Sound familiar? Had Enough? Join with us and sign the ¡Ya basta! Petition.


Hall of Shame: D.A.King, Founder of American Resistence

A leader of Georgia’s nativist movement, and founder of an anti-Latino organization, American Resistence, D.A. King propagandizes against what he calls "Georgiafornia" on the racist hate site, VDARE, named for the first white child born in America, Virginia Dare. Southern Poverty Law Center


A Black Man's View of Anti-Latino Racism

Another Side to Race and Immigration (by Bill Fletcher, Jr., Black Commentator - 7.26.07)

What is odd is that many African Americans ignore the reality of this racialization.
It really hit me in the 1980s while living in Boston. At that time the southern Irish economy was a complete mess. People were the greatest export from Ireland, and a lot of them were coming to the USA. At the same time, immigration from Haiti and the Dominican Republic was increasing, and into Boston these three groups came.

Documented or undocumented all three groups found themselves looking for work and housing. As a struggle for the rights of immigrants and against discrimination emerged, Haitians and Dominicans began to coalesce, but the Irish were a bit stand-offish. Immigrant rights activists were at first perplexed until they uncovered that the Irish were being encouraged by Irish American politicians to keep themselves separate from other immigrant groups because it was likely that a ‘special’ deal could be cut for them.

To put it another way, the Irish were being trained to become and accept becoming white.



Hall of Shame: Pat Buchanan, Conservative Commentator

Immigrants will dilute the white race: If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. Buchanan - 2006

Hall of Shame: Robert Vasquez, Former Canyon County Commissioner, Idaho, Republican

"We're being invaded by Mexicans -- they are the enemy, as far as I'm concerned." Vasquez - 2005


Hall of Shame: Lou Dobbs, CNN Commentator

"Dobbs is a favorite on white supremacist websites that cater to klansmen and other lowlife."

Ruben Navarette, Jr., San Diego Union Tribune

Hall of Shame: Heather MacDonald, John M. Olin fellow, Manhattan Institute

"[T]he Hispanic baby boom is certain to produce more juvenile delinquents, more school failure, more welfare use, and more teen pregnancy in the future." MacDonald - 2006

Hall of Shame: Tom Tancredo, U.S. Representative, R-CO

"He's got the best track record in Congress," raves Gordon Baum, head of the Council for Conservative Citizens, a "pro-white" group that lauds Tancredo for protecting America from a "full-scale invasion" of Latin immigrants. Rolling Stones Magazine - 2006

Hall of Shame: Steve Levy, NY's Suffolk County Executive, Democrat

On November 25, 2008, LatinoJustice filed a complaint with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division against Suffolk County government on behalf of the county's Latino residents for violating their rights to equal protection and fomenting a climate of intimation, fear and hate.

The effect of this inadequate, discriminatory treatment has been to allow crimes against Latinos to flourish.
The complaint linked here does a very good job of detailing Mr. Levy's lead role in a promoting a hostile environment -- leading to numerous attacks on Latinos and culminating in the murder of Marcelo Lucero.

Hall of Shame: Lou Barletta, Mayor of Hazelton, PA, Republican

We Must Respond to the Lies

Editorial: We Must Respond to the Lies (La Opinión, Editorial, Translated by Elena Shore - 7.27.07)

Traducción al español

LOS ANGELES – During the immigration reform debate, radio commentators and propagandists mascarading as news programs, like CNN’s Lou Dobbs, stoked resentment towards undocumented immigrants, repeating lies and perpetuating hateful images.

The defeat of the comprehensive and humane changes to immigration laws was the triumph of a deafening slander that never met much resistance.
This outcome forces us to think of the strategy for the next steps toward an immigration reform that considers legalization for the millions of working families who, from the shadows of illegality, contribute to the well-being of Americans. This year the topic of immigration reform in Washington is dead, despite attempts by a group of Republican senators to revive only the most restrictive clauses, and by piecemeal provisions that deserve to succeed, introducing the bills AgJobs and the DREAM Act in budget-related measures.

However, the discussion on immigration should continue, because anti-immigrant sentiment grows daily across the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that 48 bills were introduced this year that restrict the activity of the undocumented, while locally more than 100 ordinances were introduced last year.

The failure of reform has aggravated this negative trend, as anti-immigrant forces capitalize on people’s frustration with Congress. A law approved in Arizona, for example, prohibits employers from hiring undocumented immigrants. Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano said she enacted the law after Congress failed to act on immigration reform.

Fortunately, the courts are setting things right for the time being. Yesterday, the anti-undocumented ordinance approved in Hazleton, Penn. was declared unconstitutional. The federal judge kept an unjust law off the books. But the responsibility to promote a just law falls on the shoulders of the immigrant and Latino community. The marches were impressive; the collection of signatures demonstrated that getting out the vote is crucial for the future. However, there was no response to the hysterical lies promoted by conservative hosts on talk radio.

The repeated lies – from comparing the law to an amnesty, to blaming undocumented immigrants for all the ills of society – were not challenged at the same level, and they convinced thousands to pressure their senators to reject reform.

The lesson is that we must to respond to these talk shows, unite in an effort to confront them concretely and not allow this to happen again.


U.S. District Judge James Munley's Ruling Against the Hazelton Anti-Latino Codes

The following is the conclusion to U.S. District Judge James Munley's ruling against the Hazelton's so-called Illegal Immigration Relief Act:

Whatever frustrations officials of the City of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the City from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme. Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton’s measures, the City could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not.

The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. In that way, all in this nation can be confident of equal justice under its laws.

Hazleton, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such people, as well as others within the community. Since the United States Constitution protects even the disfavored, the ordinances cannot be enforced.

Hazelton, PA Mayor Louis Barletta's Anti-Latino Housing Codes Struck Down


The AP is reporting today (July 26, 2007) that Hazelton, Pennsylvania's anti-immigrant law has just been struck down by a federal judge.

Hazelton's Republican mayor Louis Barletta pushed through a housing law intended to make it unlawful for "illegal" immigrants to live in Hazelton. The result however was that the laws and their enforcement has had a detrimental impact on all Latino residents, including legal immigrants as well as U.S. citizens of Puerto Rican heritage.

Judge: Defendant seems to argue that the law is constitutional because it is aimed at illegal aliens who have no right to be in the United States. Defendant’s position fails to acknowledge that the law will affect more than illegal aliens. It will affect every employer, every employee who is challenged as an illegal alien and every prospective employee especially those who look or act as if they are foreign.
Since many other towns adopted the Hazelton anti-immigrant housing codes, it's expected that those other laws will also be challenged.

Exposing MSM message board venom?

John Lamb said...

Interesting idea - do you think it could also work against the venom on comment boards run by mainstream media?

American Taíno said...

Absolutely! It would rightly cause a firestorm if any so-called mainstream media allowed boards laced with anti-Jewish or anti-black bigotry. But as long as people remember to insert "alien" or "illegal", the most despicable, racist rants are then viewed as acceptable commentary. That's wrong and it should be challenged everywhere!

Melanie Morgan and Lee Rodgers of KSFO

SaintInHumanBody said...




Ya Basta! Time to hit back against anti-Latino bigotry

Time to hit back against anti-Latino bigotry (by Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald - 7.22.07)

Here is what the National Council of La Raza -- the biggest U.S. Hispanic organization -- should do at its annual meeting in Miami this week: draw from the experience of African Americans and Jewish Americans by launching an all-out campaign to expose anti-Latino bigots in the media, entertainment and politics.

The recent immigration debate in the Senate, which ended with the defeat of a bill that would have given a path to citizenship to many of the 12 million undocumented workers, has given way to the biggest explosion of antiHispanic sentiment I have seen since I arrived in this country three decades ago.

Most Hispanics feel the same way. A new nationwide poll by Bendixen and Associates says 76 percent of U.S. Hispanics agree with the statement that ''anti-immigrant sentiment is growing in the United States,'' and 62 percent say this phenomenon has directly affected them or their families.

Few Hispanics believe statements by rabid antiimmigration radio and television hosts who say they only oppose ''illegal immigration.'' When asked what fuels the current anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, 64 percent of Hispanics in the poll mentioned one factor: ``racism against immigrants from Latin America.''

Indeed, in recent times we have heard statements on radio and television that go far beyond the boundaries of fair debate over the need to fix the U.S. immigration system, and that twist the facts in ways that make it difficult to believe in the good faith of those who make them.

It's not just what fearmongers such as CNN's Lou Dobbs or radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage allow to be said in their shows, which systematically blame Hispanics for many of America's ills. Prominent academics such as Harvard University political scientist Samuel Huntington are getting away with sweeping statements such as ``America's Latino immigration deluge . . . constitutes a major potential threat to the cultural and possibly political integrity of the United States.''

While the 44 million Hispanics are the biggest minority in America, you don't see the kind of nationwide protests, legal actions or calls for boycotts on a scale that you would probably see if these statement were directed against African Americans or Jewish Americans.

When you visit the website of the NAACP, one of the first things you see is an 'NAACP `Stop' Campaign'' headline, which is a call to action against racism in the media.

The NAACP and other African American groups regularly launch name-and-shame campaigns, and most recently forced the firing of radio host Don Imus over an April comment calling the Rutgers University women's basketball team ``nappy-headed hos.''

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been exposing racism in the media since 1913.

But when you go to The National Council of La Raza's website, you don't find a similar emphasis on fighting bigotry. The group's main theme is ''Ya es hora!,'' a voter registration drive conducted alongside the Spanish-language Univisión network and other Latino organizations aimed at adding two million new Hispanic votes for the 2008 election.

La Raza President Janet Murguia conceded in an interview Friday that Hispanics need to do more to fight back against bigotry in the media.

''We do need to rethink our strategy; there is no question about it,'' Murguia told me.

``But the key change that we need to focus on is to make sure that we can influence the outcome of elections. Getting madder doesn't necessarily help, but getting smarter will help.''

My opinion: The National Council of La Raza and its sister institutions are doing the right thing with their ''Ya es hora!'' citizenship drive. But they should also launch a nationwide ''Ya basta!'' campaign to identify, name and shame those who systematically bash Hispanics.

If anti-Hispanic sentiment is allowed to keep growing, we will soon have an underclass of 12 million immigrants that will feel not only frustrated by not having a legal path to citizenship but increasingly insulted by the mainstream media.

And social exclusion mixed with frustration can be a dangerous cocktail, as we've seen in the violent 2005 riots by Muslim youths in the suburbs of Paris.

The time for Hispanics to say ''Ya basta!'' is now, before it's too late.