Knowing that I am an American of Mexican descent, you ask me with a scowling and suspicious look seemingly saying – let’s see if this guy is a true American so you ask: “Are you against illegal immigration?” The question begins in a mid 70 decibel scale, rising to over 80 decibels.
I answer, “Yes.”
Your scowl nearly disappears and in a moderate and steady voice, you ask: “Do you want illegal immigration to stop?”
“Yes, I do.”
Your face completely undergoes a change; you smile with approval thinking, “This guy is OK.” So you say: “Good, let’s throw their children out of school; and let’s deny the children of illegal aliens the right to birthright citizenship. That’ll stop any more free hand outs and make them go back to Mexico.”
And I say, “Whoa, there big-guy, whoa.”
It’s all down hill after that. Your scowl reappears, your voice raises to shouting decibels heavy with contempt, there is fire in your eyes, your teeth are gnashing and you now consider me a non patriot in fact, a traitor, a scum bag, an open border let them all come in promoter.
And I consider you a bigot, racist, nativist, ignorant beyond the limits of ignorance, pompously draped with the false mantle of patriotism and the American flag.
You shout, “What part of illegal do you Mexicans not understand?” Ah yes, I am no longer an American, a US citizens – now I am a Mexican. In your state of ignorance you have no idea that “Mexican” is a nationality not a race, and only citizens of Mexico have the right to that name.
I yell, “The Constitution is the highest law of the land. What part of Unconstitutional do you not understand? The Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, ruled that no child in the US can be deprived of an education – that was back in 1982 when Texas tried to do what you now propose – do you live so far in the woods that you haven’t got the word yet? And in 1868, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution clearly provides birthright citizenship to those born in the US- is your education so limited that you don’t know this?”
What you answered, I have no idea. I was no longer listening. What I answered, you have no idea; you’re no longer listening. We are shouting at each other, rambling on about the treachery to the nation, to the Constitution, to all things sacred to each of us – We walk away with contempt for each other.
Lost in the exchange and subsequent arguments were the initial questions, which in a broader sense is meant for all US-Hispanics, not just me. Are we as a majority against illegal immigration and would we like it stopped? I don’t believe I go on the limb suggesting that yes, as a majority we are in agreement.
What separates us in the proposed methods, distasteful rhetoric and draconian laws enacted by various states with long history of racial and ethnic discrimination? Hispanics of all colors are not willing to surrender their civil and constitutional rights at the altar of discrimination And most assuredly will resist any attempt at punishing children for the presumed misdeeds of one or both their parents.
Qualified and credible sources peg the illegal immigration population at 11.2-million with around 58 percent from Mexico and 9 percent from other Latin America countries totaling 7.5-million, a little under 3 percent of the better than 317-million US population.
How is it that 3 percent of the population mostly made up of low wage, manual labor workers, can be responsible for all the economic, unemployment and social disasters the US faces? Were such the case, the nation is in far deeper trouble than imagined. And why left out of the rhetoric are the other 3.7-million undocumented immigrants from countries other than Latin America and still claim racism is not in play?
To attempt changing the Constitution and once again attempt to deprive children of an education in lieu of enforceable immigration reform makes no sense to me. And frankly, I don’t understand how it can to anyone.
Though I recognize that we all tend to be clannish, we must ponder where the line to racism and its brethren, bigotry, cross? And as Hispanics, we must answer: were the target groups, other than Latin Americans, would our anger and repugnance be the same? Let’s pray we would.
Patrick Osio is Editor of HispanicVista.com (www.hispanicvista.com