Thursday, April 20, 2006

Random Thoughts On Immigration, Immigration Reform and What Not

Big Protests

The size of these massive protests all across the nation was breathtaking. Of course, the haters in the media were quick to throw out accusations about how "carefully orchestrated" and "planned" these demonstrations were. Anyone with half a clue about the main Latino organizations in many large cities would know what nonesense that is. Groups like La Raza and MALDEF are very good at lobbying on single issues, in fundraising, for educational campaigns towards communities, they do not have the mobilization ability, they are credited with. This all happened within such a short period of time.

The momentum for this came totally from below, at most the national organizations, Spanish media, churches, and sympathetic groups channelled this energy. This was some of the most well behaved mass protests seen anywhere, period.

Amazing, how the usual idiots in the media continue to smear the protestors, by inferring they were mostly "illegals". Rubbish, there were a lot of US residents and citizens. As The Economist pointed out, a big percentage of Latino school children in Calfornia had one or more undocumented parents. This issue tears across families, talks of making their relatives criminal really riles people up, and specially in close-knit Latino families. You can tell both political parties damn well know that there are many voters there, from the way the Republicans were backpedalling after the protests.

The Flag

Spanish radio and TV should be commended for strongly recommending that marchers carry the American flag. While TV was quick to show foreign flags and some flags flown upside down, there were more images of people -very proudly- waving the US flag. Many members of the armed services too.

Speaking of flags, in the end what is the big deal? The know-nothings complain endlessly of protestors carrying the Mexican and other Latin American flags. But then again, that seems to be a tradition among immigrant groups in the US. During the Civil War entire battalions of Irishmen, many fresh off the boat, marched to their deaths waving the Irish flag. Speaking of flags and the Civil War, lets not even get into the whole Confederate thing.
Loyalty to countries of origin? How about FDR failing to aid Ethiopia from Mussolini's attack, because he did not want to offend Italian-Americans. Or Irish-Americans, generations removed from Ellis Island, raising money for certain shall we say "violent" groups fighting the British. In the end it is no more than hypocrisy and selective history.

Assimilate it.

And then, there are the cultural bigots. Thinking that these new "hordes" will not assimilate....
As Linda Chavez has argued for more than a decade, Mexican and Latin American immigrants and their children, do indeed "assimilate", in terms of learning English and increasing their educational levels. They do so in a pattern that is remarkably similar to that of Italian-Americans.

But, what really annoys me endlessly because it is so damn obvious is the following:

Outside of the United States, people complain continually about how US culture, available through mass media are "Americanizing" their youth. HOW ABOUT IMMIGRANT KIDS LIVING IN THE US!!! The tug of English mass media is (duh!) much more powerfull when you live in the US, than outside. Geez, I do not care if you are in Miami or Brownsville, kids of immigrants or new immigrants are going to watch US TV, and lots of it. They deal daily with kids who do the same thing. The numbers bear this out, young Latinos watch English language TV much more than their parents. This is a force for not only learning the language, but also "acculturation. " Call it the MTV Effect, the one that produces remarkably similar teenagers, who talk the same lingo no matter if they live in Des Moines, Ventura, or Orlando.

More Silliness

If this is in fact the Reconquista (or the reconquering of the Southwest), isn't what's good for the goose also good for the gander too? The claim is that the entire Southwest was the "Siberia" of the Spanish America's so basically, the anglo "immigrant" farmers and miners pushing westward, simply took advantage of the situation and in the end put this land to use much more productively than the post-colonial Rancheros.
So, aren't the Mexicans and others crossing the border simply doing what the "pioneers" did before? They are finding opportunities the native-born don't find, and are creating wealth that did not exist before. Then there is the obvious irony of them "taking over" parts of cities with Spanish names, but that obviously eludes the anti-immigrant Lemmings in places like Colorado.