Thursday, April 29, 2010


The Republicans and the extremists they pander to will be able to obtain one of their most treasured goals this mid-term election if the people affected do what they want - refuse to vote or, even worse, vote Republican. The people affected are Hispanic voters who have friends and family who are undocumented and the Tea Party's goal is to sink a knife deep into any chance of Immigration Reform (especially any kind that includes any form of amnesty) for at least twelve years. The timing of the Arizona Law was no accident. These extremists wanted something that would exponentially increase the Hispanics' disappointment with the Obama Administration, while the Republican Senators make it impossible for Obama to do anything before the mid-term elections. If the Hispanic Community plays into the Republicans' plan - there will be no positive Immigration Reform for more than a decade.

I understand the desperation for positive Immigration Reform that allows the undocumented immigrants to stay in this country. It is something I want as well. I have too many friends that could be deported at any moment, I know too many children whose lives would change forever if their parents were to be deported. Because of this, I'm asking Hispanics to change their tactics to keep the best chance we have for just Immigration Reform alive.

I too am very disappointed that President Obama has yet to take up Immigration Reform, but we all must understand the reasons for the delay. Barak Obama took over the Presidency facing the greatest number of dangers to the country since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had to stabilize the financial system of the country and work closely with the leaders of many other countries to keep the world financial systems from collapsing - all the while knowing that these actions were nothing more than band aids and that much more work had to be done and still has to be done to keep this and future crises from wrecking the finances of the world. Moreover, he had to take action and ensure that the American Automobile Industry would not collapse - something that would have led to the highest loss of jobs in American History. He also had to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court as well as see to it that his nominees to fill all of the posts in his government be approved. He had to do all of this while the Republican Party was doing its best to keep him from doing anything - in complete disregard of the damage being done to the country, its institutions, and its people. Finally, he had to initiate healthcare reform by pushing industry as far as it would go for now and to likewise pass a comprehensive banking/financial services reform bill. It is not my intention to be an apologist for the Democrats or President Obama, I am just pointing out the challenges they had to face and why Immigration Reform has yet to be put on the legislative agenda.

The fight for true Immigration Reform will be unlike any of the fights this administration has faced and this is another reason healthcare and banking reforms had to come first. Achieving the kind of reform you and I want is likely to take up most of the President's time during the last two years of what I hope is his first term, even with super-majorities in the House and Senate. If the Democratic majority is reduced or, even worse, is lost - the President will not be able to achieve reform no matter how hard he tries. It is, therefore, essential that we do all we can to register every citizen and ensure that as many minority and young voters vote and vote Democratic.

There is something else we must do to help ensure Immigration Reform - when marching and during the meetings - we must speak and chant in English, all of the flags carried must be American, the colors worn must be red, white, and blue, and all of the signs must be in English. One of the major fears of those who are against immigration reform is that they will be forced to learn Spanish. It is therefore imperative that our efforts do not underscore those fears. Making the United States a multilingual nation is something we can do at a later date.

Finally, we must adopt a simple slogan that will appeal to a basic American value and that underscores the contributions of Hispanics. I suggest we use:

Immigration Reform Because:
We're Willing to Work

The slogan appeals directly to the "protestant work ethic" and it directly refutes a prejudice held by more whites than I can believe (the lie that Latinos are lazy welfare cases). We have to make these people see just how hard Hispanics work: Holding down two full-time jobs, picking and moving 4,000 pounds of tomatoes a day for $50, standing for almost 8 hours a day in a beef packing plant, etc. The instances demonstrating that Americans refuse to do this kind of work are to many to count. Aside from this, there is a final benefit in Immigration Reform that should be forcefully expressed by our press spokespersons*.

By allowing the Hispanics who are hear to stay and work, there will not be a Social Security or a Welfare crisis. The number of legal workers contributing to the Social Security system is declining while the number of recipients of Social Security and Medicare is growing. Accepting the the undocumented workers in the country as legal residents, this Social Security crunch will be avoided. Perhaps we should modify the proposed motto to:

Immigration Reform:
Because We're Willing to Work and
You'll be Able to Retire,
Your Social Security Benefits Intact

Our best chance for real Immigration Reform is now, with this President and Democratic super-majorities in the House and Senate. We must, therefore do everything we can to ensure that all minority and young voters get out and vote and vote Democratic.

*I wish I could say that this is my idea, but it is not. I saw it on the Internet. I want to credit the originator of the idea, but I have been unable to find the original reference.

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