Even though the Republicans have taken control over Congress, reports insist that President Obama will issue an executive order by December on immigration reform. Whether this issue will appeal to all Hispanics will largely depend if by reform the president means amnesty. There is a great divide in the Hispanic community on immigration that has not received much media play and that is because the mainstream media thinks all Hispanics are alike. We definitely are not and amnesty is what divides us the most.
Ruben Navarette Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist and was scheduled to debate Michelle Malkin, another nationally syndicated columnist on the issue of immigration at the Western Growers' Political Action Committee's lunch on November 3 in Las Vegas. Mr. Navarette is a native Californian with a Mexican heritage. Ms. Malkin was born in Pennsylvania to Philippine citizens. I was born and raised in New York City with a Puerto Rican and Spanish heritage. I became aware of this event on the Facebook page of Navarette and ending up involved in a terse back and forth with his supporters who expressed loathing of Malkin's right-wing anti-amnesty position. One commenter even wrote that he hated looking at her face. I did the unthinkable and sided with Malkin and insisted that there were many homegrown and legal Hispanics that agreed with Malkin and me. Therein lays the main difference; the LaRaza crowd wants amnesty and we don't.
Whatever sympathy one might have had for those illegal aliens who've risked life and limb to arrive here for the streets lined with gold has been effectively annihilated by protesters who claim the streets as their own. Native born and legalized Hispanics are far removed from those left wing Marxists who wave Mexican flags at pro-immigration demonstrations. "You Don't Speak for Me" is an anti-illegal immigration activist group in the United States. Retired Army Colonel Al Rodriguez founded the group in 2006, to represent Hispanic Americans like him who are opposed to legalization for those who have entered the US illegally or overstayed their visas. According to Rodriguez, "Their leaders were saying it was a march for immigrant rights and a Latino/Hispanic movement. I thought to myself, 'Hey, those are illegal aliens, not immigrants!' I'm of Hispanic ancestry and those people are acting like they speak for me. Well, you don't speak for me!"
Hispanics like Rodriquez never get the media attention they deserve. Nor do the Hispanics who belong to NY ICE which is the city's only activist group devoted to having existing immigration laws enforced. Visit www.nyice.us for their mission and anti-illegal immigration protests.
Being against amnesty does not mean we are against immigrants. All the FB complaints against my posts accused me of being bigoted against immigrants when I posited that illegal immigrants should not be eligible for benefits that belong to citizens and legal immigrants. I finally had to ask why the term illegal did not resonate with those pushing for amnesty.
Hispanic leaders from La Raza and the Hispanic Federation said they would insist on a path to citizenship for all 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. This is absurd. We cherish our American immigration history but there is no doubt that today's immigrant, particularly from Mexico and Central America, differs considerably from the previous immigrants who came here anxious to become Americans and willing to leave their homeland behind.
This is where I stand on all immigration. This is a great country but it's not a cafeteria. If we don't want people picking off it, then we need to set firm guidelines and enforce them. Trespassers sneaking across the border should not be entitled to any benefits and for our national security; our borders must be secured first before any passage of reform is legislated.
It is quite clear that the Obama administration is not interested in what is best for our safety. The Department of Homeland Security has overseen the arrival of thousands of the undocumented who have been dumped in various communities without being medically monitored. Wasn't that the purpose of Ellis Island; to ensure that new arrivals would be kept quarantined to avoid epidemics? Isn't it a strange coincidence that the enterovirus D68 has struck our children ever since this influx of illegals was forced on us by the DHS? All schools have previously required proof of immunization vaccinations before a child is admitted to class yet are now being forced to admit new arrivals by the DHS. Will they have the required documents? I doubt that.
Most Americans are upset with Hispanics flooding the southwestern and western states and straining their social services but the states must accept the blame for allowing this to happen. They need to abandon their infatuation with multiculturalism, cheap labor and political correctness and insist on an immigration process that demands assimilation.
Listen to the words of Republican president and former New York State governor, Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke at a luncheon given by Mrs. Vincent Astor. "Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it," he said "Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back. He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here. He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend upon his knowing English and observing American standards."
Mr. Navarette says he likes Malkin and agrees with her on a number of issues except immigration. We should all agree that we need immigration reform but amnesty for those who have broken our laws is out of the question. Hispanics who have sought naturalization through a long and arduous process are vehemently against any such action. One neighbor from El Salvador spent twelve years going through the process to become a citizen, while another Polish immigrant received her green card in months. Our embassies in hostile nations with terrorist activity are still awarding student visas that are never monitored and frequently expired. Deportations are useless as they are merely revolving doors for criminals.
Conservative pundits who rail against the Hispanic demands need to recognize that Hispanics come from many different nations and that we are not a monolithic entity. Many of us are very conservative with strong family values and unlike those who demand amnesty are actually eligible to vote.