Anti-Hispanic Accusations

Published in the Hollister Free Lance, October 14, 1996
Dear Editor:

Your September 16th article on LULAC president Belen Robles raises several issues as she attacks Proposition 187, Proposition 209, and the English as Official Language bill. She claims these initiatives are all part of some anti-Hispanic movement.

Let's look at each issue.

PROP. 187

I find it interesting that the League of United Latin American CITIZENS would have a problem with a bill that doesn't have any legal effect on citizens of the U.S. (or legal immigrants for that matter). As citizens, illegal immigration should be treated just as it is described -- illegal, and therefore a crime. To lobby against such a bill is to in effect encourage that crime, and I certainly hope nobody is advocating allowing illegal immigration.

Using euphemisms like "undocumented immigrants" is intellectually dishonest. It makes it sound like somebody merely forgot to carry their proof of legal immigration, like it is nothing more than forgetting your driver's license when taking the car out.

We agree that denying education to the children of illegal immigrants does not solve the illegal immigration problem, though. If there's reasonable proof a child's parents are illegal immigrants, the authorities should locate the parents and take the appropriate action for illegal immigrants -- deport them.

PROP. 209

In the U.S., all men (and women) are created equal -- under the law. That means we all have the same chance to succeed based on our gifts. Programs like Affirmative Action change that so that we all are NOT equal under the law by creating preferential groups. That's simply not fair.

Everyone in the U.S. should have an equal opportunity to succeed, but not be granted any preferential status based on race, color, gender, or any other characteristic.

ENGLISH AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

By Robles' own admission, "Everybody knows that anyone who wants to take advantage of all the opportunities offered in this country must learn to speak English." So why does she have a problem making it law?

Legislating common sense is nothing new. Everybody knows that murder is bad, for example, but we have a law against it. The issue isn't to restate the obvious, but to save money on printing costs, translation, etc. that multi-lingual documents require.

Of course, even some legislators don't get it. Look at Sam Farr's double-speak in the article. First he says, "... English already is our official language." Then immediately after that he says, "Making English the official language runs counter to everything we're trying to do in business and education." If English already is the official language, the law isn't MAKING it the official language, it's just affirming that de facto reality.

Some people claim it's divisive. Nonsense. Having a population that speaks one language brings us together, making it easier for all of us to communicate with each other. This does not mean we're discouraging diversity -- other languages can still be taught, and other cultures are stil respected.

America became the greatest country in the world because we were a melting pot -- we saw the diversity of the various peoples that came to America and took the best from each, assimilating those strengths into our culture.

To see what happens when you do otherwise, take a look to our north. Look at the problems Canada has because one segment of the population wants to speak French even though most of the country speaks English. Quebec has tried to secede from Canada over cultural differences, to the detriment of all Canadians. This can't be allowed to happen in the U.S.

ANTI-HISPANIC SENTIMENT

All of the above are based on Robles' assumption that there's an "anti-Hispanic movement". While anyone would be foolish to claim there aren't anti-Hispanic people, this is not the case with everyone (or even most of those) supporting these issues.

America is not the vast open country it was in the 19th century. We have to manage our growth now, and this includes immigration restrictions. Illegal immigrants -- regardless of country of origin -- are trying to evade a legally enacted system.

Perhaps the reason it appears to be anti-Hispanic is simply because most of the illegal immigrants in California are Hispanic. Why is that? Because we are close to a large Hispanic area (Central and South America) with no major barriers between the two regions. Except for Canada, people from any other country that want to come to the U.S. have to cross an ocean to get to the U.S.

Robles cites statistics that most illegal immigrants in New York are Irish, then says, "You don't hear about any movement to build steel fences around Kennedy airport." What a ridiculous analogy. Kennedy airport is ALREADY a controlled entry point into the U.S. You have to present visas and passports when arriving on international flights, and you have to go through customs.

The border with Mexico also has equivalent checkpoints. People who propose fencing off the border are trying to solve a different problem -- the large area of uncontrolled access to the U.S. So the situation with regard to Ireland is not analogous because of the large natural barrier between the U.S. and Ireland -- the Atlantic Ocean.

Robles basically accuses the supporters of the above laws of being anti-Hispanic immigrant bashers. Doing that seems more divisive to me than laws which are meant to control our immigration, guarantee a fair and equal opportunity to all, and allow us all to communicate better with each other. Those are admirable goals, in my opinion.


Want to comment on this? E-mail me at [steve@svpocketpc.com].