LatinaLista -- It's been no secret that all who sympathize with undocumented immigrants and are tired of waiting for Congress to tackle immigration reform are planning to descend on Washington DC on March 21 for what is billed as We March for America!.
People -- immigration reform activists, students, families, labor unions, business leaders, religious groups, Catholic bishops, ethnic organizations, community leaders -- are going to Washington not to denigrate or intimidate or slander but to illustrate that as many times as opponents of immigration reform resort to the canned rhetoric of "the American people don't want this," to show that the reality is these critics don't speak for all of the American people.
This march is a family affair -- as every past march and rally in support of undocumented immigrants has been -- because it's understood that reforming immigration policies impacts the entire Latino community.
In the past, as with this march, Latino parents, whether they have a personal stake in an immigration reform bill or not, will participate with their children because it's a noble and just cause. It's also the perfect opportunity to set the example for our children that to change policy, federal or otherwise, it's important to sacrifice an afternoon at the movies or playing sports to walk in peaceful protest to show those in charge just how important is the issue.
So, it's anticipated that fathers toting tired toddlers on their shoulders or mothers cradling sleeping babies or older children grasping the hands of younger siblings will be marching shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone else.
It should be a peaceful display of what is the hallmark of any great democracy.
Yet, a recent "rally-the-troops" call by the opponents of immigration reform, in this case Tea Party members from various states and representatives from NumbersUSA, illustrates how little regard opponents have for the truth on the issue and are intent to not only disrupt the March 21 march but endanger lives by purposely spreading misperceptions they themselves concede are fantasy.
Thanks to Erin Rosa at CampusProgress.org who was privy to a national strategy call on the evening of March 8 by the immigration restrictionist group NumbersUSA, and reportedly about 45 people representing Tea Party affiliates from across the country, we now know the extent of racism that exists in the Tea Party and just how opponents plan to thwart Congress from taking up immigration reform -- slander, incite and confuse congressional members and the American public.
The call was moderated by a Chad MacDonald, a worker for NumbersUSA and joined by Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.
Two of the most disturbing revelations from the call were the facts that these opponents of immigration reform plan on inciting the worst kind of racial hatred against an ethnic group not seen since the 60s -- label Mexican women as "the new welfare queens" and never refer to Latino immigrant children as "babies" but "dependents."
These opponents of immigration reform are stabbing at the heart of what they feel will get people riled to the point beyond reasoning for themselves -- making them think that they are paying for Hispanic immigrants.
It's a tactic that NumbersUSA and other anti-reform entities have always been suspected of using in the past -- and are now teaching their Tea Party followers -- confuse reality with perception.
"It's not about reality, it's all about perception," Beck said on the call. "What happened in 2007 is that we as a movement created the perception on Capitol Hill that most American's did not want amnesty, they did not want comprehensive immigration reform, and that there was an intensity to the people who didn't want it that could really cause political damage for the careers for the members of Congress. That's what moves Congress."
MacDonald added during the discussion, "We are a single issue organization about reducing both legal and illegal immigration. We have an immense amount of resources. We have an incredible coalition and we can answer and frame a question for any ostensible person to reduce overall immigration."
In addition to convincing nervous congressmen that their jobs are at stake because the so-called "American people" -- as defined by NumbersUSA -- don't want immigration reform, the group will also conduct a call-in campaign flooding the congressional switchboards.
Call-in campaigns are fine. Counter-protests are part of the democratic system but the intentional defamation of a whole group of people to further a political agenda has the earmarks of the saddest period of global history that civilized nations vowed would never be repeated.
Those Republican politicians who have sided with Tea Party groups and obediently regurgitated in the past the talking points set forth by NumbersUSA and other immigrant restrictionist groups, without getting independent factual confirmation of what they were saying, are sad examples of political leadership. They deserve nothing more from the American voters than a condemnation that they would align themselves with a group of people who put themselves above others to the detriment of the democratic system and the historic ideals of this country.
One Latina Lista reader wrote me yesterday about a recent confrontation he had with a Tea Party protester. This young law student in New York staged a counter protest to an ongoing Tea Party protest. He was a lone protester and now questions whether practicing the Constitutional-given right of every American is worth it because, aside from being the recipient of such disgusting insults like "we should be for abortion because the world would be better off if your parents had one," a Tea Party protester threatened his life.
He threatened his life because this young student had a different political opinion.
These immigration restrictionists will slander, intimidate and incite whatever violence just because they can't tolerate a difference of political opinion?
What kind of USA is that?