New report finds that punitive state immigration legislation unites Latinos of all status

LatinaLista — The purpose of each and every punitive immigration related piece of legislation that has been passed on state and national levels have more to do with trying to drive out undocumented immigrants than regulate the situation.
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However, a new report released today found that, much to the disappointment of the authors of these immigration bills, their intent is having the opposite effect on the undocumented population.
Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities, by the Project on Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars reveals that all these harsh legislative actions have created stronger ties between U.S. Latino citizens and the legal and undocumented immigrants.
Something that wasn’t the norm before the spate of anti-Latino immigrant fervor.
Some of the revealing findings of the study are:

Currently, there is no national integration policy and local and state governments face the need to design their own programs to encourage immigrants to become civically engaged and participate more fully in their new societies.
Cities with a historically established Spanish-language media structure tend to have strong partnerships between these media and service and immigrant advocacy organizations in the joint promotion of civic engagement.
As a general trend and regardless of size, cities with historical traditions of Latino immigration, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Jose, are more likely to address the needs of new Latino immigrants than places with smaller historical flows like Charlotte, Omaha, the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and Las Vegas.
There was found an emerging Latino youth organizing network led by both U.S.- and foreign- born immigrants.

In addition to the study…


nine other reports were published earlier on nine cities assessing their immigrant civic participation — Charlotte, Chicago, Fresno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Omaha, San Jose, Tucson and Washington, D.C..
“The debate over whether to regularize (by encouraging citizenship) or expel undocumented people, hides the question of the status of the legal permanent Latino population — millions of whom are eligible to apply for citizenship but have not done so,” said Jonathan Fox , a professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
He noted that after Congress, during the Reagan Administration, passed immigration reform it made $4 billion available to states and cities for English classes, civic studies and other programs aimed at assisting immigrants in achieving citizenship. “Few of those programs get meaningful public support today,” he said.
For that reason churches, non-profits, corporate America and individuals have stepped into fulfilling those needs that, by the latest anecdotal information, are not diminishing but increasing to the point where waiting lists for English and citizenship classes are now common — and underscore the fact that all these immigrants whom legislators are trying to drive out already feel like they belong here and are taking the final steps to solidify their relationship with the U.S.
Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities is also available in Spanish.

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5 Comments

  1. Chicano future tense said:

    It’s great news to hear that Latino citizens,legal and undocumented immigrants are unifying and organizing.
    Just proves correct the old saying that “behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining”..
    Due to an abandonment of Latinos by the US federal government,a vacuum of power has been created.This vacuum on the part of Latinos is being filled with the creation,strengthening and unifying of the Latino community into organizations of all types,political,social,cultural,church and youth groups etc.. etc..
    These are all healthy things that will inspire,energize and motivate Latinos to continue their fight for civil and human rights and at the same time oppose those forces which aim to harm,punish and take away Latino democratic rights and freedoms.This is Latino empowerment in action..
    On the other hand,this same vacuum of power also creates a space for the forces of racism,reaction and xenophobia to fill.
    Like Latinos,anti-immigrant nativist organizations and groups are springing up all over the place.Significant sections of the republican party,the tea party movement and other so called patriot type groups and right-wing reactionaries are ever present and everywhere in the country.They are unavoidable.We must learn how to deal with them because they are a fast growing powerful force in the US that has the potential to politically evolve into an American style fascism.Let’s not fool ourselves as to what they truly desire in the country:they want Latinos to shut up and obey,to “appreciate” our position in america as second class citizens.They want to drive undocumented Mexicano and other undocumented workers out of the country with draconian laws and a socially accepted barbaric harassment which serves to justify for racists and fascists of all stripes to hassle and in some cases injure or kill Latinos.
    IMHO,now more than ever for Latinos life in America is rapidly becoming even more of an existential struggle for survival.What we are witnessing is the creation of a wall of racism,mutual distrust,resentment,hatred and contempt being constructed not just along the US-Mexican border but throughout American society.
    One of America’s most reknown and studied political theoreticians…Samuel Huntington in two of his most widely read works..”clash of civilizations” and “Who we are”..America’s identity- postulates that America is in a war,a clash of civilizations -brown Hispanic America vs white Anglo America..and on a wider world scale-between Western and Islamic civilizations.He believes that Hispanic America should accept it’s continued destiny of domination and rule by white anglo american civilization,as they are in his mind the torch bearers and guardians of civilization.An updated version of “the white man’s burden” which is to rule over the world’s dark skinned savages and barbarians.
    I believe that the key to Latino poltical advancement is two-fold.. UNITY…and, reaching out in the spirit of friendship and alliance with all Americans of good will no matter what their race.
    Latinos also have the responsibilty of making it clear to all Americans..we are not anti-white..nor anti-american..we are pro freedom and democracy for all..

  2. Pepito said:

    Since the media, politicians, and all right wing red necks put all Latinos (legal, illegal, 10th generation American Latinos)in the same basket, U.S. born Latinos have no choice but to denounce their stereotyping and stupidity. Unfortunately, this gives these factions more ammunition to paint us all with the same brush.

  3. Hernan Cuevas said:

    Marisa, your column has serious bias when interpreting the results of the report. As I commented in relation with the AZ legislation before, this is a problem basically related to illegal Mexican aliens. Latinos and other legal immigrants are more concern with legislation that reduces or places obstacles to the legal immigration process as we want to see a change to the dis-encouraging trend that has persisted for half century. And many of Hispanic immigrants legally in this country believe that mostly Mexican illegal crossing is to blame for most of the toughest legislation that affects immigration.
    The way statistics are read and conclusions are made where the data can not support the affirmations is outrageous.
    What is clear from the report is that immigration issues unite the concern of immigrants (which is kind of obvious) but there is no way you can conclude that anti-criminal or law enforcement measures against illegal aliens is a matter that most immigrants are against. What you can easily see from the report is the fact that this is a problem mostly related with Mexicans as they account for the vast majority of illegal aliens.
    Also, when analyzing statistics you need to consider pondering numbers. As an example, if 80% of immigrants in California are Mexicans and 80% of immigrants are answering yes to a question asking if they oppose anti-illegal enforcement, you can not state that this is an issue that unites most immigrants. What you can responsible say is that this is an issue that unite most Mexicans.

  4. Karen said:

    Re: “Latinos also have the responsibilty of making it clear to all Americans..we are not anti-white..nor anti-american..we are pro freedom and democracy for all…”
    I agree with your whole comment, but especially with this last sentiment.

  5. Texan123 said:

    Americans also have the responsibility of making it clear to all Latinos…we are not anti-brown..nor anti-Mexican..we are pro immigration enforcement for the protection of American citizens and legal immigrants.

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