Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Low Turnouts for Immigration Marches Have Stronger Implications

Low Turnouts for Immigration Marches Have Stronger Implications

LatinaLista — Today was supposed to be a day where people, who want immigration reform, an end to work site raids, deportations and a more humane consideration of the undocumented, were to take to the streets en masse and recreate the massive protests of two years ago.

Yet, city after city has reported low turnouts. It wasn’t unexpected. The day of the week and the stepped-up enforcement by Department of Homeland Security and local police and sheriffs came together in a perfect storm to keep the turnout from mirroring those of years past.
But this isn’t an indication that the Latino community has become complacent about an issue that is accelerating discrimination and racism directed towards all Latinos. On the contrary, the reduced turnout should send another signal that the fight is far from over.

What most people forget about those early marches is that while people were encouraged to wear white, wave the flag and walk a winding route in their city, they were also encouraged to become citizens and register to vote.
What transpired was a response that created a backlog for the federal government to process citizenship applications and voter registrations.
Latinos may not have been at the marches like in years past but our presence is being felt at the voting booths already.
The US Census released news this week that Hispanics are now 15.1 percent of the total population. The percentage translates to 45.1 million Hispanics — the largest minority group in the nation.
With such numbers and finally realizing that the only way for effective change is through the vote and contacting congressional representatives, Latinos don’t need to show strength in the streets to be heard.
(Update: The total number of Hispanics was corrected to read 45.1 million)

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  • Frank
    May 2, 2008 at 8:33 am

    The 15% number is still small in comparison to the rest of the population of this country. Not all of the 15% that make up the Hispanic population of this country agree with you either. There are many loyal Hispanic citizens. Your votes will hardly register on the richter scale compared to the rest of the nation.
    The issue of illegal immigration has nothing to do with discrimination nor racism nor hatred of Hispanics in general. It has nothing to do with “immigrants” nor civil rights.
    The problem with the marches is that many Americans start to think that all Hispanics in this country are ethnocentric in nature and will do anything to increase their numbers here and don’t respect the laws of this country. It makes them even more opposed to more Hispanic immigration into our country and makes them view Hispanics with suspicion. You are all your own worst enemies.

  • urbanleftbehind
    May 2, 2008 at 8:50 am

    The low turnouts also reduced the probability of a violent incident that could have been used against a democratic candidate. This is a good thing.
    However I do believe the kingmaking ability of the Hispanic vote vis a vis the presidential elections has been reduced by the emergence of Jeremiah Wright. His rhetoric scared away a lot of white voters who might have been Obama supporters. In a higher white vote turnout for Obama, McCain would have actually had to contest for our votes. But even with near 100% hispanic support, Obama would still have an uphill climb having to make up lost white votes.
    Hillary is bad choice long term and short term in that we become written off to the Democratic party which will reel from the, either immediate or eventual exodus of black voters.

  • laura
    May 2, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Dear Marisa, I agree with you that the large number of Latina/o voters is critically important. I disagree that we don’t need to be in the streets. Even if we elect our candidates of choice, they won’t do anything for us unless they feel some massive pressure. Visibility in the streets is an effective way to generate that pressure.
    The Bush administration knows this, which is why they stepped up their campaign of terror and intimidation just before May 1.
    I don’t think my undocumented friends should have marched yesterday. Obviously they need to think of their safety first and foremost. But I think all citizens and permanent residents should have marched – to show our numbers, our support of all members of our community, and even, to the candidates for elected office, that they need to count with our observation of their behavior before and after the election.
    I am certain neither of the three Presidential candidates – Obama, Clinton, or McCain – will do anything for us, when elected, unless they are very strongly pressured to do so. Though personally I favor Obama among those three, I predict that just like his friend Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, he may make promises to us now, but after the election, he will renege unless held to those promises by a strong movement.
    Marches are effective. That is why Bush stepped up the ICE raids drastically in May 2006. That is why we have to march if we can.

  • laura
    May 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Dear Marisa, This is a quote from the link you provided in your post, from the Houston Chronicle:
    “Police on horseback escorted and followed the crowd, which was confined to a lane of traffic that had been reserved for them along a downtown street. Among law enforcement officers standing by a federal building where the demonstrators gathered were some wearing shirts and gear with the logo ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
    This says it all. This is why my undocumented friends wisely did not march. ICE at the Mayday rally. ICE at the Mayday rally. ICE at the Mayday rally.
    This is also why many more of us who are citizens and permanent residents should have marched.

  • Daniel
    May 2, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    This says it all. This is why my undocumented friends wisely did not march. ICE at the Mayday rally.
    Everyone I know left for Xmas and hasnt been back. Let the economy pick up and they’ll return.
    I think the economy has more to do with it than ICE or the border patrol does.
    Us marching for them is the right thing to do but we’re talking solidarity here and that is what we lack.
    The reason is colonization. A symptom is ridicule by a few jealous corrajudos.
    So long as ridicule by a few is more acceptable than support, there will be no solidarity.
    That, and you have to change THEIR (the compas) mindset, too.
    Why should we bolster them when they think we make Mexicans look bad?
    Everytime I order Sears diehard construction boots for my guys I think about this.
    And like a sucker I do the right thing.

  • laura
    May 2, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Hola Daniel,
    “Why should we bolster them when they think we make Mexicans look bad?”
    What do you mean?
    And the boots?
    I don’t understand.

  • Daniel
    May 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Well, the “look bad” comment is something that I’ve come across all my life.
    But I know I made a sweeping statement and what I said is not 100% true.
    It’s just that SOMETIMES Mexicanos think (based on statements made to me), we Chicanos, are nothing but cholos and we make them look bad.
    While, conversely, they are the good people and well liked.
    It’s hard to explain. I’ve had guys tell me “tu no tienes pais” and “tu no eres Mexican.”
    Compas are not saints. Compas are not beyond reproach. They should be judged, like every man, by the content of their character.
    I guess the “boots” comment was just a rant. lol. Sorry.
    I guess I get BUTT hurt when I buy my guys’ shoes – the best expensive ones- and I dont even get a thank you from the compas.
    I dunno.
    It’s just an IMO thing 😀
    I’m not a bad guy, honest.

  • laura
    May 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Daniel,
    they work for you as hard as they can, and you buy them the best boots – sounds to me like everyone is doing just fine.
    Dijiste: I’ve had guys tell me “tu no tienes pais” and “tu no eres Mexican.”
    Y entonces ? La verdad es que no eres mexicano mi parece. You are who you are, their history is different from yours, sometimes they don’t understand you, sometimes you don’t understand them. The important thing is, as you said, you know what solidarity is and so do they. Somos todos hijos de la tierra y ella no hizo fronteras.
    Nobody said you are a bad guy. Keep buying them the good boots!

  • Horace
    May 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I suggest that it is the high handed demands for special consideration for their ethnic group when it comes to illegal immigration that has most Americans resentful of Latinos/Latinas, not race. Latinos have shamelessly pulled the race card and used the plight of illegal alien children to smear their opponents, showing themselves to be unscrupulous in pursuit of their goals. It’s sad that a small number of activist citizen Latinos/Latinas who claim to represent their community should bring discredit to that community and destroy relations with the rest of America.

  • Dee
    June 8, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I hope you check back on this message. Someone referenced your comment on my blog. Come visit me sometime and maybe we can discuss this further.
    For now, I want to respond to what you say is lack of solidarity. I think this is actually a bit of jealousy on their part and here is a story of why.
    When I was a little girl. We grew up in Michigan. Around the time I was born, my Dad decided to only allow English at home. I was the 7th child so it was easy for me. It was harder for my mom and my older brothers and sisters.
    When I was 5, my Dad was layed off from his factory job (for a year) so we moved down to San Antonio. Everyone in the San Antonio spoke English in the world but in the neighborhoods, they all spoke Spanish. I couldnt speak Spanish very well and they teased me when I tried. “Te crees mucho.” They said.
    In San Antonio, we were all Latinos (Tejanos), treated as minorities, the working class, striving for a better life. In our neighborhoods, no one was better or worse than anyone else. All striving to achieve the American Dream.
    We were all trying, the best we could, as fast as we could, to assimilate and be excepted.
    Some found, that by not associating with other minorities that the White Anglos would except us. Then, once accepted, some were afraid to make friends with other Mexicans for fear of the very tender acceptance status would be obliterated and we would return to the minority, castigated group.
    This is what is happening with your workers. They fear they will never be accepted and believe you have been accepted, therefore they castigate you.
    We have to get beyond these childhood games.
    I think it is important that we all care for each other and we achieve solidarity. Otherwise the racial profiling will continue. The Detention Centers will continue. The exploitation of workers will continue IF WE STAY DIVIDED AND DONT WORK TOGETHER FOR RESOLUTIONS and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

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