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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Culture > History > Why the Battle for Civil Rights and the Fight for the Undocumented are Similar

Why the Battle for Civil Rights and the Fight for the Undocumented are Similar

LatinaLista — It’s rather ironic that on a day when ground is being broken for the construction of the first memorial on the National Mall to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., that yet another town is passing ordinances to drive out people they deem undesirable.

Tonight, in Farmers Branch, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, city council members unanimously passed anti-illegal immigration measures, including one that makes English the official language.


Demonstrators protest anti-illegal immigrant measures outside Farmers Branch City Hall.
(Source: The Dallas Morning News)

It is the first Texas town to pass such strong measures against undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of this measure are using the cliche argument that because the federal government has refused to address the issue, the city itself must.

Some might not see what Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial has to do with Farmers Branch, Texas. In fact, there are many who are rankled and offended that Latinos compare the immigration issue with the Civil Rights movement.

After all, these immigrants are not citizens. They are not being deprived of anything that is lawfully their’s anyway — not entirely true.

Though Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the civil rights of blacks everywhere, he was fighting for their dignity as well. He was fighting to elevate African Americans from being seen as “undesirable” to full human beings who had every right to live like their white neighbors and enjoy the privileges that come with being a fully vested member of the human race.

From that perspective, the fight for the undocumented immigrants is no different than the fight waged for African-Americans.

Such battles are not confined by country borders, handy labels or even historical context.

They are battles defined as one group being persecuted for who they are by another group.

It may not be a civil rights battle but it is a battle that pits human rights against man-made prejudices.

In that context, only one side will be memorialized while the other will be relegated as a footnote among history’s greatest disgraces.

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