Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > TN Lawmakers Consider the Most Cruel Form Yet of Penalizing Undocumented Immigrants

TN Lawmakers Consider the Most Cruel Form Yet of Penalizing Undocumented Immigrants

LatinaLista — The immigration system is broken.
That phrase has been used so often in the immigration reform debate that it’s now a cliche.

Yet it stands to reason that if the immigration system is broken, it can’t be the only system broken. There are other systems that are impacted, whether directly or indirectly, by illegal immigration which also are in need of massive overhauls.
One such system is our judicial system. It is a system that suffers from just as many abused, obsolete, inadequate processes and practices, as well as, loopholes that states and counties have learned to manipulate it to the extent that the U.S. has held the dubious distinction over the past several years of being the country with the highest prison population rate in the world.
Now, it seems it’s just getting worse.

We’ve known how Arizona and Oklahoma have declared war on undocumented immigrants by passing such punitive laws that these people can’t cross a street without hearing police sirens blaring behind them.
In Oklahoma, news reports detail how some local police are intimidating the local Hispanic community to the point that people are afraid when they see anyone with a badge coming their way.
Yet, in probably one of the most cruel forms of using the judicial system to criminalize an otherwise nonviolent demographic is what Tennessee has in mind.

A proposal to make it a crime for illegal immigrants to accept pay for work done in Tennessee is headed for floor votes in both chambers of the General Assembly.
The Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously today to advance the proposal to make it a misdemeanor for illegal immigrants to accept pay.
The measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat, could lead to fines of $500, up to six months in jail and require illegal immigrants to forfeit any earnings they receive.

These same legislators claim they can’t enact tougher laws against the employers who hire undocumented immigrants because the “state must defer to federal laws on that matter.”
It seem to us that a law specifically targeting undocumented immigrants falls under the immigration issue — a federal issue and one that should also be deferred to federal laws and/or rulings.
The obvious intent of this law is to officially criminalize undocumented immigrants to make it that much easier to justify jailing them then slapped by ICE as a criminal offender who is barred from re-entering the United States.
Critics of immigrants who have arrived here illegally always repeat the fallacy: just get to the end of the line, if you want to come here. There’s one problem — there’s no line.
Yet, there can be solutions to this issue. But it will take a willingness for both sides to compromise on all aspects of the issue save one aspect — the preservation of human dignity that is a universal right.
The following are portions of the full “Conclusions” section of the March 7, 2008 report of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants as found on the Texas Civil Rights Review site.

104. Contrary to popular belief, United States immigration policy did not become more severe after the terrorist attacks on September 11. Drastic changes made in 1996 have been at work for more than a decade, affecting communities across the nation and recent policy changes simply exacerbate what was put in motion then. Also, contrary to popular belief, these policies do not target only undocumented migrants – they apply to citizens born in the United States of undocumented parents and long-term lawful permanent residents (or green card holders) as well.
105. Not only have immigration laws become more punitive – increasing the types of crimes that can permanently sever a migrant’s ties to the United States – but there are fewer ways for migrants to appeal for leniency. Hearings that used to happen in which a judge would consider a migrant’s ties to the United States, particularly their family relationships, were stopped in 1996. There are no exceptions available, no matter how long an individual has lived in the United States and no matter how much his spouse and children depend on him for their livelihood and emotional support…
109. The Special Rapporteur would like to make the following recommendations to the Government.
On general detention matters
110. Mandatory detention should be eliminated; the Department of Homeland Security should be required to make individualized determinations of whether or not a non-citizen presents a danger to society or a flight risk sufficient to justify their detention.
111. The Department of Homeland Security must comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis and Clark v. Martinez. Individuals who cannot be returned to their home countries within the foreseeable future should be released as soon as that determination is made, and certainly no longer than six months after the issuance of a final order. Upon release, such individuals should be released with employment authorization, so that they can immediately obtain employment.
112. The overuse of immigration detention in the United States violates the spirit of international laws and conventions and, in many cases, also violates the actual letter of those instruments. The availability of effective alternatives renders the increasing reliance on detention as an immigration enforcement mechanism unnecessary. Through these alternative programmes, there are many less restrictive forms of detention and many alternatives to detention that would serve the country’s protection and enforcement needs more economically, while still complying with international human rights law and ensuring just and humane treatment of migrants.
Create detention standards and guidelines
113. At the eighty-seventh session of the Human Rights Committee in July 2006, the United States Government cited the issuance of the National Detention Standards in 2000 as evidence of compliance with international principles on the treatment of immigration detainees (see note 13 below). While this is indeed a positive step, it is not sufficient. The United States Government should create legally binding human rights standards governing the treatment of immigration detainees in all facilities, regardless of whether they are operated by the federal Government, private companies, or county agencies.
114. Immigration detainees in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security and placed in removal proceedings, should have the right to appointed counsel. The right to counsel is a due process right that is fundamental to ensuring fairness and justice in proceedings. To ensure compliance with domestic and international law, court-appointed counsel should be available to detained immigrants.
115. Given that the difficulties in representing detained non-citizens are exacerbated when these individuals are held in remote and/or rural locations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should ensure that the facilities where non-citizens in removal proceedings are held, are located within easy reach of the detainees’ counsel or near urban areas where the detainee will have access to legal service providers and pro bono counsel.
Deportation issues impacting due process and important human rights
116. United States immigration laws should be amended to ensure that all non-citizens have access to a hearing before an impartial adjudicator, who will weigh the non-citizen’s interest in remaining in the United States (including their rights to found a family and to a private life) against the Government’s interest in deporting him or her.
Detention/deportation issues impacting unaccompanied children
117. The Government should urge lawmakers to pass the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act of 2007 reintroduced in March 2007.
118. Children should be removed from jail-like detention centres and placed in home-like facilities. Due care should be given to rights delineated for children in custody in the American Bar Association “Standards for the Custody, Placement, and Care; Legal Representation; and Adjudication of Unaccompanied Alien Children in the United States” (see note 14 below).
119. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) should be amended for unaccompanied children whose parents have TPS, so they can derive status through their parents.
Situation of migrant women detained in the United States
120. In collaboration with legal service providers and non-governmental organizations that work with detained migrant women, ICE should develop gender-specific detention standards that address the medical and mental health concerns of migrant women who have survived mental, physical, emotional or sexual violence.
121. Whenever possible, migrant women who are suffering the effects of persecution or abuse, or who are pregnant or nursing infants, should not be detained. If these vulnerable women cannot be released from ICE custody, the Department of Homeland Security should develop alternative programmes such as intense supervision or electronic monitoring, typically via ankle bracelets. These alternatives have proven effective during pilot programmes. They are not only more humane for migrants who are particularly vulnerable in the detention setting or who have family members who require their presence, but they also cost, on average, less than half the price of detention.
Judicial review
122. The United States should ensure that the decision to detain a non-citizen is promptly assessed by an independent court.
123. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice should work together to ensure that immigration detainees are given the chance to have their custody reviewed in a hearing before an immigration judge. Both departments should revise regulations to make clear that asylum-seekers can request these custody determinations from immigration judges.
124. Congress should enact legislation to ensure that immigration judges are independent of the Department of Justice, and instead part of a truly independent court system.
125. Families with children should not be held in prison-like facilities. All efforts should be made to release families with children from detention and place them in alternative accommodation suitable for families with children.
On migrant workers
126. The Government should ensure that state and federal labour policies are monitored, and their impact on migrant workers analysed. Policymakers and the public should be continually educated on the human needs and human rights of workers, including migrant workers. In this context, the Special Rapporteur strongly recommends that the United States consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families…

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  • Horace
    March 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    As one judge intimated, if this country isn’t willing to issue him a visa and a foreign national wishes to avoid being arrested and deported, then his only recourse is to not to enter our country. Except for the friends and relatives of illegal aliens, most Americans feel this way. There is no human or international right for a foreign national to cross another nation’s borders without permission, period. Anyone who advocates that such a right exists is a liar. The reason why you people are losing is that you are plain wrong. Foreigners will play by our established rules or not at all. That’s the way it is in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the rest of South America. It’s as simple as that.

  • Honey
    March 11, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    The laws started becomming stricter when the American citizens of this country opened their eyes to what was happening and demanded that their representatives start enforcing the laws! American citizens finally woke up when the illegals marched in the streets carrying the Mexican flag. Becomming an American citizen is a privilege, not a right. Demanding what they have no right to will just awaken more sleeping Americans.

  • Horace
    March 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Sure, illegal aliens would just love to be released on their own recognizance, so they can skip out and never return for their hearing, just as was their practice in the past. We’ll just put them all up in the Holiday Inn as they come in numbers that will result in bills ruinous to the treasury. This is a joke, as are all the recommendations by this Mexican stooge of the Caleron government. This man is the perfect partisan with a clear conflict of interest. If the UN were an honest and respectable organization it would have sent someone more objective. Most of that crap was written up by the advocates of illegal aliens themselves, immigration lawyers, ACLU, SPLC, MALDEF, PRLDF, etc., and we all know that their objective is to win at all cost, to including sacrifice of the welfare of this nation. This may be a good report to you, but it offends the average citizen. Keep referring to this report, Marisa, as it just exposes you as someone who cares more for foreigners than your countrymen.

  • Horace
    March 11, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    This may sound callous, but there is no line for illiterate and unskilled Pakistanis, Asian Indians, Iraqis, Afghans, Turks, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Mongols, etc, either, so what makes Mexicans and other Central and South Americans special? We set the rules, and our rules are meant to coincide with our national objectives to be an educated and skilled society. We deny entry to those who would become a burden on society and tap into our welfare and medicare social services. How many of us would concur with permitting the immigration of an entire geriatric ward, or thousands of paraplegics and mentally retarded from other nations. Answer this question honestly. If these people were not Hispanics, by Albanians with no skills, only had a fifth grade eduation, and six kids who couldn’t speak English, and couldn’t possibly survive on our economy without government subsistance and health care, would any of you advocates be fighting for their presence in this country. If you can’t honestly say yes, then you’re irrationally biased by your personal feelings.

  • Evelyn
    March 11, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    1996 Law
    President Clinton signed one of the most significant immigration laws of the century. The 1996 law is extremely harsh against immigration, which is surprising for a democrat. The 1996 Immigration law has hurt many immigrants and in many cases their American families. NAFTA is also one of the failures of the Clinton era.
    The North American Free Trade Agreement was sold to the country by the Clinton White House as an opportunity to raise the incomes and prosperity of the citizens of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Goods would be cheaper. Workers would be wealthier. Everyone would be happier. I am not sure how these contradictory things were supposed to happen, but in a sound-bite society, reality no longer matters. NAFTA would also, we were told, staunch Mexican immigration into the United States.
    “There will be less illegal immigration because more Mexicans will be able to support their children by staying home,” President Clinton said in the spring of 1993 as he was lobbying for the bill.
    But NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, had the curious effect of reversing every one of Clinton’s rosy predictions. Once the Mexican government lifted price supports on corn and beans for Mexican farmers, they had to compete against the huge agribusinesses in the United States. The Mexican farmers were swiftly bankrupted. At least 2 million Mexican farmers were driven off their land from 1993 through 2002. And guess where many of them went? This desperate flight of Mexicans into the United States is being exacerbated by large-scale factory closures along the border as manufacturers leave Mexico for the cut-rate embrace of China’s totalitarian capitalism.
    For Americans who care about preserving ‘Justice and Equality’ for all people within our borders, my belief is if anyone is backing Clinton, they may want to rethink their vote. I dont think Clinton will remember her promise once she is in the White House. I dont think she can be trusted.
    Obamas father was an immigrant and his actions show he has been more prone to do what is right and tell the truth instead of what others with an agenda involving money want him to do.

  • Evelyn
    March 12, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Here is an example of one of those stupid laws and the costs Americans will have to pay when someone makes a mistake, and interprets it wrong.
    Saturday, 08 March 2008
    Minuteman Member and Village Trustee Paul Humpher was convicted of 4 counts of Domestic Violence, according to an article written in the Northwest Herald. Trustee Paul Humpher and his associate, Trustee Judy Sigwalt have both advocated for harsher local ordinances which would punish landlords and businesses that rented or hired undocumented workers. Carpentersville, Illinois is a town that is diversified, with approximately 35% of Latinos residing in the Village of Carpentersville.
    Anti-immigration organization and their supporters who refer to themselves as the “Minuteman” require local officials to “enforce the law”. Many ill-advised local towns like Carpentersville and Waukegan are now requiring employers and landlords to identify the citizenship status of their residents or employee, while trampling on the rights of many U.S. Citizens.
    It should not go unnoticed that many towns are finding themselves in costly legal battles. A Federal lawsuit has been filed against the Village of Carpentersville, to the tune of $30 million dollars. This Civil Rights lawsuit which recognizes the “color of law” cites Carpentersville with depriving rights upheld by the “Constitution” .
    This costly venture of infringing upon the “civil rights” of our residents could not have come at a worse time in our economy. The decision of a local leader to bully families (his own included) and children should create a public outcry and serve as a lesson to all of us. “We are disposable” to elitist and we must unite. Leaders be advised that several municipal insurances do not cover court costs and court fines. Therefore, you are burdening your constituents based on your beliefs. Taxpayer’s, once again, paying the hefty price for decisions made by inadequate Village leaders. One question should be asked of “psuedo patriots”, are they themselves above the rule of law? So Paul was it worth it? People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…..
    Here’s part of the article:
    ST. CHARLES – A Carpentersville trustee could head to jail next month after a judge found him guilty of abusing his wife.
    Paul J. Humpfer, 44, was convicted Wednesday on four counts of misdemeanor domestic battery in a bench trial before Kane County Associate Judge James Hallock.
    Hallock will sentence Humpfer on April 10. He could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, or he could receive probation.
    Humpfer was arrested last summer after a May 17, 2007, incident in the couple’s home.
    Prosecutors accused Humpfer of hitting his wife with a baseball bat, striking her legs and other parts of her body. During the argument, Humpfer also called her names, records state.
    She has filed for an order of protection and for divorce.
    Humpfer had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
    Humpfer first was appointed to the Village Board to serve for about a year in a vacant seat. He then was elected last May to a four-year term.
    Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti has been asked to look into Humpfer’s eligibility to continue to serve as trustee. He has not made a determination.
    It has been an arduous and tumultuous battle over immigration in Carpentersville but the victory goes to those patriots who perserver in the name of truth and justice. Thank you patriots and thank you President Bill Sarto and Ms. Ramirez you are patriots that this country is proud of, keep up the good work!
    Excuse me Mr. State’s Attorney, John Barsanti, I think the determination has been made by the “public.” The very “public” which voted Mr. Humpher into office. Our resolution is as follows: “We the public would like to be kept safe from possible assault by one of our own Trustees.” Is that too much to ask for?
    Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 March 2008 )

  • Frank
    March 12, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Horace, you pretty much said it all. There is no “right” to immigrate to our country and it is the same in every other country. All immigrants need to play by the rules whether they like them or not. Any American who doesn’t agree is an ethnocentric seditionist or a greedy employer who wants to circumevent our laws for cheap labor.
    We need to keep our noses to the grindstone and continue to insist that our laws be honored and enforced that are in place in the best interests of Americans and not foreigners who violate them and disloyal Americans who have an agenda.

  • Publius
    March 12, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    “But NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, had the curious effect of reversing every one of Clinton’s rosy predictions. Once the Mexican government lifted price supports on corn and beans for Mexican farmers, they had to compete against the huge agribusinesses in the United States. The Mexican farmers were swiftly bankrupted. At least 2 million Mexican farmers were driven off their land from 1993 through 2002. And guess where many of them went? This desperate flight of Mexicans into the United States is being exacerbated by large-scale factory closures along the border as manufacturers leave Mexico for the cut-rate embrace of China’s totalitarian capitalism.”
    Let’s see, Mexico, a sovereign nation, allegedly with economists and an intelligencia in it’s legislature and excecutive branches, decided in its wisdom to ratify NAFTA, without coercion, and that’s the US fault. You are insulting the Mexican people by your paternalism. Is it the US fault that Mexicans, with more competitive labor costs but with inefficient farms, cannot compete on the world market? Mexican farmers were doomed to failure in a competitive would market anyway, despite NAFTA. The selfish plutocrats of Mexico did nothing to make their farmers competitive. Who is going to buy Mexican corn when that country’s agricultural practices are small scale, addicted to manual labor and result in high cost product? Mexico itself will not last very long in the world market that they insist that their exported workers are meant to make the US competitive. Mexico is said to be chock full of natural resources and capital, but the rich are reluctant to invest in their own country, and the government is reluctant to permit outside investment. When Mexicans look to blame NAFTA, they should remember that much of their situation is their own fault.

  • Horace
    March 12, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    “This desperate flight of Mexicans into the United States is being exacerbated by large-scale factory closures along the border as manufacturers leave Mexico for the cut-rate embrace of China’s totalitarian capitalism.”
    Who do you blame for this, Evelyn, they U.S.? It seems to me that if Mexico wasn’t competitive with China, the factories would have moved anyway. And what makes you think that Mexico’s inefficient farms would not have failed anyway, after all, there are many countries in the world that can produce corn more cheaply than Mexico. China is also undercutting Europe, North America, etc, so why do you blame the U.S. for competition that is putting us at a disadvantage as well? Evelyn, you’re just scapegoating the U.S. for problems of Mexico’s own making. Scapegoating…mmm, seems to me that I’ve heard that somewhere before in this blog. Blaming the U.S. for Mexico’s own failures will do Mexico no good and will only serve to antagonize the Americans, as they see through Mexico’s blame game.

  • Horace
    March 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    “The immigration system is broken.
    That phrase has been used so often in the immigration reform debate that it’s now a cliché.”
    It’s only broken because Mexico is sending its economic refugees North in unmanageable numbers. Your argument is like saying our police departments are broken because we have an overwhelming number of criminals in the streets. Just as in the case of an overwhelmed police departments, our Border Patrol is overwhelmed by the number of illegal immigrants coming across our borders. If Mexicans would stop coming, our immigration folks wouldn’t have to arrest and deport them, and you wouldn’t have the opportunity to make the specious claim that our immigration system is broken. Again, attacking the immigration system is just another way of scapegoating this country for the failures of Mexico.

  • Evelyn
    March 12, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    “To live in the shadow of the United States is no fun even for countries halfway around the globe. For its next-door neighbor, Mexico, it is a special kind of hell.
    It used to be that if the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or even Associated Press launched an attack on anyone in Mexico, that person’s days were numbered as a political or economic force. In recent decades, the narco-accusations have been seasonal with every election year. And whether they were true or not, they led to the fall of some players and the rise of others to take their places.”
    The comment above is taken from a news paper from Mexico.
    Do you think people in Mexico like being poor. Everyone knows the people in power in Mexico are European Spanish supported by the U.S. gov. Mexicos corrupt leaders are in collision with the U.S. gov. Here are some leads put in a joking way because it is funny how stupid people want Mexicans to “FIX” Mexicos corrupt gov…..yah right, how..???…by going up against the U.S. gov. In 1968 the university students in Mexico tried it and they are all dead!!!!

  • Evelyn
    March 12, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    If the best argument you’ve got is to blame ‘only me’ for what millions of people including hundreds of economists are saying…well I would say you’ve already lost…???
    Horace said, “there is no human or international right for a foreign national to cross another nation’s borders without permission. Anyone who advocates that such a right exists is a liar.”
    Others agree with you. They said, “There is no “right” to immigrate to our country and it is the same in every other country. All immigrants need to play by the rules whether they like them or not. Any American who doesn’t agree is an ethnocentric sedation’s or a greedy employer who wants to circumvent our laws for cheap labor.
    I would like to ask if that includes all the criminal, murdering, illegal aliens including your family who came from Europe to invade these lands, murder 95% of the people here and steal their land or are they exempt because they were ‘white’ or because it was their ‘God given right’. Lets see you spin that one, OH NO better yet refocus and attack me, for speaking the truth!!!!! ROTFLMAO

  • Frank
    March 13, 2008 at 7:56 am

    My ancestors came here after the U.S. was established as a sovereign nation with borders and laws. They didn’t murder anyone nor did they violate the immigration laws of our established country.
    I don’t think any who are descendants of the “murdering so-called illegal alien Europeans” condone such actions. But there is nothing we can do about the past. Those people are all dead now and we played no role in the past. To say that because some remote ancestor of ours may have, does not justify spitting on our immigration laws of today.

    March 13, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Oh boy, here we go with the history lessons again. Some one needs to pull their head out of their past and be reminded again that when the Europeans, including the Spanish conquers, came to this country there was no such thing as immigration laws. The rule of the day was invade and conquer to claim land for the mother country. It may not have been right by anyones standards today, but it was acceptable and even noble during an earlier time.
    Today everything is different since we have established borders and laws against entering a nation illegally. The United States of America is a soveriegn nation and has every right to control immigration in the same way every other country does. No attack, no spin, only the truth.

  • Frank
    March 13, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Just a few more points to make about the past.
    The pro-illegal crowd shoud stop trying to justify illegal immigration by pointing to injustices and wars of the past. This country did not invent slavery, but it ended it. There are still countries today which practice slavery. Slavery also existed in Latin American countries and the Spanish fought against the indigenous also.
    Do not attempt to apply centuries-old ethics to the 21st century. All countries and peoples in past centuries fought with each other over land and resources and to the victors went the spoils. At the time the Spanish came to the New World, they had just freed themselves from 800 years of Muslim occupation. That is how things were done hundreds of years ago. Even the so-called “Native Americans” fought with each other, killed each other, and took each other as captives.
    The Aztecs had so brutalized the other tribes (used many of them in their human sacrifices even) that those tribes allied themselves with the Spanish to defeat the Aztecs.
    We are now living in modern times. Every country, including those South of the border, have internationally recognized borders and the right to enforce their immigration laws. Immigration laws exist for good reasons and every country has them. Legal immigration insures that people who come in undergo criminal background checks and health screenings. Legal immigration prevents our infrastructure, schools, hospitals, social services, and other resources from being overwhelmed and also facilitates the integration of the newcomers into our society. Illegal immigration causes the opposite to happen and resulting chaos. We are merely asking our government to honor their promise and enforce our immigration laws as any other country.

  • Horace
    March 13, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Frank, don’t forget to mention that Spain, a genetic contributer to the population of Mexico was responsible for the murder of millions of indigenous peoples on a scale much greater than ever occurred in the United States. Maybe Evelyn will resort to beating herself with a stick in a fit of remorse for the part her Spanish genes played in the genocide of the American Indians of Central and South America.

  • Frank
    March 13, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    The thing is Horace is that these Mestizos play down their Spanish genes so they can play victim with their native indian genes. As you said, why don’t they just beat themselves up with a stick afterall is was their ancestors too that plaglurized the natives. They act like it was only the English Europeans that played a role in that.

  • Evelyn
    March 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Your racist bigoted “WHITE WASHED” version of history is such a sham, I didnt even bother to read it. Do you really think ALL Americans choose to believe your lies? If you do, I’ve got some land on the moon I can give you a good deal bla bla bla bla bla bla! HA! HA! HA!
    Sign The Petition
    End Immigrant Bashing

  • Evelyn
    March 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I thought you knew, I dont have any Spanish Genes.

  • Frank
    March 14, 2008 at 7:37 am

    If one has European ancestry Irish for example then they are in the same boat as the rest of us whites.

  • Evelyn
    March 14, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Horace specifically stated “Spanish genes,” because he believes only Hispanics defend justice and equality for all people.
    Well, I have news for him. My father is Irish, and he and his family are ashamed about what the Europeans did to the Native Americans.
    They all accept it was horribly wrong. They dont try to ‘white wash’ the invasion of America. They dont deny all the murder and genocide used as a way to exterminate the Indians.
    In fact he considers the invasion of the Americas worse than the atrocities that Hitler comitted, because “Euroamericans are still making excuses for the actions of their ancestors and are bound to make the same mistakes again,” he says.
    My father and all of his family are appalled that more Americans are not aware of the truth about Americas white washed history. They are saddened by the racism and bigotry that has permeated throughout the debate on immigration and thinks that racism will ultimately be the demise of this country as we know it.
    My family can trace their roots back to a relative who was one of the original “San Patricio’s” we have relatives in Ireland and on my last trip there with my parents
    We visited a town that flies the Mexican flag every day of the year in honor of one of the “San Patricio’s” that was a native son.

  • Frank
    March 15, 2008 at 8:09 am

    I don’t know of a reasonable human being on the face of this earth that isn’t saddened about atrocities against anyone past, present or future. But there isn’t anything we can do about the past and those alive today shouldn’t have to make amends for something they didn’t do. No one is white-washing the past. That would mean denying it and and we are not. The different native tribes back then fought among themselves and annilated each other too.
    But throughout history wars have been fought and land has exchanged hands on this whole planet. Every country has its own government, its own borders and its own laws now. Even the native indians came from somewhere else, they didn’t sprout up out of the ground like corn. The first human beings originated in Africa.
    The “San Patricio’s” were Irish immigrants to the U.S. (about 800)who actually fought on the Mexican side AGAINST the U.S. during the Mexican/American war. The English name for them is the “St. Patrick’s Brigade. Those who were captured were court martialed and hung for treason and sedition in Mexico City at the end of the war. They put their religious loyalty as Catholics before their loyalty to their country.
    Many of the Mestizos (native indian and white Spaniard) who are living among us and in Mexico are also trying to claim land that doesn’t belong to them anymore and never did. The Aztecs never even lived this far north. The Mestizos of today have the Spanish conquerors blood running through their veins. They aren’t full blooded native indian. They can’t just claim their native indian side as an argument that they own this land and deny their Spanish blood. The Spanish migrated over here just as the English, Irish, etc. did and they committed more atrocities against the natives than the rest of the white Europeans.

  • Horace
    March 15, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Frank, if her family are US citizens, I pity Evelyn. It’s like having Benedict Arnold for an ancestor. I pity her family for still holding a grudge. Perhaps her family aren’t even US citizens but Mexicans, living in an obscure Irish enclave in Mexico city, still of pure Irish blood, in the vein of the British aristocracy who colonized India and Hong Kong. In that case, they lived there for decades without genetically intermingling as segregationists with airs of superiority. If this is so, her criticism would be the height of hypocrisy. Could she be overcompensating for her feelings of guilt?

  • Evelyn
    March 16, 2008 at 2:39 am

    I also think the “San Patricios” are double Hero’s. They choose what was right over an illegal unjust unprovoked war that was wrong.
    They fought gallantly, refusing to give up.
    This war was started because of an IDIOT RACIST president who believed some IDIOT RACIST who thought up “manifest destiny” in his IDIOT MIND. How dumb could these people be?
    Bagpipes Honor Irish Who Fought for Mexico
    By Chris Hawley, USA TODAY
    MEXICO CITY — Every month, a wail of bagpipes reverberates through a plaza in downtown Mexico City, causing startled passersby to stop and stare.
    Then, from behind the bullet-scarred walls of an old fortress, a platoon of Mexican bagpipers emerges through the gates — paying tribute to an obscure but divisive chapter of history involving Mexico, Ireland and the United States.
    The ceremony honors the St. Patrick Battalion, a group of 600 Irish-American soldiers who switched sides to fight for Mexico in the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War. On St. Patrick’s Day, many Mexicans will raise a glass to commemorate the “Irish martyrs” who are regarded as heroes in a war that still arouses passions here.
    “It’s a little bit of a weird twist on history … and quite romantic for the Irish community,” said Myles Doherty, the Irish consul in Mexico City.
    The battalion’s story begins with Ireland’s Potato Famine of the 1840s, which forced thousands of Irish to emigrate to the USA and other countries.
    In May 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico in a dispute over the boundaries of Texas. Many of the desperate Irish were recruited for the war, sometimes within days of landing in New York, said Carlos Mayer, a Mexico City historian and expert on the battalion.
    Most of the American commanders were Protestants, and they treated these Roman Catholic immigrants badly, Mayer said. Mexico offered land and higher wages to its recruits. As the fighting wore on, some of the U.S. recruits began to grow restless.
    “Many of them began to realize that Mexico was a fellow Catholic country that was being invaded and that was really defenseless in the face of the American military superiority,” he said. “So they began switching sides.”
    San Patricios
    The deserters became known as the San Patricios and were led by John Riley, an artilleryman who had fought in the British army. They were joined by a few Swiss, French, Scottish and German recruits, most of them also Catholic.
    Called los colorados, or “the redheads,” by their Mexican comrades, they fought against the Americans at the key battles of Monterrey, Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo.
    The Americans eventually reached the outskirts of Mexico City on Aug. 20, 1847. Mexican forces, with the remaining San Patricios handling the artillery, pounded the Americans from a monastery-turned-fort on the Churubusco River until they ran out of ammunition. Thirty-five San Patricios died in the battle, 85 were captured, and another 85 retreated with the remnants of the Mexican army.
    On Sept. 13, 1847, the Americans seized Chapultepec Castle in the war’s last major battle. San Patricios who had deserted before the war were branded by the Americans with the letter “D” on one cheek. The rest were hanged, including 30 who were executed at the foot of Chapultepec Hill.
    “They were hanged at the moment that the American flag was raised over the castle of Chapultepec, so that they would take that sight to hell with them,” Mayer said.
    Mexico lost nearly half its territory as a result of the war, while the United States gained California and the Southwest. Even today, many Mexican school textbooks portray the war as an unjust land grab by the United States that led to the divergent economic paths followed by the two neighbors.
    Monthly commemoration
    The former monastery of Churubusco, where the San Patricios were defeated, is a national museum dedicated to the invasions Mexico has suffered. The bullet holes are still in the walls, and the cannons commanded by John Riley stand outside.
    Every first Sunday of the month, the St. Patrick Battalion Pipe Band plays in the soldiers’ honor. On several weekends, an actor portraying Riley gives talks to schoolchildren and tourists. The battalion’s name is written in gold letters in the chamber of Mexico’s House of Representatives.
    The San Patricios were seen much differently in the USA, even by fellow Irish immigrants, said Ian McGowan, archivist at the Institute for Irish-American Studies at the City University of New York.
    “For a good 40 or 50 years, they were almost completely forgotten about,” McGowan said. “The unofficial position of Irish who were looking to become Americans in the 19th century was not to discuss them.”
    Recently, Americans have begun to pay more attention to the battalion. Several books have been written in the past decade and the 1999 movie One Man’s Hero was about Riley.
    Bernard Brennan, an Irish-American tourist from San Francisco, said he learned about the battalion from a Mexican friend. On a recent afternoon, he snapped pictures of a carved stone plaque on the plaza where 16 of the Irish soldiers were hanged.
    “In memory of the Irish soldiers of the heroic St. Patrick Battalion, who gave their lives for the cause of Mexico during the unjust American invasion of 1847,” the plaque says.
    Brennan said he doesn’t see the soldiers as traitors.
    “As an Irish-American, I’m proud of them,” he said. “Sometimes you have to stand up and say, ‘What my country is doing is wrong.’ I think they’re heroes, heroes of conscience.”
    Hawley is Latin America correspondent for USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic

  • Evelyn
    March 16, 2008 at 4:44 am

    If you had the capacity to care about the atrocities of the past or present you would be against destroying families who were allowed to come here by our gov. and settle down, integrate into American families, and have American children.
    You would be appalled that these families can be raided in the middle of the night, and left without one or both parents. You would be appalled that American children have to self-deport to live in countries where they have never lived and dont speak the language, because our gov, choose to look the other way while their parents were allowed to come here, were allowed to work here, were allowed to settle here, and were allowed to start a family here.
    This has been happening for the past 18-20 years and now the GOP and some racist Dem’s. are pandering to racist eurocentrics for votes by terrorising Hispanic families, instead of doing the job we are paying them to do, which is fix the broken immigration system.
    If it was your family you would be appalled. If this was happening to other white families you would also be appalled.
    You say there is nothing you can do because of what happened in the past when the Indians were pushed off their lands, raided, raped, and killed. You could keep it from happening again, instead of advocating for it to happen again.
    You could advocate for justice and equality instead of hate and divisiveness. You could call attention to all racist who use lies to demonize immigrants instead of cheering people who do this, and doing it yourself.
    You could advocate that the gov. treat immigrants who come to work the same way it treated the immigrants who came from Europe to murder , rape, and steal land from the indigenous. The gov, made them automatic American citizens.
    You could do the right thing instead of choosing to believe the lies and the ideologies of racism and do what is morally and humanly wrong, that is of course, if you had any morals.
    This continent belongs to all Native Americans and always will. No line, no fence, and no wall will ever change that. Walls, fences, and mistreatment of people different from us will be our downfall. If racism is allowed to continue the U.S.A. will fall just like the Roman Empire.
    Most Mexicans, 90% are Indians, the fact they are tainted with European blood means nothing. They are as much Indian as the Indians in the U.S. who are also tainted with European blood, and forced to speak English much like the Mexicans who were forced to speak Spanish. All one has to do is look at their faces to see the Indian.

  • Frank
    March 16, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Americans will not pay for our government’s deceit of our citizens and for those who violated our immigration laws and were a part of this deceit.
    Time to take our country back. Throw the bums out of office and the illegals over the border.

  • Alessandra
    March 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Sorry, Evelyn, standing up and saying that you believe your country is wrong in its policy is one thing; taking up arms and fighting AGAINST your own country is treason by any country’s definition of it.
    But, as they say, one country’s traitors are another country’s heroes. That is why the Patricio’s are celebrated in Mexico and not the U.S.
    And, Evelyn, those coming from South of the border have never lived here in the first place. I have an anthropological map of all of the various tribes which inhabited this continent. Not one of those from South of the border lived in this part of the continent. Do the descendants of the Aztecs, Toltecs, or Mayans think they also have a “right” to live and work in Canada? The Canadians would object to this I can assure you. Do the Inuits, Seminole, or Apache have a “right” to immigrate and work in Argentina or Brazil without the proper papers granted by those respective governments? I don’t think that would fly either.
    Most of the people coming here now are from Central and Southern Mexico and Central America. They or their ancestors never lived in what is now Michigan, Massachusetts, or Virginia. So let’s stop the nonsense. This is Socialist/Marxist propaganda picked up by radical Chicano nationalists and being used to justify illegal immigration.
    It’s like a Greek person today claiming that they have a “right” to enter into Sweden and work without the permission of the Swedish government because they are “indigenous” to the continent. It just would not be an argument which would hold water.
    The fact is that migrants from the South are NOT coming for “THE LAND.” They are coming for what we as a nation have established on the land over a period of centuries. They are coming to avail themselves of our economic, political, and legal system which they had NO PART in creating. The citizens of the U.S. built this nation. They did not create this nation anymore than American citizens created Mexico.
    Now, you do have a point that our own government did not enforce the laws for 30+ years. They looked the other way–they knew full well that these people were coming in, but chose to ignore it to please business interests who wanted a steady supply of cheap labor. And in deporting these people, we are letting the employers off the hook.
    I do think that some kind of solution will be reached which will involve some compromise. Neither side will get all of what they want.

  • Evelyn
    March 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm


  • Horace
    March 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Evely, do the italians make reparations for their Roman ancestors or the French for the results of the predations of Napoleon. Americans have forgotten about the past that you rave about, and neither you nor any advocacy group is going to successfully use that as a rationalization for ditching our immigration laws, so quit ranting.
    Americans are not about to sacrifice their well-being in order to make up for the past practices in their dealings with the Indians. Most Americans do not feel responsibility for the poor judgment of Mexicans, so we’re not about to spend the billions of dollars that would be required to bootstrap Mexico and its citizens.
    Mexico is a democracy and those that come here are part of that democracy. NAFTA was signed by representatives of the Mexican government, so it is to that body that illegal aliens should turn for rectifying any mistakes, just as we expect from our own people.
    No one lured Mexicans here, just as Korea doesn’t lure Americans to their land to teach English. Americans answer legitimate want adds, apply for and are granted visas, as are others who work in other jobs in Korea. That’s the way every nation works. If the Korean people should decide tomorrow that employment of foreigners is against their best interests, these people should accept their will and go home preferably without rioting, because that’s the honest thing to do. Had Mexico bothered to go through the trouble of negotiating an agreement with the U.S. for guest workers, its people wouldn’t be crossing the border illegally today, with all the consequential suffering involved in that act. The jobs were already here and they took advantage of our open border knowing full well they could be deported. And we will fullfill their expectations. Anything else only encourages further illegal immigration.
    The tragedy for them and theif families is solely of their own making. That they decided to have children here and claim citizenship for them is something that they’ll have to live with.
    Mexicans should not be given special privilege over Koreans or any other foreign national for the purpose of citizenship, which is what they’re asking. Tens of thousands of foreign nationals come here on work visas and are not given the special path to citizenship asked for by Mexicans and their advocates. My Korean brother-in-law and his wife came over on a work visa and had two kids here. He had no path for to citizenship, as one didn’t exist. When his project was done he went home to Seoul, without protesting in the streets and calling Americans xenophobes and racists. He and other Koreans respect U.S. law. Why should your illegal aliens obtain a better deal than my brother-in-law? Maybe their children will come back to the U.S., like my brother-in-law’s sons did and start a new life, and even sponsor their parents, just as the boys will someday do.

  • Frank
    March 16, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I am not appalled by the enforcement of our immigration laws. It is the parents who are to blame for any family seperations. They brought it on themselves. From what I understand when parents are put into the detention centers their children are put in there with them so they aren’t “seperated”. Those here illegally can take their children back to their homelands. Mexico for example has dual citizenship.
    Again, we American citizens are not going to pay for our government’s lack of securing our borders of which they are sworn to do. The politicians responsible will pay by losing their seats in congress and the illegals will either be deported or will self-deport. That is the only solution for law abiding Americans who care about the future of this country in everyway. No compromises! All the guilty will pay including the greedy employers.
    The continent doesn’t belong to anyone. There are countries within this continent and citizens who live within those countries. That is what the modern world is all about.
    Mexico’s citizens are 60% Mestizo ( a mix of white- Spanish and native indian). The other 40% is divided up between full blooded indian and other racial groups. There are no 90% full blooded indians left in Mexico.
    They are no longer forced to speak Spanish. They can go back to speaking their native tongues any time they want too. If they continue to speak Spanish then that is their choice. No one is holding a gun to there heads saying “speak Spanish or else”.
    There is racism in every race. Whites are less racist than they used to be. Now other races are taking over the title.
    Tainted blood? LOL! Sounds like something that Hitler prescribed too. He wanted pure white blood. Now pure brown blood is desirable instead
    Politically, I don’t know of any other group being pandered to more than Hispanics these days.
    Demonize “immigrants”? Are whom you speaking of entering our counry illegally. They aren’t immigrants.
    I am all for justice. That is why we have laws. I am all for equality where equality is rendered. I get to stay in my house and criminals have to go to jail. Is that unequal?
    As Horace said, why the concern about children having to go back to a homeland they never knew when on the same token the illegal alien parents bring their kids here to a country that they aren’t familiar with and don’t speak the language and they survive, don’t they? Most of these kids learn Spanish from their parents anyway. So going back to Mexico shouldn’t be a problem. “Me thinks thou protests too much.”
    History isn’t repeating itself. Native indians are not being raped and murdered en masse as in the past. Bring ourself up to 2008 and then we can talk.

  • Evelyn
    March 21, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Please show me where I stated “I was going to take up arms and fight against my own country.”
    Do you really think the war with Mexico was a just war?
    If we are to accept millions upon millions of Europeans from across the ocean who came to eradicate the indigenous population and steal their land, well than yes we should accept the indigenous who are invited here and allowed to come by our gov.
    Especially because the U.S. gov has their long arm in the cookie jar down there. WE have turned their country into a third world country just the way we turned reservations into third world looking reservations. After all, this is their Continent and we have already run them off their lands twice.
    Shouldn’t we have learned something from our mistakes by now.
    You say they are coming to avail themselves of our economic, political, and legal system.
    What happened to their economic, political, and legal system?
    Let me tell you, it disappeared because the U.S. gov. has propelled thieves from Europe into leadership positions so for a price we can steal natural resources, and install policies that benefit the U.S. gov.
    We have always said to hell with the people. When people from south of the border come here, they are following their countries wealth.

  • Alessandra
    March 21, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Evelyn, I believe you misunderstood my point. You never said that you were going to take up arms against your country, nor did I suggest that you did.
    I was referring to the Patricios who, in fact, did desert their military posts to join the other side in fighting against the U.S. This is treason by any countries’ definition.
    The total discipline of the military would break down if we allowed each individual to decide which wars they wanted to fight and which ones they did not. However, desertion is one thing and actually taking up arms and fighting against your own countrymen is quite another.
    We are not responsible for the “indigenous” from South of the border any more than those countries are responsible for those indigenous to the U.S. Their governments are responsible for improving conditions in their respective countries. We did not run them off of any land; if anything, their dispute should be with Spain who colonized Mexico, Central and South America and bequeathed their somewhat archaic system to those areas.
    As I stated before, we are now living in the 21st century with nation-states and internationally recognized borders. This is not a difficult concept. Each sovereign nation has the right to enforce their immigration laws to the benefit of their citizens.
    Immigration laws exist to protect the workers of a given nation, ensure that the infrastucture, schools, hospitals, and social benefits are not overwhelmed, and to facilitate the newcomers (legal immigrants) to integrate into the community. We aren’t talking about people merely “inhabiting” the land. We now exist in a modern, sophisticated economy in which we need to regulate the amount of people coming in and also the skills which they can contribute to our economy to keep us competitive in a global economy. These factors were not in play centuries ago.
    Mexico’s problems are not entirely the fault of the U.S. If you would like a different perspective, you might want to read through this document.
    The policies agreed upon by the governments of Mexico and the U.S. might not be beneficial to the average Mexican or American citizen. Like I said, I know many people who also lost jobs they have held for years due to NAFTA, for example. Do those people get to enter Mexico illegally to take one of their jobs that went there? I don’t think so.
    If the government would demonstrate that they are serious about enforcing immigration laws which they have neglected to do for all these years, perhaps some kind of compromise could be worked out. But to import 50+ million mostly uneducated and poor people from whatever country might benefit the businesses who want their cheap labor, but not so good for the tax payers. So, we have to look at all sides of this issue.

  • Frank
    March 21, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Who is this “we” that accepted the Europeans that came and annilated the native population? Those “we’s” are all dead and gone now. “We” are “us” now. A whole different time and place and generation in history. Those of us alive today are not responsible for the past nor do the sins of the past. Nothing is owed to anyone. Our country has a right to have immigration laws and the right to enforce them. A few crooks in our government and businesses who supposedly invited illegals here don’t have the final say in this country and they didn’t have the right to do that.
    We are holding all guilty parties accountable now. Our government, the employers and the illegal themselves and rightly so! We are supposed to be a government for the people and by the people not a few crooks.

  • Evelyn
    March 22, 2008 at 4:17 am

    I asked you 1 question. Do you think this was a just war. History tells us it was not.
    INVASION YANQUI: The Mexican War, 1846–1848
    Frances Leonard
    In July 1846, as two armies were massing south of the Rio Grande, a philosopher and poet in Massachusetts refused to pay his poll tax and spent a night in the Concord jail to protest what he viewed as an unjust war. It was, he said, the work of a few individuals who were using the government as their tool. Because peace-loving citizens respected the law, they gave support to a governmental decision that was turning men into “a file of soldiers—colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder monkeys, and all— marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their will, ay, against their common sense and consciences ….”
    Its eloquence notwithstanding, Henry David Thoreau’s protest did little to diminish the enthusiasm with which regiments from New Hampshire, North Carolina, Kentucky, or Illinois marched to the Mexican War. But his theme was revived 120 years later, along with a brief interest in that war, as protest mounted against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. The two wars were described as acts of aggression, in which a strong nation attacked the weak, to wrest concessions that apparently could not be gained through negotiation. Although each war was justified by its supporters as being fought to preserve fundamental beliefs—the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, in one case, and the right of a nation to choose its own destiny, in the other—these principles were of dubious merit. Both wars were proclaimed to be immoral misadventures that ultimately divided the nation and tarnished its reputation.
    Thus ran a typical exchange in this brief, impassioned debate of the 1960s. But public attention quickly shifted, and the Mexican War was consigned once more to the Limbo of history, where it has wandered for more than a century in the company of other events that are deemed irrelevant to modern concerns. So the question now is “Why remember?” What meaning can be found in a lithograph of the Battle of Buena Vista or a song written to commemorate those who died in the war? Unless we like quaint illustrations or have a fondness for names and dates from the past, why should we stop to look at photographs of mementos and artifacts from this forgotten war?
    One reason, of course, is that Mexico remembers. Each September the nation pays tribute to Los Niños Héroes, the six cadets who gave their lives in defense of Chapultepec Castle and thereby gained immortality as the nation’s symbol of patriotism. But Mexicans also harbor dark memories of a defeat that stripped the nation of almost half its territory. For decades after signing the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico regarded the United States with a burning hatred that it was powerless to express. In his lithograph of General Scott’s triumphant entry into Mexico City, the German-born artist Carl Nebel deftly sketches the Mexican attitude in a few citizens who watch the Yanquis in cautious silence, while a beggar snatches up a cobblestone to hurl at the conquerors.
    Another reason to remember is the hope that an understanding of the past may shed light upon the character of the modern Southwest with its pride, its prejudices, its diverse cultures that often jostle but do not easily intermingle, its profound mistrust of federal government, and its impatience with the genteel process of negotiation. Although the Southwest has undergone great changes in the past 150 years, the region retains the imprint of those attitudes that separated it from Mexico and joined it to the United States.
    It was, in short, a war for territory that the United States intended to possess—territory that President James K. Polk preferred to purchase but was willing to fight for.
    To judge by the documents that survive, the war was welcomed by most people in the United States. Eager for the nation to grow, many citizens suspected that negotiation was a sign of weakness. They perceived war as an appropriate solution to the conflict over territorial rights. When the call went out for volunteers, recruiting officers could have filled many regiments beyond their quota. The cause of expansion, the patriotism of the volunteers, and the winning ways of commanders were heralded in story and song. Not everyone supported the war, but the majority seemed convinced that their cause was just.
    Mexican leaders believed the war was unjust. By right, the land was theirs (a point that was tacitly conceded in the United States’ offer of purchase), and it had been invaded by a hostile army upon orders of the U.S. President. Moreover, the United States had annexed Texas and was clearly planning to take California as well. In fact, an impulsive Yanqui, Commodore Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, had invaded the California port of Monterey in 1842 and forced the Mexican governor to surrender, before learning that the two nations were not yet at war.
    Impoverished by just having fought
    incessant revolutions, Mexico could ill-afford to equip and maintain an army; yet political instability left the country with no choice. For more than a decade, each president had followed the same route to office, proclaiming that a Yanqui invasion was imminent and denouncing the man in office for failing to take action. Having come to power by this same argument, President Mariano Paredes y Arillaga found himself confronted by an invading army, and he could not escape acting upon his word. On April 23,1846, he formally declared a defensive war against the United States.
    If ambition and the tactics of politicians propelled Mexico into war, a comparable level of ambition and fiercely partisan politics muddled the United States’ conduct of that war. President Polk fervently hoped that he could assign a Democrat as field commander in Mexico, but the qualified generals were not only members of (he Whig party but also potential nominees for the presidency. Thus, every decision that he made was viewed as a political ploy to advance or discredit his opponents. When he tried to circumvent the generals and their politics by negotiating an end to the war, Polk succeeded in handing back to Mexico its exiled leader, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who prolonged the conflict by another year.
    There is no clearer illustration of Mexico’s capacity to baffle and frustrate the expectations of the United States than the career of Santa Anna. Five times elevated to the presidency and five times ousted for his apparent betrayal of the national good, he veered unpredictably from the crafty to the maladroit in his exercise of leadership. Although he came close to defeating General Zachary Taylor’s forces at Buena Vista, he withdrew from the field under cover of night. When he turned to confront General Winfield Scott’s troops, who had made the United States’ first amphibious landing at Veracruz, he was so confident of his battle plan that he brushed aside all reports that conflicted with his schemes. As he fell back from Cerro Gordo to Contreras to Churubusco and finally to Chapultepec, he remained confident that he would somehow emerge victorious.
    This conviction cost thousands of lives. Five thousand U.S. soldiers—one in every five—died during the seventeen months of armed conflict, chiefly from infection and disease. The toll of Mexican losses was far higher: 25,000 men died, and countless more were wounded and maimed in the savage battles. III-clothed, seldom paid, often unfed, poorly trained, badly equipped, and not always well-commanded, the Mexican soldiers put up a valiant but hopeless fight. In the end they fought for the honor of dying for their country.
    FROM this war that is so seldom remembered, the United States emerged with its prize: one-half million square miles of new territory containing riches untold. It emerged also with a classic essay on the moral responsibility of citizens, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, and a well-trained corps of officers who would put their combat skills to devastating use against each other in the Civil War. Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, “Stonewall” Jackson, and William T. Sherman, among others, gained their first combat experience in Mexico.
    But the victory also confirmed and strengthened the force of unfortunate Yanqui attitudes that the Mexicans had found so very threatening: a fierce intolerance of Catholicism; a conviction that the Mexicans, like the Indians and Negroes, were an inferior race; a belief that people who did not speak English were ignorant; and an open scorn for different attitudes toward the uses to be made of time and the land. These very attitudes had provoked armed rebellion in New Mexico and California after both states had surrendered almost without resistance, and they led also to the formation of the San Patricios, a battalion consisting primarily of Irish Catholic soldiers who deserted to fight for Mexico in the war.
    After the war, these same attitudes were directed against Mexicans who had lived in the Southwest for generations. Many had their ancestral lands taken by force or through lengthy court battles; others could not endure the open contempt of their customs and traditions or the public sanctions that restricted their freedom. Homeless in their homeland, they went to Mexico or to states like Louisiana, where cultural diversity was accepted. Some Mexicans remained in the Southwest, however, becoming citizens of the United States or its territories; and they were joined by others who migrated northward in the wake of revolution, famine, or other catastrophes that beset Mexico in successive decades.
    TODAY the Southwest stands in ironic reversal of its situation in 1845. Now it is part of the United States, and the people who stand at its boundaries, poised to enter either legally or illegally, are Mexicans, once the possessors of the land. As they increase in numbers, they are reasserting the language, the religion, and the customs that once defined the culture of the Southwest. This time it is they who challenge the Yanquis: for economic opportunity, for individual rights and liberties, and for tolerance of their cultural differences. They are, in short, challenging the people of the Southwest to share the destiny that was promised by the land.
    You also stated Mexicans were not pushed off their land. I say it happend twice. This was the first time.

  • Evelyn
    March 22, 2008 at 4:50 am

    This was the second time Mexicans were illegally removed from their land and homes.
    U.S. urged to apologize for 1930s deportations
    Updated 4/5/2006 6:57
    By Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY
    American-born Ignacio Pina, 81, returned to the USA after 16 years in Mexico.
    Pina, then 6, at right front row, and siblings lived in Montana before they were deported.
    By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
    His father and oldest sister were farming sugar beets in the fields of Hamilton, Mont., and his mother was cooking tortillas when 6-year-old Ignacio Piña saw plainclothes authorities burst into his home.
    “They came in with guns and told us to get out,” recalls Piña, 81, a retired railroad worker in Bakersfield, Calif., of the 1931 raid. “They didn’t let us take anything,” not even a trunk that held birth certificates proving that he and his five siblings were U.S.-born citizens.
    The family was thrown into a jail for 10 days before being sent by train to Mexico. Piña says he spent 16 years of “pure hell” there before acquiring papers of his Utah birth and returning to the USA.
    The deportation of Piña’s family tells an almost-forgotten story of a 1930s anti-immigrant campaign. Tens of thousands, and possibly more than 400,000, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were pressured — through raids and job denials — to leave the USA during the Depression, according to a USA TODAY review of documents and interviews with historians and deportees. Many, were U.S. citizens.
    If their tales seem incredible, a newspaper analysis of the history textbooks used most in U.S. middle and high schools may explain why: Little has been written about the exodus, often called “the repatriation.”
    That may soon change. As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on bills that would either help illegal workers become legal residents or boost enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, an effort to address deportations that happened 70 years ago has gained traction:
    • On Thursday, Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., plans to introduce a bill in the U.S. House that calls for a commission to study the “deportation and coerced emigration” of U.S. citizens and legal residents. The panel would also recommend remedies that could include reparations. “An apology should be made,” she says.
    Co-sponsor Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., says history may repeat itself. He says a new House bill that makes being an illegal immigrant a felony could prompt a “massive deportation of U.S. citizens,” many of them U.S.-born children leaving with their parents.
    • In January, California became the first state to enact a bill that apologizes to Latino families for the 1930s civil rights violations. It declined to approve the sort of reparations the U.S. Congress provided in 1988 for Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.
    Democratic state Sen. Joe Dunn, a self-described “Irish white guy from Minnesota” who sponsored the state bill, is now pushing a measure to require students be taught about the 1930s emigration. He says as many as 2 million people of Mexican ancestry were coerced into leaving, 60% of them U.S. citizens.
    • In October, a group of deportees and their relatives, known as los repatriados, will host a conference in Detroit on the topic. Organizer Helen Herrada, whose father was deported, has conducted 100 oral histories and produced a documentary. She says many sent to Mexico felt “humiliated” and didn’t want to talk about it. “They just don’t want it to happen again.”
    No precise figures exist on how many of those deported in the 1930s were illegal immigrants. Since many of those harassed left on their own, and their journeys were not officially recorded, there are also no exact figures on the total number who departed.
    “It was a racial removal program,” says Mae Ngai, an immigration history expert at the University of Chicago, adding people of Mexican ancestry were targeted.
    However, Americans in the 1930s were “really hurting,” says Otis Graham, history professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. One in four workers were unemployed and many families hungry.
    In the early 1900s, Mexicans poured into the USA, welcomed by U.S. factory and farm owners who needed their labor. Until entry rules tightened in 1924, they simply paid a nickel to cross the border and get visas for legal residency.
    “The vast majority were here legally, because it was so easy to enter legally. Many had lived here all their lives.
    They spread out across the nation. They sharecropped in California, Texas and Louisiana, harvested sugar beets in Montana and Minnesota, laid railroad tracks in Kansas, mined coal in Utah and Oklahoma, packed meat in Chicago and assembled cars in Detroit.
    By 1930, the U.S. Census counted 1.42 million people of Mexican ancestry, and 805,535 of them were U.S. born, up from 700,541 in 1920.
    Change came in 1929, as the stock market and U.S. economy crashed. That year, U.S. officials tightened visa rules, reducing legal immigration from Mexico to a trickle. They also discussed what to do with those already in the USA.
    “The government undertook a program that coerced people to leave,” says Layla Razavi, policy analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). “It was really a hostile environment.” She says federal officials in the Hoover administration, like local-level officials, made no distinction between people of Mexican ancestry who were in the USA legally and those who weren’t.
    “The document trail is shocking,” says Dunn, whose staff spent two years researching the topic after he read the 1995 book Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s, by Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez.
    USA TODAY reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, some provided by Dunn and MALDEF and others found at the National Archives. They cite officials saying the deportations lawfully focused on illegal immigrants while the exodus of legal residents was voluntary. Yet they suggest people of Mexican ancestry faced varying forms of harassment and intimidation:
    • Raids. Officials staged well-publicized raids in public places. On Feb. 26, 1931, immigration officials suddenly closed off La Placita, a square in Los Angeles, and questioned the roughly 400 people there about their legal status.
    The raids “created a climate of fear and anxiety” and prompted many Mexicans to leave voluntarily, says Balderrama, professor of Chicano studies and history at California State University, Los Angeles.
    In a June 1931 memo to superiors, Walter Carr, Los Angeles district director of immigration, said “thousands upon thousands of Mexican aliens” have been “literally scared out of Southern California.”
    Some of them came from hospitals and needed medical care en route to Mexico, immigrant inspector Harry Yeager wrote in a November 1932 letter.
    The Wickersham Commission, an 11-member panel created by President Hoover, said in a May 1931 report that immigration inspectors made “checkups” of boarding houses, restaurants and pool rooms without “warrants of any kind.” Labor Secretary William Doak responded that the “checkups” occurred very rarely.
    • Jobs withheld. Prodded by labor unions, states and private companies barred non-citizens from some jobs, Balderrama says.
    “We need their jobs for needy citizens,” C.P. Visel of the Los Angeles Citizens Committee for Coordination of Unemployment Relief wrote in a 1931 telegram. In a March 1931 letter to Doak, Visel applauded U.S. officials for the “exodus of aliens deportable and otherwise who have been scared out of the community.”
    Emilia Castenada, 79, recalls coming home from school in 1935 in Los Angeles and hearing her father say he was being deported because “there was no work for Mexicans.” She says her father, a stonemason, was a legal resident who owned property. A U.S. citizen who spoke little Spanish, she left the USA with her brother and father, who was never allowed back.
    “The jobs were given to the white Americans, not the Mexicans,” says Carlos DeAnda Guerra, 77, a retired furniture upholsterer in Carpinteria, Calif. He says his parents entered the USA legally in 1917 but were denied jobs. He, his mother and five U.S.-born siblings were deported in 1931, while his father, who then went into hiding, stayed to pick oranges.
    “The slogan has gone out over the city (Los Angeles) and is being adhered to — ‘Employ no Mexican while a white man is unemployed,’ ” wrote George Clements, manager of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce’s agriculture department, in a memo to his boss Arthur Arnoll. He said the Mexicans’ legal status was not a factor: “It is a question of pigment, not a question of citizenship or right.”
    • Public aid threatened. County welfare offices threatened to withhold the public aid of many Mexican-Americans, Ngai says. Memos show they also offered to pay for trips to Mexico but sometimes failed to provide adequate food. An immigration inspector reported in a November 1932 memo that no provisions were made for 78 children on a train. Their only sustenance: a few ounces of milk daily.
    Most of those leaving were told they could return to the USA whenever they wanted, wrote Clements in an August 1931 letter. “This is a grave mistake, because it is not the truth.” He reported each was given a card that made their return impossible, because it showed they were “county charities.” Even those born in the USA, he wrote, wouldn’t be able to return unless they had a birth certificate or similar proof.
    • Forced departures. Some of the deportees who were moved by train or car had guards to ensure they left the USA and others were sent south on a “closed-body school bus” or “Mexican gun boat,” memos show.
    “Those who tried to say ‘no’ ended up in the physical deportation category,” Dunn says, adding they were taken in squad cars to train stations.
    Mexican-Americans recall other pressure tactics. Arthur Herrada, 81, a retired Ford engineer in Huron, Ohio, says his father, who was a legal U.S. resident, was threatened with deportation if he didn’t join the U.S. Army. His father enlisted.
    ‘We weren’t welcome’
    “It was an injustice that shouldn’t have happened,” says Jose Lopez, 79, a retired Ford worker in Detroit. He says his father came to the USA legally but couldn’t find his papers in 1931 and was deported. To keep the family together, his mother took her six U.S.-born children to Mexico, where they often survived on one meal a day. Lopez welcomes a U.S. apology.
    So does Guerra, the retired upholsterer, whose voice still cracks with emotion when he talks about how deportation tore his family apart. “I’m very resentful. I don’t trust the government at all,” says Guerra, who later served in the U.S. military.
    Piña says his entire family got typhoid fever in Mexico and his father, who had worked in Utah coal mines, died of black lung disease in 1935. “My mother was left destitute, with six of us, in a country we knew nothing about,” he says. They lived in the slums of Mexico City, where his formal education ended in sixth grade. “We were misfits there. We weren’t welcome.”
    “The Depression was very bad here. You can imagine how hard it was in Mexico,” says Piña, who proudly notes the advanced college degrees of each of his four U.S.-raised sons. “You can’t put 16 years of pure hell out of your mind.”

  • Frank
    March 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    All past history! Take it up with our government and stop beating up on today’s regular White citizens that had nothing to do with it.

  • Evelyn
    March 24, 2008 at 1:53 am

    As long as you are trying to repeat History by running immigrants out of the U.S. by using lies to demonize them IT HAS EVERY THING TO DO WITH YOU! GOT THAT!

  • Frank
    March 24, 2008 at 8:52 am

    No one is running “immigrants” out of the U.S., only those who didn’t come here legally. Our laws demand deportation for them and rightly so.
    I don’t care about the good vs the bad or the benefits vs the negatives. I only care about the rule of law.
    We don’t need to demonize them. They demonized themselves by coming here illegally.

  • Frank
    March 24, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Talk about hypocricy! Why are white Americans alive today being “demonized” for something that happened hundreds of years ago when they weren’t even alive then? Are we to be held accountable for the sins of the past or be denied immigration laws today because of the past? That sure sounds like demonization to me.

  • Charlie
    September 29, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    If your parents are here illegal than you are also!
    We welcome any and all who wish to come to the great USA. But only if they come here by legal means! GO Tennessee!

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