Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > The Hispanic immigrant struggle reflects the spirit of the Irish

The Hispanic immigrant struggle reflects the spirit of the Irish

LatinaLista — The U.S. Latino struggle for equality, inclusion and acceptance has always had two faces — the face of Latino citizens, which includes second, third, etc. U.S.-born generations, and the face of the undocumented Hispanic immigrants.

The immediate needs of both groups are as different as night and day. In a nutshell, for U.S.-born Latinos, unless they are personally impacted, immigration reform is not a priority issue. For undocumented Hispanic immigrants, of course, it is.
Over the course of time, the struggles of both groups have been combined so that to those outside the culture we all “look the same.” In all honesty, that is not the case.
The combining of the Hispanic immigrant struggle with U.S.-born Latinos’ struggle has created a touchy situation with our African American peers. When we marched in solidarity with our undocumented hermanos and hermanas and equated those marches with the civil rights marches of the African Americans, we drew the ire of African Americans who said it wasn’t the same.
And to a point, they were right.
African Americans were never fighting for citizenship — just the full rights of already being a citizen. In that respect, the African American struggle and the Latino struggle — U.S.-born Latino struggle — are the same.
So where does that leave the Hispanic immigrant struggle?

If we are to believe the critics of Hispanic undocumented immigrants, there has never been a situation in our nation’s history like today. As one commenter on Latina Lista said:

…No, increasing our legal immigration numbers will not stop more illegals from coming because there is an endless number of potential immigrants that want to come here, more than we can realistically absorb without committing national suicide.
We need to continue to only absorb as many legal immigrants that can be beneficial to us rather than harmful. Our immigration policies and quotas are in place to benefit our country and its citizens, not the potential immigrant’s needs and rigthly so.

But who is to say, and how is anyone to know, which immigrants are beneficial or harmful? And would we be committing national suicide?
As it stands now, there are more people of Mexican descent living in the United States (29.2 million) than Mexicans who live in Mexico City. Should we be outraged?
Hardly, when you consider that there are 35 million Americans of Irish descent compared to only 4 million Irish in Ireland.
A segment from the TODAY show, where two of the hosts are in Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, chronicled the Irish “deluge” into the United States at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It doesn’t matter their legal status because they came in such numbers that it drew out the same ugly rhetoric that today’s Hispanic immigrants face.
Calls for them to be deported and the rise of political entities to force them out emerged then as is happening now. As one curriculum guide to teach students about the Irish immigrant experience explains:

There was very deep prejudice against Irish-Americans during the 19th century, especially as more immigrants came into the United States. Many Americans considered the Irish as dirty, stupid and lazy. Newspaper cartoonists often contributed to this image by drawing Irishmen as looking like apes with a jutting jaw and sloping forehead. Newspapers also wrote about Irish people using the derogatory term of “Paddy.”
Americans also blamed the Irish immigrants for causing economic problems. They felt that the great numbers of Irish workers would put Americans out of work or lower wages. Americans felt that the increased number of people would mean taxes would rise due to additional needs for police, fire, health, sanitation, schools and poorhouses.
Consequently, it became acceptable to discriminate against the Irish. Many job posters and newspaper ads ended with “No Irish Need Apply.” Hotels and restaurants may have had signs stating “No Irish Permitted in this Establishment.” In 1851-1852, railroad contractors in New York advertised for workers and promised good pay. When mostly Irish applied, the pay was lowered to fifty-five cents a day. When the workers protested, the militia was called in to force the men to accept. (M., p. 322)

They say history does repeat itself and when looking at the TODAY segment, it’s easy to see that this country is greater for having those Irish pioneers choose to live in the U.S. — given the same chance, our newest Latino immigrants will prove themselves just as worthy.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day — a todos!

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  • Idler
    March 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    A happy St. Patrick’s day to you too, but I have to say that the analogy is fatally flawed. No amount of rationalization will change the fact that hostility to illegal aliens is not aimed at legal immigrants.
    Also, the “U.S. Latino struggle for equality, inclusion and acceptance” is bogus. Americans of Latin American background have all the rights of others, and may in fact enjoy discrimination in their favor. Hispanics thrive in this country, as do immigrants from many other areas. To the extent that, say, Puerto Ricans don’t perform as well as, say, Koreans, is due to cultural differences. The avenues are just as open to Puerto Ricans, and those that are able to take advantage of them enjoy success.
    This is not the United States of the early 20th century. To do justice to some of the items on the list of alleged grievances from the textbook, immigration does indeed drive labor costs down, which is why it was encouraged by the authorities at that time. Today, illegal immigration drives labor costs even lower, proportionately, because so much of the employment is unofficial. The NBC clip actually alluded to some of the negative elements introduced by the Irish, through its muted commentary on politics, showing an image the façade of Tammany Hall. The fact is that large numbers of uneducated and often desparate people cannot fail to have a negative social impact. That was the price that the authorities were willing to pay for cheap labor. This doesn’t mean the Irish were uniformly bad by any stretch; it just means that certain kinds of social pathologies tend to accompany large poor populations.
    No newspaper today will draw ape-like caricatures of members of racial minorities, that is unless those individuals happen to be Republicans. Places of employment do not discriminate against Hispanics, in many cases even despite lack of English competency.
    In short, the notion that history is repeating itself in this regard is preposterous. Somehow the Irish managed to get plenty of jobs and to go on to great success (though obviously not all of them), as indeed vast numbers of Hispanics have and will continue to do.

  • Horace
    March 17, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    “African Americans were never fighting for citizenship — just the full rights of already being a citizen. In that respect, the African American struggle and the Latino struggle — U.S.-born Latino struggle — are the same.”
    Another attempt to grant rights to foreign nationals who have no respect for our immigration laws and equate their plight with the civil rights movement. Remember that inconvenient 14th Amendment that grants people equal protection under the law. It’s being followed to the letter. The laws that Latino advocates show their contempt for are the same laws that every would-be immigrant has to follow, so Latinos cannot claim that they’re being treated any different from other races or ethnic groups. This is a fact that’s conveniently overlooked when comparisons are made between African American and Latinos. Latin Americans simply claim entitlement to special treatment over others and they refuse to accept this country’s right to make its own immigration policies. For Latinos it’s a case of “we don’t like it, so it’s wrong” mentality.
    Marisa, perhaps if you could find one other nation in the world that treats its illegal immigrants better, you’d have a talking point, but as it stands, you have no case. You have absolutely no support for your position anywhere else in the world. And perhaps you might have a case for discrimination against Latinos except for the fact that our country grants legal resident status to Latinos at a rate only second to Asians. That alone discredits your specious argument for special right for Latino illegal aliens to gain citizenship over those who are permitted under our laws. Without a better argument, your tale is just so much biased propaganda.

  • Horace
    March 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    “What you see with Mexican nationals today happened before with the Irish and yet, I don’t see that it created problems for this country.”
    Apparently you know nothing about the history of Irish immigrants in this country. Try reading “The Gangs of New York”, by Herbert Asbury. Ever read about Tammany Hall? Boss Tweed? Maybe you’ll stop talking out of ignorance. There was plenty of turmoil, to include violence, during the assimilation of the Irish, and corruption too. It took decades to resolve. I’m Irish and I know the facts well. Irish immigration is not a poster child for how to do immigration.
    There’s a major difference between the Irish immigration and the disrespectful invasion crossing our borders. We had no government sponsored welfare programs for new immigrants to take advantage of. People were forced to be self-sufficient during the middle of the 19th century, unlike today. There was no re-distribution of wealth through our tax codes, whereby Earned Income Tax Credits and complete refunds of income taxes are routine for families living below the poverty level. The poor, which would include most illegal aliens never pay their way in the form of taxes, as they are subsidized by the rest of us. Legalize illegal aliens and the country will adopt millions of ill educated poor. I’m sure that the most vocal of their supporters, their advocates, will call upon the rest of us to carry their burden.

  • Janet
    March 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I’m completing my masters in immigration history, so I thought I’d introduce my two cents worth into this discussion.
    Irish immigration was in compliance with the immigration policies at the time but the current undocumented immigration from Mexico is not. You’re comparing apples and oranges by comparing immigration in the context of the mid-19th century with that of the present. That’s like comparing the rules of the road for horse and buggies and that of the present day for motor vehicles. We’ve gone from what was essentially a self-sufficient agrarian economy during the time of Irish immigration to an industrial economy in which workers have a huge social safety net. This introduces a huge risk when it comes to adopting millions of subsistence level workers from Mexico. The cost of bringing such workers up to an acceptable standard of living will necessitate a huge transfer of wealth from the current citizens to the amnestied immigrants.
    Comparing the immigration environment of the time may be convenient for Marisa and her ignorant friends, but is hardly an honest analysis.

  • Sandra
    March 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Marisa, I see where you are quoting my comments. You have interpreted one thing that I said incorrectly. Let me clear it up for you. When I said we need should only absorb as many legal immigrants that will be beneficial to us rather than harmful, I meant “numbers” (population growth) and assuring that citizens are offered jobs first. My statement had nothing to do with which ones are beneficial and which are harmful (although I will also address this in another post because some could be potentually harmful to us). There are good potential immgrants in all ethnicities but we do need to continue to be fair in quotas for each ethnic group also, rather than favoring one over another when their education, job skills and desire to assimilate are similar.

  • Sandra
    March 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Here is where the illegal alien Hispanic immigrants differ from the Irish immigrants.
    First of all Marisa, if you can show where the Irish immigrants came here waving the Irish flag in Americans’ faces and screaming that they were here to “take back” the land which Americans “stole” from them, I’ll consider your argument. And it’s not only Hispanic illegals and their advocacy groups who have done this, but Latino politicians who have made incendiary comments along these lines; such as, “CA is an Hispanic state; if anyone doesn’t like it, they can leave.” Don’t remember the Irish ever being so hostile and acting as invaders.
    No other immigrant group has ever come to this country with such contempt and hatred and an axe to grind over historical events. It is simply naive and suicidal to pretend that there is no difference whatsoever between Mexicans, most of whom believe that the U.S. is “stolen land” and previous waves of immigrants who had no such attitudes and truly just wanted to become Americans and assimilate into this society.
    Second of all, when the immigrants of the past came, there were no welfare programs–that’s right Marisa…no welfare, no food stamps, no Section 8, no WIC, no free healthcare, free hospital deliveries, free school breakfasts and lunches, bilingual education and special catering to the immigrants. They either made it on their own, supported the children they had, or returned back to their native lands. Not so today.
    We already have a generous legal immigration system which allows more legal immigration each year than any other country in the world. Immigrants who come here legally, want to become a part of our country, learn its history and heritage, learn English, and integrate/assimilate, are welcomed, even more than those Irish were 150 years ago.
    Again, Marisa you compare apples and oranges.
    These are all quotes by Hispanics (and there are many more than these), some of them politicians, that cannot be construed as anything other than hostile statements that invaders and/or their collaborators would make. These statements have all been checked out and found to be accurate for the most part. I am sure that the Irish immigrants, nor any other group in the past OR present have this kind of hostility towards this country and its population. So Marisa, you really need to drop your comparisons between Latinos and any other group, past or present.

  • John Lamb
    March 18, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Thanks for pointing out the TODAY show segment. I am comforted by all the green I saw this year – it was everywhere, more than I’ve ever noticed before. Imagine how happy it would make those former generations to know that the U.S. embraces the Irish now. It makes me happy, too – by highlighting how isolated people like Lou Dobbs are when they say there shouldn’t be celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day.
    One last thing, related to the parallels between current and previous struggles – at least part of the reason Lincoln was assassinated was because he wanted to give citizenship to non-citizens. Upon hearing Lincoln suggest that African-American union veterans should be given the right to vote, John Wilkes Booth muttered to a friend, “That means n—-r citizenship. Now, by God, I will put him through. That will be the last speech he will ever make.”

  • Marisa Treviño
    March 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Janet, every historian I’ve ever interviewed has brought up the comparison of the backlash Hispanic undocumented immigrants are facing with what the Irish faced. I shouldn’t have to tell you that the Irish immigrants were the same class of workers as today’s majority of undocumented Hispanic workers — from rural areas with low skills.
    Odd that you say you’re completing your master’s and have not heard this. If you had read my post, I acknowledged that the citizenship of the Irish played no part in how badly they were received — the same as Hispanic undocumented. The same backlash today’s undocumented immigrants are receiving echos of that time long ago. In that respect, it’s very much apples to apples. Back then, nobody cared the Irish were legal.
    The way you ended your comment leaves me to assume that your research is already biased.

  • Idler
    March 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Marisa, you’ve just written that your historian sources made the comparison between compliant immigrants on the one hand and illegal immigrants on the other. That’s apples and oranges. Nor do you say precisely how far that comparison went.
    The Irish immigrants of the early 20th century, by the account you cite, suffered uniform hostility. Today, Hispanics do not suffer uniform hostility; the hostility is toward illegal aliens and those that enable illegal immigration. Thus, the object of hostility is not an ethnicity but the fact of illegal immigration. There’s plenty of hostility being expressed here at your blog, but one of those expressing it is in fact Hispanic, and at least one other is married to a Hispanic!
    I have a great deal of personal experience with people of Latin American origins, and I have seen them do very well. My best friend for many years was born in Ecuador. His parents worked in a factory in Dover, N.J. He went on to be a white collar worker in the IT field, his older sister worked for Allstate and his older brother became a physician. Nobody ever put an obstacle in their way. I dated a girl from Colombia for a while. We eventually went our separate ways, she to law school. Her parents had no education beyond secondary school. She was of mostly African racial heritage; my Ecuadorian friends were very Indian-looking mestizos. There are millions of stories like theirs, and I know many more from my own experience. My Uruguayan friend who works in IT. My Colombian friend who rose to a high executive position at a New York-based life insurer. A family of three Colombians (also from the very African Caribbean coast), all of whom are white collar workers, one who just got back from an assignment to China. A Colombian friend who runs his own PR company and is a retired major in the U.S. Air Force. I tell you, if Americans are tyring to treat Hispanics like they supposedly treated the Irish, they’re not doing a very good job of it!

  • Horace
    March 19, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Well, Mr. Lamb, the issue of illegal immigration is not about not giving equal treatment to Latinos when it comes to immigration policy, but whether it is fair to give special privilege to an ethnic group that would deny the right of our country to regulate immigration. Mexican and other Latin American nationals are not entitled to settle in this country without the permission of our citizens. This is not an unfair policy as we apply this to everyone else in the world. A few vocal Latinos in this county objecting to the enforcement our immigration laws is not a justification for change.

  • Irma
    March 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I agree with you. Obviously the naysayers are not Hispanic – so they have no clue
    about our experience. A few years ago in Boston,i was subject to a shower of rocks by a group of Irish American teenagers from the projects. For those who dont know in Boston, project kids are white not black. Hispanic Americans like African Americans are still very much the target of
    racial harassment and discrimination – it is however usually less open than what I experienced in Boston.
    Those Irish by the way were not welcomed. They were considered dirty, ignorant and a burden to the country.
    The immigrants of the past and those of today face the same problems of discrimination and alienation.

  • Idler
    March 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Irma you have no idea how much of a clue the “naysayers” do or don’t have about the Hispanic experience, so you’re just talking out your rectum.
    Do you even read the other comments? Find a way of squaring what I wrote about several of my Hispanic friends and acquaintances or have the humility to refrain from talking bilge.
    How do the ethnic tensions in a specific neighborhood serve to provide a sweeping generalization that the United States of 2009 is to Hispanics what 1900 was to the Irish?
    I will tell you that I have been threatened by non-white people on several occasions in neighborhoods where one might not be shocked to see it happen. Does that mean that non-white people systematically discriminate againt white people all over the United States? Of course not.
    I’m sure your own experience shows that Hispanics are treated just like other people in all sorts of social and employment situations in the United States. That you cherry-pick this false analogy is evidence of a lack of the most elemental rigor on your part.

  • Sandra
    March 19, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Irma, except that the immigrants of the past came legally and those who are mostly here illegally today are Hispanics. We SHOULD discriminate against those who disobey our immigration laws no matter what their ethnic group is.

  • Horace
    March 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    “The immigrants of the past and those of today face the same problems of discrimination and alienation.”
    The fact that you have anecdotes of discrimination has no bearing on whether or not illegal aliens are granted amnesty. Occasional bad behavior by citizens has no bearing on whether or not illegal aliens are guilty of bad behavior of their own. The claim of discrimination is an effort to make a nexus between the Irish migration and illegal Latino immigration is a red herring designed to gain sympathy where it isn’t warranted.
    There are tens of thousands of Latinos who meet our residency requirements, are given green cards and permitted to stay, so there is obviously no government sanctioned policy of discrimination to keep them out. If there was a national trend of hatred towards Latinos, the nasty old Anglo majority wouldn’t permit as many to immigrate here. On the other hand, Latino advocates have a seemingly insatiable and boorish insistence that every Latino, even those who would not play by our immigration rules be permitted to stay.
    It seems to me that there’s been a lot in the recent news about Latino gangs in Los Angeles on a crusade to wipe out blacks in their neighborhoods, so the Latino population has their own cross to bear when it comes to discrimination and violence towards others. It’s amazing how this is inconvenient fact is so often overlooked by you people.

  • Irma
    March 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    There is no way to verify now that immigration of the past was legal.
    People just came and no one bothered to send them back. I know this because the family of many of my friends came from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s – they relate that their family decided to come and hoped that they would not be turned away.
    They were allowed to stay and that group in particular constituted hundreds of thousands of people ( Jews). The same was most likely true for the Irish, Italians etc. They were never INVITED to come- they just came and stayed.
    Some of the people living in this forum deliberately blind themselves to what is now a nationwide response to Hispanic
    immigrants. Hispanics in general
    are being harassed and in some cases,
    murdered or maimed because of anti
    Hispanic immigrant rage. It is happening everywhere.
    As for the Latino gangs, none of us condone their actions. If they break the law they belong in jail. But so does anyone else who takes it upon themselves to physically threaten anyone they think “doesnt belong in
    the United States. ”

  • Sandra
    March 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    It matters not who came here BEFORE we had immigration laws. We established immigration laws in 1920 and evey potential immigrant was obligated from that point forward to honor them.
    If Hispanic illegal aliens are being singled out for harrassment it is because they are by far the ethnic group that encompasses most of the illegal aliens in this country. Those of us who oppose illegal immigration want them all gone regardless of ethnicity.

  • Idler
    March 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

    “Hispanics in general are being harassed and in some cases, murdered or maimed because of anti Hispanic immigrant rage. It is happening everywhere.”
    What on earth are you talking about? Where’s your evidence for this? “Hispanics in general” constitute a huge number of people dispersed throughout the United States.There is no epidemic of murderous, maiming anti-Hispanic rage except in your fevered imagination.

  • Jason Hunter
    March 21, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Irma -…. “they relate that their family decided to come and hoped that they would not be turned away.
    Well, Irma, everyone who went through Ellis Island was subject to a physical and psychological evaluation (no imbeciles, please), and those who had incurable diseases or who would likely be a charity case were sent back. Anyone could be turned away if they didn’t meet standards. Latin American illegal border crossers never give our country that opportunity, another reason for returning each and every one back to their homelands. You are either ignorant, Irma, or you take us for fools.

  • Irma
    March 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    You need to open your eyes. Hundreds of thousands of people came from Europe and elsewhere without invitation. Early immigration laws also were not used as a mechanism to reject immigrants.
    They were more of an accounting system. My own grandparents in the 1950s and my father in the 60s, eventually “complied” with those immigration laws after decades of
    living in the United States. All were model citizens, and my grandparents produced soldiers for WWII and the Korean War – one earned a purple cross. While my uncle was away in Europe, my grandfather used to pick up soldiers and bring them home to dinner. He wanted them to have a home cooked meal before they went to war. He did this for four years. His immigration status never came up over the dinner table. America is better, BECAUSE because thousands of people like my family came and were not turned away.
    I am disappointed that you attempt to justify the harassment of Hispanics because we are the largest ethnic/culture in the United States. Would you feel the same way if we were instead English nationals?
    Learn to be generous and have faith in humanity. Trust is a good thing.

  • Sandra
    March 22, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Irma, I am not defending anyone who came to our country illegally, past, present or future. If you are using the past as justification for crossing our borders illegally today you are not thinking rationally. Immigrants have to abide by the immigration laws we have in place TODAY!
    I haven’t condoned harrassment of Hispanic citizens either. But when the huge majority of illegals are Hispanics they will more likely than others to be asked to prove their status in this country. If one is a Hispanic citizen what have they to fear by being questioned? It is no different than anyone being stopped for a possible traffic violation. If you can prove you are a licensed driver then you won’t go to jail for that infraction of our laws.

  • Irma
    March 23, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Jason Hunter,
    Lots of people who went through Ellis Island were allowed to stay -there were lots of people who came with just the clothes on their back . You are naive to think otherwise. I know plenty of people whose
    families came through Ellis Island- the stories all similar, they came with nothing etc etc.
    America was generous then – we have become a nation of selfish isolationists.

  • Irma
    March 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    If you are a Christian then you know that
    there is no such thing as not having enough food or shelter to share with a neighbor.
    US immigration laws need to be changed –
    I think that this Democratic congress will do it.

  • Idler
    March 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    If you can prove you are a licensed driver then you won’t go to jail for that infraction of our laws.
    This inhumane Republican fascist discrimination against undocumented drivers has got to stop!

  • Karen
    March 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    The current illegal immigration issue has little or nothing to do with European immigration. Mexican immigrants did not cross an ocean to come here, and are descended from the indigenous people of this continent. Their ancestors gave the world corn, tomatoes, vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, sunflowers, squash. All of these foods/plants were first cultivated in Mexico thousands of years ago. Turkey was first domesticated there too. When you eat your turkey,corn and pumpkin pie on Thnaksgiving, remember where it came from.
    The Mexicans immigrants are not putting anyone in reservations or committing genocide as the Europeans did. They are not descended from slaves taken from another continent like the blacks.
    This situation is the result of NAFTA and globalization, as well as the 500 year old war on indigenous people. It needs to be discussed in that context.

  • Sandra
    March 25, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Karen, so what you are claiming is that anyone whose ancestors were indigenous to the European CONTINENT but are only citizens of France should be able to migrate to Spain without papers to do so? That is the same dumb reasoning you are using about the USA. Borders have been drawn and countries and new governments formed all over the planet since its existance! No one is allowed to migrate to any country without papers anywhere on the planet. We are all citizens of individual COUNTRIES now.
    You assume that all white American’s ancestors committed genocide against the Native Indians. Why is that? My ancestors came here way after any of that happened and the USA was an established government with immigration laws that they followed. White Americans of today are not responsible for what any white people did hundreds of years ago anyway.
    The tribes that the ancestors of present day Mexicans (Mestizos) were from way south of our border anyway. Their white ancestors (the Spaniards) did exactly what the White Anglos did to the indigenous. So what the hell are you talking about?

  • Karen
    March 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I’ll make it easy:
    1) Mexican immigrants are not like European immigrants in that they are not coming from across and ocean. Mexicans are native to North America.
    2) They are not committing genocide.
    3) They are coming here because NAFTA pushed them off their land.
    4) It’s ridiculous to pass a trade bill with the goal of pushing Mexicans off of their land to create a cheap labor pool, and then to bash Mexicans for the result.
    5) The root of this problem is NAFTA.
    6) There has been a war on indigenous people for 500 years.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I’ll make it easy:
    1) Mexican immigrants are not like European immigrants in that they are not coming from across and ocean. Mexicans are native to North America.
    Actually, Karen, Mexican immigrants are Native to Central America, you need to learn your history, they set down roots in Central America over 4500 years ago. The may have migrated through the North America area, they may even have stayed awhile, but somewhere along the line they left and headed South where they set up there culture.
    3) They are coming here because NAFTA pushed them off their land.
    So are you blaming Bill Clinton for signing the agreement? You do realize he was a Democrat right?
    5) The root of this problem is NAFTA.
    The root of the problem is the Mexican Government not taking care of its people in the rural areas. Those within the areas of large cities and populated areas are doing just fine in Mexico. NAFTA also had an effect on Americans as many companies moved to Mexico in order to control costs and make larger profits.
    So far you have done nothing but spit out rhetoric with nothing to back it up, please try again.

  • Sandra
    March 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Actually, it is you Karen who doesn’t get the “big picture.” While you are correct that NAFTA has had a detrimental effect on the peasant farmers of Mexico, it has also had a negative effect on the working-class of the U.S. who have seen their manufacturing jobs relocated to Mexico. So, it’s been a two-way street in that regard.
    Nobody forced Mexico to sign NAFTA; the people of Mexico need to take it up with their government as we need to take it up with ours, not crash our borders illegally en masse. In that regard, Obama has shown no signs that he has the inclination to renegotiate NAFTA, even though he made some noises about it on the campaign trail. Obama seems to be a globalist just like Bush before him was and has no plans to implement any “protectionist” (as he referred to it) policies.
    A CIR is not a solution; the globalist powers-that-be have no intentions of securing the borders. They want the endless supply of cheap labor to continue unabated. Once the current batch of illegals are legalized, these employers will only move onto the newest batch just as before when we were promised that the “amnesty to end all amnesties” would be the solution. You and those like you are complicit with the globalists. That’s the “big picture.”
    There is no war going on between the Native Indians indigenous to what is called the USA now. They have their sovereign lands here and all the rights of any other U.S. citizen.

  • Panchito
    March 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I think you make a good point in that the Mexican Government needs to take some responsibility for its people in the rural areas. I also know that most Mexicans in the cities generally live well. Your History though needs a little work. Unfortunately, our high schools do a poor job with History instruction. Go to the Wikipedia and type
    “Mexican–American War”. It has a map of the Country of Mexico before 1846 and shows it consisted of the entire Southwestern part of what you call North America – as far north as Oregon. By the way even current Mexico is part of the North American continent – not Central America as you claim. The only reason the U.S. did not take over “all” of Mexico after the War (it was actually discussed in Congress)is because many congressman did not want too many “Mexicans” to become “Americans” overnight. Karen is absolutely correct when she says “There has been a war on indigenous people for 500 years”. First it was the Spaniards, then the French, The English, and finally the U.S. Unlike the English, who came to the U.S. to settle the land, these countries (all of them world powers at the time ) came to Mexico to steal, kill, rape, pillage and plunder. Of course, Mexico lost half their country to the U.S. I always find it very interesting that most Americans never question that we (the U.S.) identify tiny islands, half a world away, like Korea and Taiwan as critical to our national security and are willing to fight WW III over them but are ruthless to our neighbor to our South – a neighbor that we invaded and took half their land. Maybe it is a psychological thing with us.

  • Idler
    March 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    The Mexicans immigrants are not putting anyone in reservations or committing genocide as the Europeans did. They are not descended from slaves taken from another continent like the blacks.
    If what happened several hundred years ago is relevant, then one might mention that Mexicans committed imperialism, enslavement, public ritual torture of captives and human sacrifice.
    The more recent picture hasn’t exactly been rosy either, with various kinds of repression, corruption and civil unrest being very common, as well as economic mismanagement and mass poverty, leading the inhabitants of that resource-rich nation to want to leave in huge numbers.
    Karen, do you even realize that you are indulging not only in foolish romanticism of, but also gross condescension towards Mexicans?
    By the way, did it make no difference for the Germans to march on Paris twice in the 20th century because, after all, France was originally a Germanic territory and there were no oceans in the way?
    This kind of argument is beyond silly—which is where romanticism gets you. If you’re going to be consistent, you have to take the position that all immigration and customs rules everywhere are invalid. However, to do so would mean no laws anywhere are valid, because immigration and customs controls are nothing less than a demarcation of sovereignty.
    But all such basic legal concepts are apparently lost on someone patting herself on her back for appreciation of those cute, helpless, childlike brown people.

  • Idler
    March 25, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Sandra’s post reminded me of the time I was in college during the quincentennial of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas, as they came to be called (and yes, he discovered them from the European viewpoint only).
    I attended a “tertullia” of the Latin American Students Organization (to which I belonged) and found myself in a conversation with a guy of my acquaintance who was mestizo, by race.
    He was railing on the usual litany of European sins, and looked at me referring to what “your people” had done.
    “My people?” I said. “I can to the Americas when I was six! It was your people, on the Spanish side of your inheritance, that you need to take it up with!”

  • Karen
    March 26, 2009 at 12:53 am

    “Actually, Karen, Mexican immigrants are Native to Central America.”
    They’re native to North America. Please learn your geography. Mexico is part of North America, and so is the US Southwest.
    Yes, I know that Bill Clinton signed NAFTA.
    The rural areas (the farmers) are the ones most directly impacted by NAFTA. And you say that the Mexican government needs to “take care” of the people in its rural areas. Under the terms of NAFTA, the Mexican government is not allowed to place any restrictions on corporations that locate there. These corporations can pollute the groundwater along the border, and flood the market with cheap, genetically modified corn and beans, which displace Mexican farmers. And why are they allowed to flood the market? Because we, the taxpayers, give them billions of dollars in subsidies.
    NAFTA needs to go. We’ve always had trade with foreign countries, but these trade agreements give corporations carte blanche, not to mention government subsidies. Why should my tax dollars be used to subsidize a corporation that moves to Mexico?
    It’s insane.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Panchito and Karen;
    It seems that you somehow believe Mexican Nationals have the “right” to cross International Land Boundaries without the need of authorization. Your claiming that all Peoples living North of the Rio Grand River in the Territories Mexico gained when it won its Independence from Spain were Colonized by Spanish and Mexican Nationals, but what you fail to recognize is that it was only the border area that was scantily populated. In Texas, there were less than 3,000 Mexicans living North of the Rio Grand and South of the Nueces River, approximately 6,000 Californios living in mostly Southern California or a few missions along the coast (What about the Russians of Northern California or the Chinese who founded the California Coast in 498AD). The rest of the territories of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho had less than 9,000, living along the New Mexico and Arizona river region of the Rio Grand (that would mean that no Mexican Nationals were living in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, etc. unless you are attempting to say that all the Native Indigenous of those areas where somehow now Mexicans). None lived further north simply due to Native Indigenous and the raiding of the Mexicans of the time.
    Will you also admit that many Mexican Nationals (mostly Spanish and Spanish mixed with Native Indigenous) abandoned the land grants they were granted by either Spain or Mexico at the time due to Indian raids on their lands and returned to the safety further South of the region? So now even that 15,000 number maybe to high.
    Also, can you show me in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, where exactly it states that members of the Indigenous Nations have the right to freely cross our nations borders if the tribes territory is not effected by the border. Also show the migration path of the Mexican Native Indigenous from where they settled and how and when they migrated north prior to and during the Spanish and Mexican Rule of Mexico and the US Southwest. Can you also show, that they are now not coming for economic benefit, but rather for simple migration due to the weather patterns or whatever?

  • Sandra
    March 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Karen, since when does being native to a CONTINENT give anyone the right enter any COUNTRY on that continent illegally? We are citizens of individual countries, not continents. Since the Italians are native to the European CONTINENT does that give them the right to enter Spain illegally and take up residence because Spain is on the same CONTINENT? How stupid can you get?

  • Sandra
    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Panchito, you are mixing quite a few issues all together here! Those who originally settled this nation did not come here to loot the natural resources for a colonial power. And yet you and Karen seem to want to make no distinction between those who settled and formed the U.S. and those (Spanish and Portuguese) who colonized what is now Mexico, Central, and South America!
    Karen and Irma have stated over and over to anyone they think are white, “your ancestors came here to kill the Native Americans and put them on reservations.” That is patently false! They came here for a better life but there was no established government nor immigration laws then. They fought for independence from the British. It was only much later when their numbers grew exponentially that the clashes between the two cultures–Native American and Euro-American–began. Nobody came here with the explicit intentions of “stealing” anything or “killing” anyone.
    South of the border, however, was another story. The problem with you, Karen and Irma is that you want to roll up anyone of European ancestry, regardless of when their ancestors came or from where they came, regardless of whether they came to settle in the U.S. to develop the land and eventually build it into the United States of America, or whether they were Spaniard Conquistadores who came here at the behest of the Spanish crown to loot the riches and colonize, into one huge “evil white European” identity–no distinctions made between the two groups or the separate identity of the lands.
    Using that tactic, you try to blur the identity of those who are native to the U.S. with those who established their cultures in Mexico, Central, and South America. It becomes one in the same, when their histories are obviously NOT the same! The U.S. government dealt entirely differently with the indigenous population here than the Spaniards did with the indigenous population in Mexico/Central/South America. Here they have treaties with the U.S. government, an entire bureaucracy dedicated to issues pertaining to the Native tribes, are covered under all of our laws, including all civil rights laws, and are given all kinds of benefits including AA, casinos, etc. In Mexico, they are pretty much ignored and left to fend for themselves–not even educated past the elementary grades.
    When it comes to the “country” of “Mexico,” those borders were established by the SPANISH, not the Aztecs, Mayans, or any other indigenous tribe! Had the war between Mexico and the U.S. taken place just 30 years earlier, it would have been SPAIN with which the treaty would have been signed and from whom lands would have been ceded! It had nothing to do with the Mexica indigenous! Here are the homelands of the Mexican “indigenous”:
    The point is that we are no longer living in the 1500s, the 1800s, or the early 20th century. This nation has experienced many changes since the early settlers came here. It has experienced immigration, but then so did all the other countries in this hemisphere and nobody is suggesting that any of them suspend their immigration laws due to past historical events. So continuously trying to justify the illegal entry of foreign nationals based upon conditions which existed in centuries past is just a sign of desperation on the part of the pro-amnesty crowd.
    Like I pointed out above, it was the SPANISH who drew the borders which included the Southwest and up to Oregon–NOT THE AZTECS or any other indigenous Mexican tribe!
    It’s that old story–you and yours want to be all “indigenous” when it suits you, and then call on your Spanish roots when THAT becomes advantageous to your agenda.

  • Karen
    March 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Idler: You seem to be misreading my comments. I am not saying that I am in favor of mass immigration or open borders. I am merely telling you that OUR OWN policies are the reason why this is happening.
    NAFTA is the main reason, and we have the power to bully less powerful countries into accepting these “trade” agreements. If all of the people who complained about immigration would focus that energy into repealing NAFTA then maybe this problem could be solved.
    And to Sandra: I know that NAFTA has hurt US workers, but because of our massive social safety net, American workers have not had to leave our country in search of work.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I’m sorry, learn my Geography?? I stated a simple sentence: Mexican immigrants are Native to Central America, you need to learn your history, they set down roots in Central America over 4500 years ago. So lets look at it. During the same periods as the Maya Empire, the Inca Empire, and the Aztec Empire, all dominated Mesoamerica from Mexico and Guatemala to the territories of Salvador and Honduras centuries. Pre-classic, Classic, and Post-classic all show the same regions for these groups, Southern Mexico and Central America.
    Southern Mexico states such as Oaxaca and Chiapas are where the better majority of Illegal Immigrants today have originated from. Possibly part of the Native Indigenous of the Aztecs?? which again covered the areas of Southern Mexico and North Central America.

  • Karen
    March 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I think you both need to read what I’m saying more closely. I never said that anybody had the right to come here without the proper documentation.
    I said that our government is contributing to the reason why so many have come here since 1992. The reason? NAFTA. And soon another contributor will be, the war on drugs/The Merida Plan.
    You seem to think we live in a world where what we do has no consequences. If you pass a trade agreement that is designed to push people off their land so that they will become a cheap labor pool, don’t be shocked when that actually happens. Instead of demonizing the victims of NAFTA, why don’t you turn your attention to the elites of Canada, the US, and Mexico who pressured our government to pass it.
    And the reason is I say that a 500 year old war on indigenous people is that they have been used as cheap labor since the first Europeans arrived. What we are seeing now is just a continuation of that policy.
    They are not “aliens” or any of the other names the media/government come up with to make them seem like they are foreigners on their own continent.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Again, NAFTA was signed by the Mexican Government, the Mexican Government has the responsibility to take care of its own people. Our Government saw the effects coming, and in turn, sub-sidized our farmers, Mexico either did not foresee it or did not care about its own farmers, since it is mostly the farmers in the rural areas which are also mostly indigenous peoples. Since Mexico is ruled by mostly Spanish, what does that mean to its indigenous peoples then? Are we to be responsible for them?
    You need to put the blame where it is deserved (the Mexican Government) instead of the guilt you feel and attempt to portray on to everybody else.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    NAFTA brought in a flood of foreign investment and contributed to a 24% rise in Mexico’s per capita income. “NAFTA gave us a big push,” Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, tells Business Week. “It gave us jobs. It gave us knowledge, experience, technological transfer.”

  • Sandra
    March 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Karen, what you fail to understand is that regular American citizens don’t get vote on things like NAFTA. If it was a mistake by our government and Mexico, American citizens should not be expected to tolerate an illegal invasion of their country by the millions. We had no voice in the matter!!
    The indigenous to this COUNTRY are doing just fine, thank you. Being native to a certain CONTINENT does not give anyone the right to enter any COUNTRY on that continent at will for God’s sake! Within any CONTINENT their are individual COUNTRIES and they have their own borders, governments and citizens. Grow up, will you?

  • Sandra
    March 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Another thing Karen, no one is being forced to work as a slave in this country anymore. The choice is theirs to say yes or no.
    I couldn’t give a rat’s behind what you think of the word “alien”. It is a rightful government term. It means foreigner to a particular COUNTRY (non-citizen). Try to learn the difference between a country and continent and what rights of movement that people have and don’t have in today’s world in regards to these two different land masses.

  • Karen
    March 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Re: “NAFTA brought in a flood of foreign investment and contributed to a 24% rise in Mexico’s per capita income. ”
    I bet our own government would say that NAFTA has helped American workers too. Would you believe that? American and Mexican workers are losing jobs because of NAFTA.

  • Idler
    March 28, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Karen, I have to echo Sandra here. What does “foreigners on their own continent” even mean? We are talking about legal issues between sovereign countries. Nobody “belongs” to a continent in any legal sense. This is a romantic notion with no basis in political and legal reality.
    To take offense at the legal term “alien” is silly. Alien is a morally neutral term that simply means non-naturalized. I happen to be an alien in the United States and take no offense in being so designated. Why should I?
    You’re caught up in this paradigm of European exploiter and native exploited and it tends to obliterate all historical and legal distinctions. However one might feel about what one takes to be the history, it is not relevant to the current state of the law. People want to cross the border to make some money. I don’t blame them, but the idea that the law should be suspended is absurd.
    Please answer this: Do you think it is wrong for me to have to show a valid passport and visa when I enter this country? I have had to procure visas to enter several countries. Is this an evil practice that should be abolished?
    It seems pretty obvious that you don’t respect, and indeed don’t understand the concept of national sovereignty and what it means for questions of customs and immigration at territorial borders.
    Finally, I don’t come from the immigrant group that you’re so preoccupied, and yet my ancestors were pretty unfortunate, from a political point of view, for a long time. And yet, I would find your condescension irritating if it were aimed in my direction. The past is the past; I embrace my responsibility to take care of myself and mine. To the extent that many illegal immigrants are doing the same, I don’t blame them. But that doesn’t mean the law should be suspended for them.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Sorry Karen, my comment is directly from the former Pres. of Mexico, Vicente Fox. Even Mexican President Calderon doesn’t want to change NAFTA. The only persons in Mexico that were highly effected by NAFTA was the rural farmers. Which like I posted previously, Mexico failed to take care of. Your basic understanding of the situation is ignominious at best.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 28, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Karen says: I said that our government is contributing to the reason why so many have come here since 1992. The reason? NAFTA.
    What was the reason prior to NAFTA then? You know, the 1986 Amnesty? What about the 7 Amnesties since then? I’ll bet one of 2 things on you Karen, either you are new to this whole argument, or you simply have no idea of any of it.

  • Karen
    March 30, 2009 at 12:41 am

    1) The Incas were from South America, not Central America.
    2)Southern Mexico is part of North America. Furthermore, the immigrants are coming from throughout Mexico, not just the South.
    As for being new to this argument–hardly. Most people don’t like to examine the role our own economic policies have on immigration, or the history surrounding it. They like to reduce Mexican history to a few hundred years, which makes it easier to call Mexicans “aliens.” When you wake up to the fact that Mexicans have been in North America for thousands of years, that kind of characterization becomes ludicrous.
    The fact is that the Southwest has used illegal immigrant labor in the agricultural industry for decades. It’s no accident that California is the biggest and most lucrative farm state in the country. Everybody likes to pretend that all of our food comes from the “heartland,” the midwest. Nope.
    That’s why there have always been illegal immigrants here. They don’t want to pay fair wages for farm labor, so they recruit illegal immigrants. But that number was small prior to NAFTA.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

    1) The Incas ruled along the Western Coast of South America. According to the Great Migration theory, then would not all South And Central Americans not be related to those in Mexico? Or do you prefer the MtDNA theory of 5 different groups of peoples having migrated as far back as 25000 or so years ago? What about the Aboriginal Skeleton found on the Southern tip of S. America dating back 15000 years? What of the White Skeletons w/red hair found in the Nevada and Utah caves dating back 10000 years?
    2) I stated the majority are coming from Oaxaca and Chiapas. I did not say all. You still have not shown there migration route nor the UN Charters section of allowing “indigenous” to cross national borders, nor have you shown where any Mexicans have lived beyond the Rio Grand Valleys of the border area.
    Illegal Immigrants weren’t much of a problem until after the first Amnesty of ’65. Even Cesar Chavez had a problem with Illegal Immigrants breaking the union lines. His brother would beat them at the border. It was once the UFW began to advocate for Illegals that they became cheap labor for farmers. Congress then introduced the H-2A visa to allow the needed workforce to come, but with requirements that the farmers still prefer not to use. And since the farmers refuse to use the H-2A Visa and the people choose not to have the protections it offers, then who is really to blame? I have news for you Karen, I live in CA. I marched with Cesar Chavez as a Child here in Sacramento. My Grandparents were members of the union back (NFWA) in the ’70’s. I still deal with farmers and farms in my line of work, orchards to be exact. You should do your research in here, Evelyn and I have already had this discussion last year, 2 July to be exact.

  • Liquidmicro
    March 30, 2009 at 10:34 am

    They like to reduce Mexican history to a few hundred years, which makes it easier to call Mexicans “aliens.” When you wake up to the fact that Mexicans have been in North America for thousands of years, that kind of characterization becomes ludicrous.
    Anybody else see the irony in the above? Here Karen, lets look at your statement.
    “Mexicans have been in North America for thousands of years”, now, what constitutes North America? It was only a few hundred years ago that the line was drawn. Prior to that it was land north or south of the equator. The may have migrated thorugh what is now the USA at one time, but they chose to set down roots in the lands now labeled as Mexico, Central and Southern America. So unless you can show that these people set down roots north of the Rio Grand and stayed there, your argument is moot.
    So, the peoples of Mexico are just that, like the peoples of Honduras, Chile, Peru, etc. Nations were formed and the people excepted them and created Governments. The people lived in those nations, prior to and after they were created. There roots were set there, not in the USA, north of the Rio Grand.
    Here’s a simple question: If in Mexico, the people in the cities are doing quite well, Mexico has had a 24% increase in GDP since NAFTA, our business has moved to Mexico and employed numerous amounts of peoples there, and its only the illiterate rural peoples migrating north, why then don’t they just go to the cities in Mexico to work? The unemployment rate in Mexico was 3.7% as of last year.

  • Sandra
    March 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    No one is a citizen of a continent. We are all citizens of individual countries. All countries have immigration laws and borders. Mexicans are illegal aliens in our country if they don’t have the necessary papers to be here. They are not citizens of this country, they are citizens of Mexico.

  • MaryElizabeth
    April 2, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Sandra, if you go back in history look at the magnet that causes the problem everytime in many countrys. It is always the employer that is the culprit. A government needs a strong labor law enforcement system combined with strong Border Security and a reasonable legal immigration system…without this history shows us the same thing happens again and again. To have many undocumented in this country keeps the supply of a cheap work force to employers unprotected by labor laws. Bottom line you, I and the undocumented worker are being exploited, meanwhile the employer has healthy profits in their pockets. The sooner we let our government fix the problem the better off we are.

  • Sandra
    April 2, 2009 at 9:43 am

    ME, that is what I have been saying all along! Are you just now getting it? We need e-verify mandated in he workplace, that takes care of the exploitive employers. We need secure borders, that protects American citizens and helps stop the flow of illegals. Our government needs to make sure both of those things happen ASAP instead of turning a blind eye as they have since 1986.
    As for immigration reform. You and I probably will disagree on what a reform should be. My reform includes determining first what our “real” foreign labor needs are while keeping population growth in mind.

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