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What is the Real Fear: Illegal Immigration or the Changing Face of America?

LatinaLista — This is a tale of two babies. Each was the first baby born in 2007 in their new hometowns, and of course profiled in their local newspapers.

One was born in the county of Dallas, Texas. His name is Gerardo.

Gerardo Vasquez Jr
(Source: The Dallas Morning News)

The other was born in Woodstock, Illinois. Her name is Maria Crystal.

Where each bundle of joy should have enjoyed their entrance into the world with wishes from readers for a great future, each has already received their first experience with what can only be termed as hate mail.

From Dallas to Woodstock, readers reacted with everything from assuming each child was born of illegal immigrants (Gerardo’s parents are naturalized citizens); to being disgusted that neither of the mothers spoke English to claims that because of her parentage Maria was not an “American” baby.

All of these readers who reacted with such racist assumptions obviously believe all the erroneous rhetoric being spread by people who are afraid of what these two small bundles represent: the face of America is changing and we can either embrace that change or hold it at arms length and fool ourselves into thinking if we assassinate its character enough, it will quietly go away.

That won’t happen.

Yet, what is equally disturbing to me as a Latina and a mother is that because of my last name or the way my children look, people who don’t know better, would assume I am an undocumented Hispanic.

If I chose to speak Spanish to my children and family members, which is my right as a citizen of the United States, again the assumption would be made that I am undocumented.

Because I am Hispanic, that some who do not know better, would openly suggest that I would not/could not pay my hospital bill is indicative of how far down into the public psyche has seeped the type of talk that can only be termed “trash talk.”

Gerardo and Maria Crystal do represent a new America.

It’s time for the country to examine if it’s really illegal immigration that is feared or the new cara (face) of the country.

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