Immigration: Don't California Republicans Have Anything Else to Talk About?

by multilingualmania on March 28, 2010

in Politics

Author: Anarela Mondragón

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times printed an opinion piece by Meg Whitman, California republican candidate for governor. The piece was titled Meg Whitman: immigration reform, with respect where Whitman discusses that the debate surrounding immigration reform has often been disrespectful to Latin American citizens, and that we must have a more “non-divisive” way of discussing the issue.

What a nice and thoughtful thing for Whitman to do, to acknowledge that Latin American citizens are being disrespected by the racist rhetoric that swirls around about the immigration debate. I suppose many of us Latin American citizens are supposed to be okay with the incessant and blatant disrespect that the republican party continues to have for Latin American “legal” residents who aren’t yet citizens as well as Latin American undocumented workers, many of whom are our family, co-workers, neighbors and friends?

Why does the immigration conversation with republicans always turn into a Latino issue? A couple of years ago when many of us took to the streets to march for immigrant rights, I marched both in Los Angeles and later in San Francisco hand in hand with many other undocumented immigrants, including Canadians, Asians, Irish, British, French, Africans, and the list goes on and on. Yet the conversation always comes back around to Latinos.

Because we all know that the debate is really not just about immigration, don’t we? What is it REALLY about?

Don’t the republicans have anything else to talk about in California? Over the past few months we’ve been subjected to many of the ridiculous political commercials by Poizner, another republican candidate for governor, who spewed tons of “illegal immigrant” propoganda throughout the entire commercial. Is this all republicans have to talk about anymore?

What is most amusing about Meg Whitman’s Los Angeles Times piece is that although she claims that we must have respect for Latino American citizens in this debate, she continues to drone on about the same old repetitive “let’s get them out of here” and “we need to protect our borders from the tides of illegals” rhetoric that many of us in the Latina/o community are (hopefully) just getting sick and tired of.

Let’s not forget that the former California governor Pete Wilson is Meg Whitman’s campaign chairman, the last I heard. You know, the same governor who added fuel to to all of this racist rhetoric about immigration during his support of Proposition 187 campaign, the anti-immigration proposition designed to deny public education and other social services to undocumented adults and innocent children. Meg Whitman claims in her opinion piece that she didn’t support the proposition because “kids should not be punished for the sins of their parents” , yet she has chosen one of the key proponents of the proposition to chair her campaign?

Of course she didn’t support the proposition because according to this website, she has only voted twice in over twenty years. I don’t know about you, but I sure want a governor who is invested enough in taking the time to vote on important issues that are taking place in our state.

Let’s also not forget that republicans also sparked the Proposition 227 campaign in 1998 during Pete Wilson’s time as governor, a proposition designed to restrict primary language instruction (i.e., Spanish) to school children in California. Not to mention that Proposition 209 was also instituted during Pete Wilson’s time as governor, the anti-affirmative action proposition ironically named the “California Civil Rights Initiative”.

So you can see why it’s a little hard for me to take Whitman’s suggestion seriously when she states that need for a more respectful conversation about immigration, considering that the man chairing her campaign was one of the most divisive and disrespectful politicians towards Latinos in California.

Are Latinos going to fall into this trap? I sure hope not.

About the Author: Anarela Mondragón is a daughter of “illegal immigrants” who paid their taxes every year, had their tax returns and bank interest seized by the government for years to be used towards making this state a better place for everyone, paid into social security at the time that they will never be able to draw on in the future, were later granted amnesty (you know, what Meg Whitman doesn’t support?) and are currently hard-working citizens who have raised children who actually care enough about this state to actually take the time to vote.

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