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Bloggings: Which is worse for immigrants - to be singled out for attack or to be deceived? by Roger Algase

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An article in the Washington Post describes in detail how Bertica Cabrera Morris, a Cuban-American political operative in Florida, is organizing rallies for Mitt Romney in Florida's Spanish-speaking communities. Admittedly, some Hispanics in Florida might not care a great deal about immigration as an issue. Puerto Ricans, of course, are US citizens by birth. Cuban immigrants do not have to worry about many of the things that other Spanish-speaking immigrants do. 

But Florida is a large and diverse state, with many immigrants from Latin-America who care a great deal about immigration. And what Romney says about immigration in Florida will be heard all over the country, not just in that state. This is why it is so difficult to imagine how anyone identified with any Spanish-speaking community, or communities, could possible support, let alone work for, Romney. Of course, money might be a factor, but this would not explain the evidently sincere conviction and zeal with which Ms. Morris is making great efforts on Romney's behalf.

Romney has made no secret about his extreme hard line on immigration, and has not budged an inch from it, even in Florida. He still supports harsh state anti-immigrant laws, still wants to deport every single one of the 11 million unauthorized men, women and children in America, and still says he would veto even the tiny step toward tolerance and humanity toward minority immigrants that the DREAM Act represents. 

True, Newt is not much better than Romney on immigration, but at least he is pretending to be, which may be better than nothing. Therefore it seems completely inexplicable bow any member of an Hispanic, or other minority immigrant community in America, could possibly support Romney, let alone actively work on his behalf. 

Surely, no rational person would give any weight to Romney's nonsense about his father's having been born in Mexico, as if that made the slightest difference, or his statement that he "loves" immigration. I have no doubt that he does - even if the immigrants whom he supports (he hasn't said much about who they are) turn out to be mainly hedge fund owners and venture (am I spelling "venture" correctly?) capitalists.

Thereore, it is hard to imagine how any minority immigrant spokesperson (self-appointed or otherwise) could support Romney - unless, that is, one looks at the alternatives. Newt Gingrich, I have already mentioned. But what about Barack Obama? Now, we may understand why some minority immigrant representatives might support Romney. Being openly attacked may be preferable to being deceived.

What is missing in this picture is any indication that leaders in Hispanic, Asian, or other minority immigrant communities are taking a stand on principle, as for example, the Tea Party claims to be doing on budget and tax issues (not to mention hard line immigration policies of its own). Does this mean that Hispanics and other minorities who care about immigration should form their own movement - a "Tequila Party", perhaps? This should be self-evident. It is hard to see any other logical choice.

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  1. Danielle Beach 's Avatar
    I always enjoy your sharp comments on the political situation.
  2. Roger Algase's Avatar
    I appreciate Danielle's kind comment. The politics of immigration has such a powerful influence on both law and policy, that every step that we immigration advocates take to try to improve the system has to be considered in the political context.

    The should be an obvious, self-evident proposition. But when I read that there are 450,000 (I believe) Hispanic US citizens registered as Republicans in Florida alone, I simply cannot imagine how this could be possible. Do they know nothing whatsoever about the Republicans' politics of anti-Hispanic immigrant hate? I know, Cubans are different. But THAT different?

    Or, are Hispanic and other minority Americans from immigrant backgrounds being driven out of the Democratic party by Obama's cave-ins to the intolerant far right on immigration enforcement? Now, that I can believe.
  3. Don Miller's Avatar
    Two points: first, the formation of a third party based solely on immigration issues would be the "coup de grace" to any sensible immigration reform. It would be seen as a "foreign" political movement concerned solely with the interests of a very specific group of foreigners...Mexicans and to a lesser degree Central Americans. At this time of increased sense of American nationalism as well as increased internal economic stress, it is illogical to expect the Americans to take up the cause of any bunch of foreigners, especially a generally disliked group such as Mexicans.
    Second, I cannot believe that you find it unimaginable that other Latin Americans are not rallying to support the increased immigration of Mexicans! You are surely aware that Latin America and Latin Americans are not one huge undifferentiated mass of people. Cubans and Puertorricans have virtually nothing in common with Mexicans. Argentines and Uruguayans even less. The differences as perceived by themselves among the various peoples of Latin America are as acute as are the differences between Swedes and Greeks, both of whom are Europeans. Why should a Scot, for instance, care one whit about the plight of Romanian immigrants to the US? Why, then, would you expect a Cuban to concern himself about whether or not a million Mexicans swarm into the US?
    Most immigrants who come legally into the US do so because they like the way the country is and what it can offer to them because it is that way. These immigrants are also very well aware that demographics do indeed change countries and the ever-increasing numbers of Mexicans coming into the US will inevitably transform the US into a cultural and political extention of Mexico. Any Cuban, Venezuelan, whatever, who wishes to live in a Mexican society can easily arrange this without coming to the US to do so. They come here because it is the US and not Mexico or some other place.
    Your position is understandable, given your profession, but it is based on very shaky historical and logical feet of clay.
  4. Roger Algase's Avatar
    The main difference between Don Miller's view of immigration is that he looks on it as a process which serves the interests of foreigners only, to the detriment of Americans. I look on immigration as the heart and soul of America itself.

    We are all immigrants to this great land. This includes Don Miller, unless his ancestry happens to be Native American. No more immigration would mean no more America, at least not America as it has been known ever since the US was founded.
  5. Richard Y's Avatar
    Cuban Americans should be ashamed of themselves by voting Republicans and agree with their xenophobic policies and platform.
    There are no common sense and fairness also for our Immigration Laws to favor Cubans over anybody else that come from countries with human rights records worse than Cuba to seek refugee status here. Do we still believe that our country laws based on principle that everyone should be equal before the laws ? Why Cubans automatically get greencards upon stepping their feet on our "dry land" while Haitians should be turned away to their messed up country or to the sharks in the open seas ? It's time to reform this stupid and unfair policy by requiring any asylum seekers or refugees to go through same process all the way through the highest court in our country to determine their cases and merits. Period.
  6. Victoria FERAUGE's Avatar
    Interesting. An article appeared about this yesterday on page 9 of Le Figaro here in France ( a place where immigration is a hot topic on the agenda for the 2012 presidential election. The current president, Sarkozy, has been making life rather difficult for us (I am an American citizen who immigrated to France many years ago). He is clearly pandering to the Far Right - on the table are things like family reunification, work visas for foreign students and things like that. As an immigrant I'm not thrilled about these laws nor do I appreciate the rather strident rhetoric that goes along with it.

    However, that is never the entire picture. Yes, anti-immigrant platforms matter to people like me but so do other things like jobs, for example, and a plan to improve the economy. However nasty it gets, those things matter a lot and personally, if I could vote, I'd vote for Sarkozy rather than the Socialist candidate and hope that once the elections passed that people will calm down and things will get better.

    My .02.
  7. Roger Algase's Avatar
    The preference for Cuban immigrants is a holdover from Cold War hard line Republican ideology. Many ID readers are too young to remember the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis clearly, Many others were not yet born. I remember that time quite well.

    If today's hard line right wing neo-cons had been in power during that fateful October weekend, ID readers would not be debating about immigration policy today. No one on this planet would be here to debate about anything.

    On the other hand, Haitian immigrants have, by and large, not counting the earthquake survivors' TPS, had the worst treatment of any immigrants to the US in recent times. Their dictators have come from the right, not the left, and their color is darker than that of the majority of Cubans.
  8. Don Miller's Avatar
    Again, it is useless to attempt to reason with Richard Yang, but Roger, are you saying that you see no difference between a people/individual persecuted for their political beliefs and one simply fleeing a poor economic situation? I cannot think of a country in this Hemisphere that is more rigidly controlled politically than Cuba is and has been, under the Castro regime. To be sure, Haiti under the Duvaliers was pretty bad...but when has Haiti ever been otherwise? The governmental terror in Haiti has always been quite different from that in Cuba. Not necessarily better, but of a different level of intensity and I think that most observers would agree that immigration from Haiti is almost entirely economic, while that from Cuba is to the same degree political, although this has been diluted by many simply "seeking a better life".
    And you are exactly correct in your description of my position: I do indeed think that US immigration policy is far too heavily weighted toward what is of benefit for the intending immigrant rather than the benefits (if any) for the United States and Americans. Does not every country look at immigration in that regard? Even from the very beginnings of the country, immigrants were brought here and screened for what good they could add to the existing polity. Immigration was never at any time some sort of national "charity" extended by the US to less-fortunate citizens of other countries. You know that, Roger. You are an educated man yet sometimes your arguments sould like you just rolled off a turnip truck.
    And I would also remind you, as again I'm sure you know, that there is a definite difference between an immigrant and a settler...between a resident and an outsider, between a citizen and a foreigner. The fact that one's ancestors arrived here before this was a country and have been here ever since somehow, I would say, disqualifies one from the label "immigrant" I mean, how long does one have to live in his country before he is rightly considered a native? By your reasoning, no one is a native of anywhere...everyone is an immigrant, even, I suppose, a modern Greek living in Athens whose ancestors after all did indeed immigrate into the Greek peninsula a mere 3000 years ago! Still, apparently according to your and Yang's definition, the man is still an immigrant! Can you possibly not see the absurdity of your position?
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