The politics driving the immigration reform issues and other Latino issues are misunderstood by many well-meaning Latinos and others not realizing that we have different backgrounds and needs.
Most of the Central and Western States have a large majority of Latinos of Mexican and Central American descent with a sizable number of South Americans. On the other hand, the majority of the Latinos in the Eastern States are either Puerto Ricans, Dominicans in the North-East and then Cubans, Venezuelans and other South Americans in the South-East.
It is important to recognize that the Puerto Ricans are not immigrants; they are U.S. citizens at birth so they do not have to struggle to get residence (green card) while the rest of us have to go through the lengthy and unfair process of immigration change of status. Also, the Cubans have an easy almost automatic way to become legal residents by just entering the United States and going through simple and fast procedures as refugees. These facts alone, bring different approaches to the Latino issues as we are all Latinos and have the same basic family and religious values.
In the North-East, the majority of the Latinos are of African descent while the South-East Latinos have more Caucasians and other native “south of the border” races. In the West, the Latinos have lots of descendants from the natives of their original countries like the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Incas (South Americans), and many other native races in addition to a large amount of Caucasians from those countries.
I have always argued that we should not count people by their race and stop using race to decide on programs and expenditures. We are all citizens and the services the government provides should be color blinded. In fact, it is my believe that those politicians who promote those racial related programs use them to enrich themselves and their cohorts in the name of the people who should receive the benefits.
Politicians tend to lump us all together and normally try to come up with one solution that fits everything not realizing that we have different needs and social issues to be resolved. These issues include the fact that we have lots of illegal aliens from many countries and they are basically living in the United States, paying their taxes, and contributing to the local societies.
We should also understand the fear that the illegal aliens will take our jobs. It is a well founded fear in certain industries like the construction industry where illegal aliens have taken jobs away from citizens. This fear is driving the politicians to promise immigration reform, while in reality they will not support it. They cannot go against the unions who finance their campaigns and those unemployed who vote in the elections.
You cannot expect a Puerto Rican to be concerned with the immigration process. On the other hand, the same politicians try to secure the vote of the Puerto Rican for their support alleging that they want immigration reform. In fact, the realities are that many Latino descendants who are citizens do not want the immigration reform because they do not want competition for the jobs from the illegals not realizing that those illegals presently in the country are already working and not taking jobs from anyone.
In the West and the Central States, many well-meaning Latinos fail to see that the politics of the country are controlled by those in the North-East when it relates to Latino issues. This is why there is so much frustration from the Latinos against the present administration that promised results and those were never delivered. In fact, I do not believe those politicians really want to deal with the reform as it is against the people who support these politicians with the money for campaigns.
We must continue to convince everyone that proper immigration reform is needed and it should have a provision to allow those who are here to be able to adjust status to be a legal alien as long as the qualify based on their record. On the other hand, we should not be so naive to expect those politicians who make promises to get our vote to really push for immigration reform and go against the groups who finance their elections.
We must also avoid the unnecessary and wasteful offensive language against those who oppose the immigration reform; it only consolidates their efforts to reject immigration reform by allowing our hate and their hate to blind the real issues.
It is time to provide the necessary laws to stop illegal immigration and to facilitate the legal process for those who are here, work hard, pay taxes and are not criminals.