This report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that most Latinos say they are being hurt in some form by the anti-immigrant climate gripping the United States. According to the poll released this week,
“Just over half of all Hispanic adults in the U.S. worry that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported”
The study also found that the overwhelming majority of us reject the raids. The report states that,
Three quarters (75%) disapprove of workplace raids; some 79% prefer that local police not take an active role in identifying illegal immigrants; and some 55% disapprove of states checking for immigration status before issuing driver’s licenses.
Such uniformity around the immigration moves us beyond the simplistic logic of the mainstream media that tells us that Republicans will lose ground among Latinos in the next year’s election. It take us into deeper territory: the birth of a more oppositional Latino culture shaped, in part, by what the white majority and some (not all) African Americans believe is right.
As with the freedom struggles of African Americans, Latino claims to rights and liberties will have to persuade people and directly challenge the racist beliefs coded and cloaked by the thinning veneer of “legal” versus “illegal” as can be seen in this quote from the report,
By contrast, non-Hispanics are much more supportive of all these policies, with a slight majority favoring workplace raids and a heavy majority favoring driver’s license checks.
So, simply changing the party in power will not suffice. Such patterns are now firmly rooted in the deeper realm of the very spirit and letter of what it means to be “American”. That’s why we must teach this country to put the accent in the phrase “the United States Of América”.