National immigration debate’s new focus far less emotional
If there’s anything good to be said about the substance of the national debate over immigration, it’s that the focus is no longer cultural.
In 2005 when the Latino community revolted after Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sponsored a “papers, please” bill that also criminalized those assisting illegal immigrants — very similar to the ones several states have now passed — two competing narratives emerged.
One was comprised of millions of illegal immigrants and their supporters who marched in the streets of major cities proudly waving Mexican flags and Spanish-language signs proclaiming the value of illegal immigrants’ contributions to the United States.
The other was that of people who took the spectacle of the immigration reform marches as a clear sign that “the Mexicans” wanted to “take over.”
Since Barack Obama took office in 2008, the rhetoric about illegal immigrants certainly hasn’t gotten any nicer — the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics recently reported that two-thirds of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010 were “targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias,” the highest percentage of such victims in at least the past decade. But the focus has thankfully turned to far less emotional arguments about economic impacts.
The fact is, even though our country will always be subtly shaped by the values, customs and habits of other cultures, new immigrants tend to have one thing in common: the desire to become “American.”
Read the full story at The Modesto Bee