December 26, 2005
From Irrational to Illogical on Immigration
-- Where's the holiday spirit? I bet that's what a lot of U.S.-born
Hispanics are wondering as 2005 comes to an end.
scary times for the nation's largest minority. Everywhere you
look, it seems that some Americans are trying to erect more walls,
deploy more guards, and whenever possible, roll back the influence
of Hispanic culture.
all about the numbers. There's something about accounting for
40 million people that makes some folks uncomfortable -- as if
it's only a matter of time before they are edged out for admission
to colleges and some of the better jobs. Or maybe what they are
afraid of is that their neighborhoods and towns will be overrun
and their language, culture and customs will be eroded.
And when people get uncomfortable, they act irrationally.
point: Jennifer Watts, principal of the Endeavor Alternative School,
a small public high school in Kansas City, Kan. In an eerie throwback
to the 1940s when Mexican students were often punished for speaking
Spanish in school, Watts recently suspended 16-year-old Zach Rubio
for committing just that infraction. After Zach's father, Lorenzo
Rubio, complained to the school superintendent and demanded to
see in writing the policy that his son violated, the district
rescinded the suspension and declared that speaking a foreign
language is not sufficient grounds for that kind of punishment.
should have told that to Watts and her staff. According to The
Washington Post, Watts wrote in the paperwork explaining
the suspension: ``This is not the first time we have (asked) Zach
and others not to speak Spanish at school.''
about the incident by the Post, both Watts and the superintendent
declined to comment -- perhaps because the Rubios are considering
filing a civil rights lawsuit.
what gets people up in arms isn't Spanish but taco trucks. The
Nashville City Council considered a proposal by three of its members
to ban taco trucks and other mobile food vendors. Supporters of
the ban insisted that it was prompted by legitimate health concerns
and not by -- as critics suggested -- a cultural backlash against
Hispanics who, according to The Associated Press, operate
the majority of the mobile vending trucks in the city. But the
council members had a tough time explaining why the ban did not
apply to smaller street vendors, such as hot dog carts.
In the last
decade or so, similar bans on taco trucks have been debated in
California, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and elsewhere.
public outcry, the Nashville council deferred action on the proposal.
Supporters now say they are working on drafting a new and less
if you really want irrational thinking, you can't top Congress
-- specifically the House of Representatives.
of ignoring the problem of illegal immigration, some House members
can't wait to take credit for helping craft a solution. Trouble
is, what passes for solutions in Washington are half-baked proposals
such as the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration
Control Act of 2005, a bill that is heavy on enforcement but light
on practicality, honesty and common sense.
by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the bill wastes a lot of
ink attempting to keep out additional illegal immigrants, but
not a drop explaining what we should do with the more than 11
million of them who are already here, or dealing with the economic
incentive that brings them to this country.
Among the 239 House members who voted in favor of the legislation
were 36 Democrats, some of whom might have been pressured to support
the legislation by party leaders.
Hill -- a newspaper that covers Congress -- ran a story last
week saying that members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
were ``furious'' at Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., for lobbying Democrats with tough
re-election battles next year to vote ``yes'' on the Sensenbrenner
bill. Emanuel denies that he lobbied anyone.
Republican leaders were smart enough to scuttle debate on an obscene
amendment to the bill that would have essentially rolled back
part of the 14th Amendment by declaring that the children of illegal
immigrants born in this country would no longer be U.S. citizens.
ban doesn't make any sense. You had better believe most of those
who support it also oppose the idea of giving amnesty to illegal
immigrants. The opponents of amnesty insist that you can't willy-nilly
convert those who are illegal to legal, and yet now some of these
same people want to unilaterally convert the legal to illegal.
irrational. Make way for illogical.
2005, The San Diego Union-Tribune