Commentary: Diversifying ranks with immigration reform — What the huh?

By Marc Towaira
For Northwest Asian Weekly

Editor’s note: Marc Towaira is responding to an Associated Press story we ran in the Dec. 5–11 issue, “Activists diversifying the ranks in traditionally Latino-led movement: immigration reform,” which reported that an increasing number of Asians, Africans, and those from the Caribbean are now taking part in the immigration reform movement.

Proponents of immigration believe that there is a viable solution to this increasingly clamorous and very delicate topic — ethnically expanding the ranks.

Just how would this benefit those of the victimized immigrant community?

To be fair, the issue of immigration reform has not been devoid of diversity. But some think expanding the ranks in a traditionally Latino-led movement [automatically] means there will be progress toward solving this problem.

In my opinion, this is a misguided attempt. It seems to lack candor and sends out confusing messages.

Now I could change my opinion. All I’m asking for is clarity.

Latinos seem to own the immigration issue, own the movement. They have the ability to dictate and tailor the immigration laws so it favors them — which seems fair enough.

Non-Latinos should counteract this though. I agree in expanding the ranks when it is used as a tool to prove that the present U.S. immigration laws only favor Latinos.

If it does, then I agree with diversifying the ranks to level a lopsided immigration debate. I agree that more non-Latino immigrants should pressure lawmakers to change laws that indisputably favor one group of people and discriminate against another. Diversifying the ranks could assist in exposing laws of racial and ethnical favoritisms.

But I question the idea that expanding the ranks will equate to immigration reform solutions. Could more non-Latinos enter into the debate and create a hostile political climate of diverse cultures competing against one another, battling furiously for position and recognition? Wouldn’t this complicate the immigration reform process — and not enhance the solution process? Are immigration reformers and leaders prepared for a hostile political climate?

If expanding the immigration debate is not done properly, I fear that this debate could get ugly.

The reasonable solution to solving [illegal] immigration, I feel, is cracking down with non-prejudicial deportation of individuals who shouldn’t be here.

But what if those coordinating the diversification of ranks are deliberately attempting to pit nationals against nationals while protecting a few under some kind of preferred selective favoritism?

I’m losing confidence over the immigration reform movement’s faithfulness in its original ideals of human dignity for all people.

I want to believe that the predominately liberal movement emphasizes individual fairness, justice, and liberty. But instead, there may be an emphasis on ethic group loyalty, triggering inner xenophobes.

Diversifying the ranks is filled with good intentions. Its meaning, though, demands clarifying. ♦

Marc Towaira can be reached at

8 Responses to “Commentary: Diversifying ranks with immigration reform — What the huh?”

  1. William Turnbull says:

    What exactly is “non-prejudicial deportation”.
    Seems that deportation is a legal process and has nothing to do with prejudice.

  2. Marc says:

    Hello eveybody.

    I appreciate the responses coming from the commentary. The foundation of our “Great Republic” is well defended because of papers like Asian Weekly.

    To answer, Why “ illegally should be allowed to stay”?
    The writer opined below:

    “The reasonable solution to solving [illegal] immigration, I feel, is cracking down with non-prejudicial deportation of individuals who shouldn’t be here”.

    I don’t understand how the writer cannot be any more explicitly clearer than that. Thus, could this writer be any more clearer than that? Probably NO (and I’m sure the writer appologizes the readers if he has not made himself any more clearer than that)

    Besides, the writer’s opinion:

    1. Illegal Immigrant broken the law not only for just merely being here, but they broken laws to enter in here. Identity theft, forged papers, anything else-they broken laws. Does that make it right?

    2. Illegal immigration is unfair for immigrants that are following the law. Think, wouldn’t that make a lot of immigrants that are here legally and those those trying to immigrant in this country legally, upset? They should be.

    3. If this was any other country, guaranteed that their illegal immigrants will be deported without hesitancy. It should be imperatively understood to comply to their country’s mores … Of course.

    So, to answer the question,
    Why are illegally should be allowed to stay?

    Answer according to commentary:
    “They shouldn’t be allowed to stay.”

    Thank you much for reading the article… And the writer does what he can to be respectful to all adjacent and differing opinions. The writer may have “ruffled” tons of feathers but its of no intended disrespect of anyone and anybody opinions and viewpoints.

    Thanks, and have yourselves a great day.

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  4. Norah C. says:

    I have read this commentary and I agree over his premise that diversifying the ranks needs
    1. clearness of expression: the quality of being clearly expressed
    2. clearness of thought: clearness in what somebody is thinking
    3. clearness of reproduction: the quality of being clear in sound or image
    4. transparent quality: the quality of being clear, pure, or transparent

    • NC. says:

      What I’m geting from this commentary is that those wanting to orchestrate the expanding the ranks via the immigration reform leadership movements must be extra careful not it have it misconstrude as over-righteousness beating the drums; riling non-latinos to the brink of (I don’t know what). And then cover it by saying that immigration reform movement is built upon good intensions.

      Immigration reform is a sensitively serious issue. It is horribly unfair to manipulate people’s emotions just to get people all hyped into one unified voice and instead seeing it explode all over the place. And what’s worse, whose going to clean up the mess?
      That’s one clear reason to expand the ranks. Everybody cleans up the mess, everybody shares the blame and no one else the wiser.

      The commentator is right though. Those passionate about this issue really need to find out what “expanding the ranks” really truely means. Besides, there are a lot of people who wants to immigrate legally into the U.S…. Lets not spoil the opportunity for them over this.

  5. Bill says:

    Why “Legalization of the those who are here”?
    Can you give me a good, sound argument for why those here illegally should be allowed to stay?
    We have now had 9 seperate amnesties. I would love to hear some good, persuasive discussion on this instead of the emotional claims which accompany these arguments.
    Otherwise, immigration quotas should be fair, balanced and reaonable.
    An expanded guest worker program is excellent, but should not simply be a path to citizenship. Want to be a citizen? Apply and enter properly. Don’t lie and then just overstay, waiting for the next amnesty.
    Seems we agree on most, but not all.

  6. Mary says:

    Approximately 10% of the illegal/undocumented immigrants are Asian. Latinos, Asians, Irish etc should work towards the same goal: Legalization of the those who are here, an expanded guest worker program and strong workplace and border enforcement.

    • Bill says:

      But why do we have to legalize those here? They simply do not belong here and should be returned to where they came from to apply properly and get in line behind any others waiting to immigrate legally. We have had already 9 amnesties, each with promised of enforcement. Immigration reform yes, amnesty no. We have laws, enforce them.


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