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 firstname.lastname@example.org.