Sunday, June 08, 2008

Illegal immigration railers cannot handle the heat


Some of those who rail against illegal immigration can dish it out but they can't take it. Since most illegal immigrants come from Mexico or other parts of Latin America, critics sometimes say the sort of crude things that give the debate its anti-Latino flavor. But let someone call them on it and do they ever get defensive.

Speaking to supporters in Palm Beach last week, Barack Obama blasted a couple of media personalities by name.

"A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year," Obama said. "If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen."

It's about time. That some cable hosts and radio talkers grow their ratings by pandering to the anti-immigrant crowd is no big secret.

Not surprisingly, supporters of Dobbs and Limbaugh went on the attack. They insisted that Obama had overstated the statistics. In 2006, the FBI reported that hate crimes against Hispanics increased 10 percent from the previous year - 576 in 2006, 522 in 2005.

Nevertheless, Hispanics in 2006 were considered by the FBI as the No. 1 victim of hate crimes motivated by one's ethnicity or national origin, and by a margin that was the highest since records have been kept. Hispanics comprised 62.8 percent of victims of crimes motivated by a bias toward a victim's ethnicity or national origin.

So Obama was on the right track. In a world where the remnants of the Ku Klux Klan use immigration to recruit new members and where neo-Nazis have produced a repulsive computer game in which players shoot Mexicans crossing the border and watch them explode, it's obvious that these are hard times for Hispanics.

Limbaugh has made his share of sophomoric remarks about Hispanics and immigration. Not long ago, he aired a parody - a group calling itself Jose y Los Ilegales singing "The Star-Spanglish Banner," complete with Speedy Gonzales accents and offensive lyrics. He also took a shot at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa by saying that, when they were introduced - by former President Bill Clinton, no less - Limbaugh thought the first Latino to serve as mayor of America's second-largest city in more than a century was "maybe a shoeshine guy."

Still, there is a difference between sophomoric and sinister, and Dobbs is more accurately described as the latter. In fact, Fox News' Geraldo Rivera recently referred to Dobbs as a "hatemonger" for his treatment of the immigration issue.

That also seems to be the view of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which recently teamed up with the liberal group, Media Matters for America, to issue a report examining how the immigration debate is framed by cable news shows, including CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight." The report found that these kinds of shows overflow "not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria." Among the most common myths - that illegal immigrants commit more than their share of crime, drain social services, and conspire to retake the Southwest and return it to Mexico.

Dobbs also blurs the line between legal and illegal immigration. He uses guests from restrictionist groups that favor limiting legal immigration as well - the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Numbers USA, the Center for Immigration Studies, etc. - without pointing out their agendas. And the show mixes segments on border security (which deals explicitly with illegal immigration) and the Spanish language, the Mexican flag and multiculturalism (which could just as easily be tied to legal immigration).

It also doesn't help Dobbs' reputation that, during an interview last year on CBS' "60 Minutes," he recalled a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in which the CNN host claimed that the representatives, in trying to establish if he was pro-Latino, asked him if he "had ever eaten a taco ... and an enchilada."

That crack inspired a letter of protest to CBS from Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., insisting that Dobbs' comments did not "reflect the true nature of the discussion at our meeting." He called Dobbs' juvenile and stereotypical remarks about Mexican food "just one example of how he continues to belittle Hispanic members of Congress and the Hispanic community."

So did Barack Obama go too far in criticizing media talkers who are poisoning the public mood against Latinos? Are you kidding? He only scratched the surface.

Ruben Navarrette Jr., is a columnist and editorial board member of The San Diego Union Tribune, He is the author of "A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano." He can be reached at

Source: Coshocton Tribune


zeezil said...

It is not hate to be offended when someone breaks into your home. It is not hate to be concerned when those coming into your country not only spurn assimilation, but mock and ridicule your values and systems. It is not hate when we identify the root cause of the burden placed on the social infrastructure resulting in increases on the taxes of American citizens, closing of hospitals, crowding citizens out of a decent public schools education and the filling of our jails with criminals. It is not hate to protest the actions of illegals when they cause death and lifelong trauma to the citizens of this country. And it is not hate to care enough about one’s country to take a stand against a situation that is hellbent on tearing it apart.

It is not hate. It is not racism. It is not bigotry. It is not xenophobia. It is a desire for JUSTICE. It is the exercise of one’s right to protect their homes, their culture, their society and their country. It is recognition of the rule of law.

Those concepts may be foreign in countries like Mexico, but they are basic tenants of life in the US. That’s why we are not a third world (yet) country and Mexico is. Mexico so abhor’s illegal immigration into its own country that it has legislated draconian measures to discriminate against immigrants through laws and practices. Want to run a business in Mexico? You are required to employ Mexican citizens as managers. Want to own property in Mexico? You can’t do it as a foreigner unless you put the deed in trust with a Mexican trustee. And even if you become a Mexican citizen, you will never be able to hold elected office because you are not a citizen by birth. Sounds more than a little like life under Islamic rule than life under a democracy.

Yes, there is hate associated with the issue of illegal immigration. But the hate is not generated by US citizens - the hate is borne by citizens of countries like Mexico. Hate is borne by Hispanic supremacy groups like La Raza "The Race", MEChA, LULAC, MALDEF, CHIRLA, El Pueblo, La Voz de Atzlan, Zapatista Army of National Liberation and Mexicanos Sin Fronteras (Mexicans Without Borders) that believe they are superior to the hodgepodge of other races that have melted together successfully in the US.
Their hate and racism should be kept south of our border and out of our country. When, and only when, they are forced to abide by our laws and enter America by LEGAL means ONLY then will they ever be worthy of residing here and be considered for citizenship.

The Galactic Dreamer said...

Again, what part of ILLEGAL do you NOT understand?

By the way, where can I find that video game? It kinda reminds me of Grand Theft Auto where you can kill and/or rape white women.