Other than Native Americans, we are a country of immigrants who left their homelands, their possessions, their families and friends, their culture and all they considered familiar in the hope of finding the American Dream. We continue to have a rich and diverse society because of our immigrants who come to us today for much the same reason.
Although we take pride in our country’s uniqueness created by the diverse cultures living together within our borders, we treat our Latino immigrants with disdain and contempt. We won’t acknowledge the sacrifice they’ve made to brave a new world. Rather, when Latino immigrants arrive in the United States, they’re met with a growing antagonism, prejudice, distrust and, in some parts of our country, rage at their presence which follows them and their families for generations – well after they’ve become citizens who have had their own children born and raised in the United States.
An Associated Press-Univision Poll found that our Latino immigrants and Latino or Hispanic Americans are the most discriminated minority in the United States. See, http://bo.st/13c8TJZ.
- Nearly three in ten Latinos have experienced discrimination frequently at work;
- 12% allege that they have been fired because they are Latino;
- 41% of Latinas don’t graduate with their high school class;
- only 61% of Latinos completed high school in 2006; and
- one in 6 Latino men should expect to spend time in prison. http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-discrimination-against-latinos
Immigration is no longer popular, and Latino immigration is openly unaccepted. There is no better proof than that we label our Latino immigrants “illegals” or “illegal aliens”, two terms that criminalize them whether or not they’ve done anything criminal. We call them “wetbacks” as if the people making a perilous trip to find a better life are ignoble rather than heroic.
When our government’s immigration policy fosters distrust, we assure that our prejudices are passed to our children, geometrically increasing our intolerance. We cannot expect otherwise when, for example, Arizona legalizes racial profiling in its “show me your papers” law, by allowing the police to question citizenship while enforcing other laws. www.nbcnews.com/id/49077650/ns/us_news/.
This is not the America I want to leave to my grandchildren, whose great grandparents were immigrants themselves. Fortunately, they came to the United States when we were still proud of “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Recognizing that Emma Lazarus had poetically and simply stated an American core value, we inscribed her words on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. It’s time we rediscover the true meaning of that noble statue and apply it to all our “huddled masses” equally.