Latino Citizenship





The massive demonstrations by Hispanics across the country have the look of civil rights history. The crowds protesting punitive immigration legislation have been huge, rivaling or exceeding the gathering for the 1963 March on Washington. Is this in fact a major new civil rights movement?

Until now Hispanics have not been a political force or a major factor in national discussions of civil rights, though they have become the nation's largest minority. The politics of race are still dominated by conversations about black-white relations, and blacks remain the gatekeepers of racial representation on school boards and in city halls. In Congress, African Americans have a caucus more than twice the size of the Hispanic delegation (43 to 21), even though they are a smaller percentage of the population




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DEFINITIONS:
civil rights:
1. rights to an individual or a minority group the rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and certain Congressional acts.
2. the rights to full legal, social, and economic equality extended to blacks.

Immigration:
1. To enter and settle in a country or region to which one is not native. See Usage Note at migrate.
2. To send or introduce as immigrants: Britain immigrated many colonists to the New World.


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Pride is an integral part of Latino culture

Latino civil rights demonstrations have earned the right of making civil right history. Crowds supporting anti-immigration laws became massive, greater than the crowd in the 1963 march on Washington.
Hispanics are now becoming the nations largest minority. So are they actually the minority? In Congress African-Americans hold a much larger representative force than the Hispanic delegates(43 to 21). Even though the african american population is much smaller than latino population.
The Latino civil rights movement has been one of mystery. This is due to the lack of alliance between different Latino cultures. Most would only identify with those from their native countries (Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia ect.)
Recently, this has changed due to marches that have taking place. Many different branches of the Latino culture have come together for the advancement of the Latino culture as a whole.
But that changed recently, with marches that drew hundreds of.

One big reason Hispanic power has been slow in maturing is that most Hispanics do not identify themselves as such. Their group reference has tended to be to homelands -- Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic. And of course there are racial differences, especially between black and white Hispanics.


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But that changed recently, with marches that drew hundreds of thousands and created coalitions across the lines of Hispanic national identity. People from disparate Hispanic nations coalesced around the debate on illegal immigration. It took a radical step by the House -- giving serious thought to dragnet arrests of all illegal immigrants and charging them with a felony -- to achieve this. To some, the level of hatred and racism against immigrants seemed to match that once directed against blacks in this country.

The number of ethnicity-based hate crimes in San Diego County doubled between 2005 and 2006. Local law enforcement estimates that 75% of all hate crimes committed in 2007 were against Latinos, and a North County coalition of Latino rights groups has had enough. As horrifying as these statistics may be, they are hardly surprising. With local fringe groups like the San Diego Minutemen spewing anti-Latino invective, and presidential candidates exploiting the “immigration issue” as a means of diverting attention from social, economic, and foreign policy issues, it is probably safe to say that Latinos’ safety is increasingly at risk.

In past years, rewards have proven a useful way of getting tips about hate crimes. Last year’s hate crimes against Latinos include the wholesale vandalization of migrant camps in Rancho Penasquitos and McGonigle Canyon, and El Grupo helped raise a $10,000 reward to solve those cases. The reward is still unclaimed, but El Grupo says it is confident that useful tips will be provided, especially because tipsters can remain anonymous and still receive the reward. Flores acknowledges that there was a few months’ lag time between those crimes and the reward offer. “From now on, we want to be in a position to provide an
incentive early on,” says Flores.

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The real issue is whether America can come to terms with the reality of change. The next question is whether an activated Hispanic coalition can hold together on issues beyond the current fight over immigration reform. Imagine the power of Hispanics joined with other minorities to stand up for better schools and pressure politicians for national health care.