Friday, March 31, 2006

Whose Backlash?

While in DC this week, CA Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez warned the GOP of a possible Latino-voter backlash over proposed immigration reform.

Unfortunately, Nunez is likely right that they should fear a possible Latino-voter backlash. I say "unfortunately" not because I don't think such a reaction is warranted, necessary, or valid. I say "unfortunately" because I wish it the GOP should fear a voter backlash.

I'm a proud Mexican-, Italian-, Irish-American and I'm a voter. At various points in American history, each piece of my own ethnic puzzle has been hated, excluded, and discriminated against by those ethnic groups who had come before them and assumed the mantle of the American trust. How quickly we forget though.

One commenter mentioned in a previous post on the topic of immigration policy that Asian immigrants aren't really getting any play in the media over the issue - despite their comparatively large presence in California. We can't build a floating fence in the Pacific, so the visuals for that immigrant group just aren't as made for TV. But the underlying point remains the same: this is hardly a niche issue for Latinos/Hispanics/Chicanos/Pick your descriptive word.

I suppose it is naive - and repetitively so - at this point to wonder aloud where all the Americans who believe in the American Dream have gone. Yet what else can we do?

So Nunez is right - this issue will motivate many Latino voters. I can only hope that non-Latino voters and leaders will remind those present longer in America why they should honor their own forebears by lashing back with their votes.


Jared said...

It's also important to remember that historically, one of the groups most likely to agitate for increased immigration limits was... recent immigrants! It makes perfect sense economically, since they are the people most likely to be affected by the competition in the labor market.

So, while some Latino voters (and others) may be stirred to a backlash, there are also some Latino voters who will undoubtedly support the various forms of immigration reform. Even Prop. 187 had near majorities of Latino support in the polls, if I remember right.

Anonymous said...

that is a very smart, cogent comment. The latest polls illustrate that as well, although there seems to be a slight tendency for overall Latino unity.