The article, “The Hispanic Vote: An Insult Latinos Can Do Without“, by Otis Graham of the Center for Immigration Studies, is simply a malicious attempt to divide Latinos on the issue of immigration reform. Mr. Graham fails to recognize the existence of millions of undocumented immigrants that are parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren of legal residents or U.S. citizens; does he expect children to turn against their parents or grandparents, or vice-versa? Beyond this obvious contradiction, he also disregards the main reason immigration to the U.S. happens: the major wage disparities between sending countries and the U.S. As long as severe economic opportunity gaps between sending and receiving countries persist, immigration (documented and not) will continue.
Mr. Graham’s use of labor concerns by the UFW in the last century is also disingenuous. The advent of NAFTA and increased globalization, along with right-to-work laws in many agricultural states, have made those issues irrelevant. What we need is a component of comprehensive immigration reform that would allow migrant workers from abroad to work under humane conditions and fair compensation, a sound guest worker program. This program could be extended to all service workers with the option to apply for permanent residency after a number of years under this program.
The quote attributed to Roberto Suro in Mr. Graham’s piece is totally off-base. Latinos cannot reject immigration in any of its manifestations. What we need to reject is the broken immigration system in place that forces law-abiding and hard-working immigrants to come without a visa because the available options to achieve legal residency are virtually impossible for them to exercise. We want them all to come legally under a new immigration framework that works. Ours is a nation of immigrants and we cannot deny this essential dimension of America.