“You’re The Enemy Because You’re One Of Them.”

This story titled “Immigrants, citizens marched in unprecedented numbers in 2006” speaks of the many immigrant rallies held in 2006. Generally the immigrant rallies bring far greater supporters, both legal and illegal citizens, because it is a more positive reaction to want to support immigrants. There is so much negativity and anger on the anti-illegal and legal immigration side that it’s hard to even consider taking their side.

My reason for linking to this article is that it makes a great point on one issue I’ve discussed before. This is the idea that “you’re the enemy because you’re one of them.” What I mean is that simply by being Hispanic you’re an enemy of the anti-illegal immigration groups. Whether or not all anti-illegal immigration people believe that Hispanics side with Hispanic illegal immigrants is not really as important as whether or not Hispanics think they believe it. I think that Hispanics do feel they’re being targeted along with the illegal immigrants as most rallies and illegal immigration groups will specify Spanish and Hispanics as the “illegals.” This, I believe, is why groups like You Don’t Speak For Me exist. Out of fear this group felt that they had to disassociate themselves from other Hispanics in recognition of the anti-Hispanic rhetoric.

Plascencia said the strongest backlash is rarely between people of Mexican heritage but in majority white communities that have never had significant Latino populations. In such a climate, he added, “the Mexican American, in order to protect himself, has to side with immigrants or be vocal about anti-immigrant stuff.”

In recognition of the mass labeling of new Hispanic immigrants and older immigrants the story states:

“You think, ‘finally, I’ve made some gains, and I’ve come to some kind of understanding with the white community as to who we are,’ and then these new people come in and wipe that out, because the whites always see us as the latest group of arrivals,” said Danny Camacho, 61, a retired food services worker whose family’s roots in Austin go back to the 1870s. “I feel my accomplishments are being pushed back by the most recent arrivals.”

What this says to me is that the anti-illegal immigration groups are not truly understanding how their rhetoric spans a far greater range than just the illegal immigrants. Though they claim to be simply against illegal immigration the fact that so many of these groups identify Hispanics as the target simply tells me what their real motives are.

Immigrants, citizens marched in unprecedented numbers in 2006
Some say collaborations on protests offer lessons for resolving conflicts.
Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen

By Juan Castillo
Sunday, November 11, 2007

In one of the largest civil demonstrations in Austin history, illegal immigrants marched jubilantly on downtown streets, exhorting Congress to pass immigration laws allowing them to become U.S. citizens. The throng was conservatively estimated at 12,000 people that sweltering afternoon, April 10, 2006.

Some Austinites hailed the protest as an exercise in democracy; others were outraged, calling it a flaunting of U.S. law by people not authorized to be here in the first place.

But immigrants didn’t act alone. Citizens marched alongside them, both then and a few weeks later in more demonstrations.


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