Latino immigrants just want a chance to succeed

Latino voters are up for grabs

Isn’t it interesting how Bush appointees sound so much better after they leave his employ?  Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales penned a column about immigration recently in the L.A. Times that deserves further scrutiny.  In that column Gonzales talked about how both of the major political parties need to reach out to Latino voters.  He summed up his column this way:

I have said often that Latinos share a common prayer: “Just give me a chance to succeed.” I believe that the candidate who will win Latino votes is the one who understands that desire and who will engage the issue of racial equality for Americans of all colors. It’s politically wise. More important, it is the right thing to do for our nation.

I have said this before and it bears repeating – Latino immigrants who are undocumented do not necessarily want to become U.S. citizens.  They just want to work here legally and it is too damn hard to do so.  This is why they so often come here surreptitiously.  So why don’t we change the system?  It clearly is not working.

I believe that rather than focus on another amnesty, which the Republicans will fight to the bitter end, the Congressional Democrats ought to do the following:

  1. Make it easier to get a green card so folks who are currently enmeshed in the underground economy can pay taxes and open bank accounts.
  2. In so doing, I think a moderate fine would be appropriate – no more than $1,000.  The money collected could be spent to pay for processing all the new green cards.
  3. In order to qualify for this program, immigrants should have to prove that: they have not broken any laws while in this country, other than coming here without documents and not paying taxes.
  4. They must prove that they have either sufficient skills or work experience to be able to get work and not end up on welfare rolls.  In fact it might be a good idea to offer a green card with a few added considerations, such as no welfare, etc.
  5. The ability to speak English should not be mandated, however if these folks want to become citizens at some later date, then they should be required to learn English as part of the citizenship requirements.
  6. The green cards should be extended to the spouses of these immigrant workers too.
  7. There should be a stipulation that they must pay taxes once they get their green cards and they must not commit any felonies, or even misdemeanors.  Committing such actions should result in immediate cancellation of these green cards.
  8. And finally, I think it would be a good idea for these new green card holders to have to check in with Homeland Security every two years for additional background checks.

As for citizenship, I think it should be extended to anyone who receives these new green cards after they have been in the program, with no problems, for at least five years.  However, as I indicated, they must learn English, not break any laws, pay their taxes, and their children must likewise not get involved in any crimes.  Parents should be held accountable for what their minor children do.

Gonzales wrote that:

In a close presidential election, the Latino vote could decide the outcome. For example, in the closely contested strategic states of New Mexico, Florida and Colorado, Latinos make up, respectively, 37%, 14% and 12% of eligible voters.

In 1999, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report published in 2007, Democrats enjoyed a 33% advantage over Republicans in partisan allegiance among Latino registered voters. However, in 2003, a sufficient number of Latinos voted for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger (over a respected Latino Democrat) to make Schwarzenegger the governor of California. In 2004, President Bush won a historic percentage of the Latino vote (more than 40%). By 2006, again according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the Democrats’ edge in partisan allegiance had dropped to 21%.

Clearly Latino voters are important to both of the major political parties now, and they are up for grabs.  The first party that can present a comprehensive solution to our immigration problems will no doubt pick up quite a few grateful Latino voters.

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.