Another way to view immigration

There currently is so much hate in American politics about so-called illegal immigration. People are in an uproar calling their fellow human beings animals and asserting false claims that most of these immigrants crossing the border without documentation are drug dealers and criminals, and stealing jobs away from long time American citizens. I would like to offer a different view.

The United States has always been a country of immigrants. That is how we grew decade after decade. Many immigrants in the early years came from Europe, and then there were those forcibly brought from Africa against their will as enslaved people. In later years, immigrants came to California from Asia, and now more recently from Mexico and Central and South America.

Throughout our history, immigrants were people of creatively and ambition seeking a better live. It takes a lot of character and determination to leave your home and travel thousands of miles to a strange land. Throughout our history, immigrants came with a strong work effort and creativity that added to our national growth.

Now let’s think about these individuals and families trekking across thousands of dangerous miles with only the clothes on their backs to attempt to cross into the United States of America. This act itself shows determination and initiative. Lazy unambitious people would not dare attempt such an arduous trip!

Without migrant workers on our farms, I assert that much of our crops would rot in the fiends unpicked.

And now think about the jobs these new immigrants are willing to take on. Though many are well educated professionals, many also will work on our farms, in our hotels, in our restaurants, and in the building and landscaping industries. Of course, I do not want to stereotype people, but frankly if immigrants were not continuing to come into the US, crops would rot in the field, and these “immigrant haters” would complain endlessly about not getting served in the restaurants they frequent and not being able to find reliable lawn and garden service.

Yes, we seriously do need immigration reform and some reasonable way of addressing the ongoing flood of immigrants coming into our country. But demonizing fellow human beings and discussing the issue using hateful rhetoric instead of discussing facts and forming solutions in a mature way is harmful and unhelpful.

Let’s discuss, address and debate the immigration issue in a mature way seeking a solution to this issue instead of spreading vitriolic hate.

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Please do read my blog “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People.”

Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People

Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado on my consulting team with her husband Richard Horvath asks us, "So what exactly is an Hispanic supposed to look like?"

Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado on my consulting team with her husband Richard Horvath asks us, “So what exactly is an Hispanic supposed to look like?”

This blog is loaded with links – please do use them!

NOTE: Total Engagement Consulting provides diversity strategy and training expertise for organizations on all aspects of diversity, including a deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.) Please check out my diversity offerings page and contact me at [email protected] to discuss your diversity and inclusion needs.

With National Hispanic Heritage Month (link) being celebrated in the USA September 15 – October 15, I wanted to provide some interesting resources. Last week I published “Five Things to Never to Say to Hispanic People” written by bilingual part time consultant Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado (link to her info) from my team.

And now here are Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People particularly in the USA written mostly by Elsa, with some contributions from myself.

1) They all come from Mexico, and most of them crossed the border illegally. There are several issues with this stereotype. First, many Hispanics in the USA were actually born here and may even be third and fourth generation American citizens. And according to the latest research, most of the immigrants that are in the U.S. illegally are immigrants from ALL over the world who overstay their legally obtained Visas. Finally, though the largest segment of Hispanics in the USA is from Mexico, there are significant numbers from the wide range of diverse nations in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

2) They all speak fluent Spanish and poor broken English. In some instances, this might be true, but this stereotype is debunked at several levels. First, many Hispanics who moved to the USA are truly bilingual and speak flawless English. Second, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in this country, and a huge portion of these individuals are already second generation U.S. citizens, who speak English as their native language. Third, there are many second and third generation Hispanics in the USA (Stan – I have even met a few) who do not even speak Spanish!

3) They all look the same – short, plump and dark skinned. The majority of the Hispanics in Latin America are the result of the miscegenation of the Spaniards with the native ethnic groups. But there have been also numerous immigration booms in ALL of these countries from all over the world. For example: Argentina received millions of Italians for generations, Mexico received a lot of Germans, and Colombia received many African slaves at some point in their history. So stereotyping on how a Latino should look might be perceived as racist.

4) They are mostly uneducated and perform manual labor jobs. Quoting the Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu’s interview for ABC News in her last visit to the United States: “In fact, Mexico has the second largest professional diaspora in the United States. We are talking about lawyers, we’re talking about designers in Silicon Valley, we’re talking about medical professionals, we’re talking about Oscar winners.” This data not only applies to Mexico, but also other Latin-American countries that contribute professional human capital to the American economy.

5) They all celebrate with wild partying on the main Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. In fact 5 de Mayo is not a Statutory Holiday in Mexico; it is more celebrated in the U.S. Cinco de Mayo became popular in the U.S. when President Roosevelt signed the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 with the objective of improving relations with Latin-American nations. Actually the way it is celebrated in the U.S. is perceived amongst many Mexican nationals as an excuse to drink Margaritas and eat Mexican food, thus misrepresenting the Mexican Culture.

Mexican Cuisine6) They all eat tacos and burritos. Actually what people perceive as Mexican food in the U.S. is in reality Tex-Mex food. Although this type of food has elements of the traditional Mexican food, it is definitely not the same. According to a Serious Eats article (link) the origin of Tex-Mex fare dates back to the Texans of Spanish or Mexican heritage who lived in Texas. “Authentic Mexican Food” combines elements of Spanish cuisine and Mesoamerican cooking, and according to list amaze (see link), Authentic Mexican Cuisine ranks #3 amongst the finest cuisines in the world. (Only France and Italy rank higher.)

7) They don’t pay taxes and live “hidden in the shadows.” In 2013 according to the National Council of La Raza (link to article), Hispanic Households paid “almost $124 billion in federal taxes, including individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and excise taxes, and almost $67 billion in state and local taxes.” In fact, many economists have stated that the contributions of young Hispanics will keep the Social Security system strong.

Bottom line, get to know each Hispanic you meet as a unique diverse person and interact with them in a genuine and respectful manner.

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Please also Read: “Five Common Misconceptions About Gay People.”

“Five Misconceptions of Muslims in the USA.”

A guest blog – Five Misconceptions about Atheists.