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Activist Juan Gonzalez: US could fix its immigration problem

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Juan Gonzalez, a journalist for the New York Daily News and a Latino activist, speaks Oct. 20 at Hale Hall as part of a series for the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Credit: Lee McClory / Design editor

The United States might be the cause and the solution for Latin American immigration issues, one activist said.

That’s the argument Juan Gonzalez, a reporter and a columnist for the New York Daily News and an activist for Latino rights, made on Monday to about 30 students and faculty in Hale Hall as part of a series for the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

Gonzalez, who has written two books on immigration policy and underprivileged groups, “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America” and “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media,” argued not only had the U.S. started the immigration problem, but could also be the solution.

Gonzalez said there has been a long history of problems with immigration in America, and there rarely is a period in U.S. history without a group marginalized in some way. Groups as diverse as Irish, Chinese, Germans, Africans and Latin Americans have been discriminated against with immigration laws and forced labor, he said.

“It wasn’t right, but it was the law. The single lesson we should draw from these policies is that what is right and what is law are different,” Gonzalez said.

But the real problem, Gonzalez said, was money. The main reason so many people from Latin America want to come to the United States is because the U.S. has money and jobs, but if there was a way to get money and jobs to these countries, he argued, there wouldn’t be an immigration crisis.

“The U.S. could in one way be more flexible in terms of trade policies, so that Mexico or another country feels a need to protect certain industries and to protect employment,” Gonzalez said. “Because generally speaking, local industry pays its workers better, and usually has better situations, than a lot of the workers who work in the maquilas (factories) where most of the foreign capital is.”

Some students said they found this part of his talk the most interesting, even looking at it from two different perspectives.

Ian Cheatwood, a second-year in computer science and engineering, said he thought the most interesting part was how the U.S. makes money from Mexico, but doesn’t actually pay Mexican workers very much.

“The way he framed it was interesting, I’m a computer science major, so I like to think of things logically, and that just doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

However, Cheatwood disagreed with part of what Gonzalez said about U.S. companies making a lot of money off cheap labor in Mexico, pointing out that China makes the largest amount of money from making American products.

Maria Prasek, a second-year in international studies and public affairs, said she also found the economic argument compelling, but for a different reason.

“It’s a different approach of the issue,” she said. “It’s a trade issue and wage issue in Mexico. I’ve had a couple classes talk about immigration as an issue, but this is a new solution.”

While Gonzalez is only one scholar in a wide diversity of scholars, Lilia Fernández, associate professor in the Department of History and a faculty affiliate on Latino/a Studies, said many of the arguments different scholars make resonate with each other, even if the focus or the interpretation differs slightly. These scholars come to similar conclusions, she said.

“For the most part, his analysis is very accurate in terms of immigration policy,” Fernandez, who helped organize the event, said.

But the main immigration reform Gonzalez pushed for in his speech was economic reform.

“As long as the wealth gap continues between the West, and North and South, the immigrants will still come,” Gonzalez said.

One comment

  1. I don’t think the majority of people comprehend that if President Obama manages to pass an executive policy that every criminal foreigner who smuggled themselves, their family, and their children across our flimsy border will be another gigantic cost and adding to the 7 trillion dollars this administration has spent in grants and giveaways. Nor that every day Immigration and customs are hoodwinked at US air terminals, when undetectable pregnant women smuggle fetuses/babies into our country with specific intentions of making the taxpayer cover the prenatal costs in hospitals. It’s even apparently worse since Obama came into power, because he fully intended to crap on the US Constitution, our sovereignty and the rule of law. His next move–is first relaxing immigration laws to issue 34 million working ID permits, for nationals already here, and to open our borders a little wider.

    Breitbart was first to report this outrageous breaking news, yesterday. That the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is quietly preparing the capacity to issue more than double its baseline number of green cards and employment permits, a USCIS spokesman said such preparation is routine and that a spike in immigration applications could arise “for any number of reasons.”

    President Obama has already given a ‘reason’ promising some form of AMNESTY.

    “Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice for all USCIS contracts and allow the Agency to be prepared for fluctuations in the number of immigration applications received, which can arise for any number of reasons,” Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for USCIS said in a statement.
    At issue is a solicitation for materials to print as many as 34,000,000 ids over five years. The request for proposals says vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” of five million ids in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

    AFTER ALL THE LIES GENERATED FROM THIS WHITE HOUSE; AS THE STILL NOT COMPLETELY RESOLVED BENGHAZI MASSACRE, THE IRS SPYING AND INTENTIONALLY HOLDING BACK CONSERVATIVE AND TEA PARTY APPLICATIONS TILL AFTER OBAMAS ELECTION. THE STONEWALLING OF EX US ATTORNEY ERIC HOLDER OVER THE SMUGGLING OF WEAPONS INTO MEXICO; THE EPA ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY USING ITS MASSIVE POWER TO FAVOR THE ENVIROMENTAL ZEALOT CRAZIES TO COMPLETELY ERADICATE COAL, NATURAL GAS AND OIL, SO WE STAY DEPENDANT ON COUNTRIES THAT HATE OUR GUTS. SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS PRESIDENCY ALL I HAVE NOTICED IS GIVING AWAY FREEBIES. AMERICA IS BEGINNING TO BE A FACILIMILE OF SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. EXCEPT NOTHING IS FREE AND IT ALL BECOMES A GIANT WEIGHT ON ALL TAXPAYERS?

    The whole idea of the Liberal progressives is to make us dependant on government, just like Stalin did in the Soviet Union.

    Since taking office, Obama has been waging war on the American people. His “transformational” approach has been staggering. It is evil and it is catastrophic.

    How much longer can we stand his waging wars on our military, wars on our borders, wars on our civil rights, war on our schools, war on our allies and wars on our guns and wars on our abundant coal, gas and oil?

    Friend, this is all coming from the Obama White House. They are like a cult—fanatical about their doctrines. Think about how they have pushed and pushed for open borders—even though it has caused America great harm.

    You know there is something I’ve heard time and again:

    Why can’t our military do something about this?

    Remember folks, he already took out the highest ranking generals in our military—the very ones who would stand up to him and say no. All that is left in high command are those puppets that he replaced them with.

    Now he has sent our troops into West Africa where they will be like sponges soaking up the Ebola virus. Retired generals are blasting him for his decision.

    Acting generals, even if they don’t agree, can’t say squat or they get fired.

    Clearly he wants to continue to decimate our military. Currently Obama’s radical open border agenda is going to kill us all. First illegal aliens and criminals and now Ebola, human biological weapons and ISIS terrorists are flowing through. It has all been part of his master plan.

    The upcoming midterm elections are life or death. If Conservatives win, we take back the Senate and end this insanity—get rid of Obama, the cancer in the White House.

    If we win this thing in 30 days, the Republican Party will get exactly what they need: the power to stop Obama’s agenda and oust him. The growing numbers of every delusional American in the National TEA PARTY; comprising of every American; black, white, brown, old and young, every religion, every creed and original nationality. They will see to it.

    The election is getting very near. That is all. This election is our nation’s salvation. It is up to us—you and me, America’s real Patriots—to help win it.

    WE NEED TO PLACE OUR OWN PEOPLE IN JOBS AS A PRIORITY, NOT KEEP IMPORTING FOREIGNERS. Thousands of American workers should not be laid off, to give their jobs to cheap labor. Large corporations and big business are laying-off birthright, naturalized citizens and green card holders, making an avenue for lower paid illegal aliens. I personally have become an Independent after decades as a registered Democrat, because I see our direction to a NANNY society is wrong. Spending taxpayer’s money on people who prefer to stand on street corners, take drugs or sit glued to a television all day.

    RED FLAG WARNING: BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS, AMERICANS MUST BE VIGILENT FOR NON_CITIZENS USING OUR LAX ELECTION PROCESS TO GAIN ADVANTAGE.
    The Left have no sense of honor, to stop illegal aliens from voting or people voting in two/three different precincts or other counties and even violating the law with absentee ballots. AT least Texas can demand some form of Voter ID, instead of non-citizens out to compromise the election. Individuals, who want something for nothing, will be in election halls in droves and voting for Socialistic Obama Congressional House. I am sure that ACORN, who violated the law in registering anybody for a dollar or two, is back under another group of names. But this is the number for the central switchboard for every member of Congress to address your opposition at 800-224-3121. As an addition you can contact a Senator or Congressman by typing the abbreviation (Sen) or (Rep) name into any Search Engine such as Yahoo. For more details go NumbersUSA and the spreading numbers of NATIONAL TEA PARTY branches.

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