Latino Americans or sometimes referred to as Hispanic are American citizens who originated from Hispanic nations of Latin America. Generally, all persons who identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic are considered Latino Americans. When the term Latino is mentioned in the United States of America, the bell that rings in the ear of every American is immigration, possibly due to intensive media publicity. Moreover, the hosts (presumed Americans with European origin) have mixed attitudes towards immigrants. Some feel that the immigrants should not stay in America while others feel that like others they have a right to stay in America. This has become a major political agenda among various politicians in the US including the aspirants of the next presidential race (Chavez 342). However, in the past the politicians have not been so friendly to this group of people and gave them various ethnic labels apart from denying them equal opportunities in the American economy and society. The following document is an essay that discusses on issues affecting the Latino people such as, immigration, education, and ethnic labeling.
The immigration of latinos
One of the key issues affecting the Latino people is immigration (Siems 63). The issue of immigration of the Latino encompasses politics, prevention mechanisms used from baring their entry and challenges faced once settled in the US. These citizens from the Latin American region immigrated into the United States because of the prevailing poor economic, social and security situations back at their homeland (Chavez 253). The issue of immigration has been politicized in America. The politicians over the years have been torn apart with some being pro Latino immigration while other politicians are against the immigration. Thus, Politicians have taken a different stand on the issue of immigration. Though, the Latino is a minority in the US, politicians feel that they play a vital role in success of a political party in a given region. Thus, the group supporting the immigration of the Latinos is seeking political support from the Latino group. The immigration of the Latinos is also the political weapon that the republicans are using against president Barrack Obama’s government. Statistics show that Barack Obama’s administration in the first term of five years has deported many Latinos compared to the two terms of Bush while in office.
Meanwhile, President Obama too challenges the Republicans to do something about reforming the legislation concerning the immigrants. As Obama puts it, the Republican are busy blaming him and putting more pressure on him to deal with the issue of Latino immigration, yet they are the ones who have the majority in the congress thus have the ability to promote reforms in the legislation pertaining the immigration of the Latino. Thus, he is only an administrative tool that cannot go beyond the set legislation. Siems (46) holds that conservative politicians have also made negative publicity about the immigrants making their supporters feel unsecure with the presence of the immigrants especially those from Mexico who are believed to be engaged in drug pedaling and other criminological activities. The Latinos are identified with their strong interest in their culture, language and religion. Thus, they are easily identified. This has led to their segregation and denial of equal opportunities as other Americans. The politicians do not have truly honest intentions of allowing immigrants into US territory. They consider immigration as a felony. Though, others believe that it is not worth to shoot and kill the immigrant because it is inhumane.
Mendieta (76) argues that politicians standing against immigration have proposed to adopt of policies that bar the immigrants from entering into the United States territory. They have proposed the construction of electrified fences and offered to double the walls on the borders to stop the Latino from entering the US territory. For instance, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann suggested that double wall should be built along the Mexican border to stop the Mexicans from entering into American territory while Herman Cain suggested killing those crossing the borders to America through electrified fences. Though, the idea of electric fence has been criticized and considered as an insensitive misunderstanding of immigrant issues.
The media have created a belief/ stereotype in America that immigrants come from dangerous environments full of insecurity, crime, violence and drugs, especially those from Mexico. Subsequently, they are likely to commit more crimes and take part in drug pedaling. Thus, the government took the precaution through evaluation and documentation of the immigrants. In the 1970s, the federal government allowed settlement of the undocumented immigrants into America (Mendieta 78). However, the documentation of the immigrants has been extremely difficult in America recently because of the increased numbers of immigrants. In the recent years, the American legislation has been barring the influx of undocumented foreigners into its soil while those immigrants without documents are deported for security reasons. There is also legislation in the American system that demands deportation of the immigrants if they exhibit criminal behavior after documentation. This is evident when most immigrants who commit crimes like using drugs or breaking traffic rules are being deported. Unfortunately, most affected ones in this population are the Latinos who make the largest numbers of immigrants in the US. However, majority of Latinos criticize the federal government for inconsiderably deporting college and high school children who have not committed crimes. Latino people feel that the question of immigration is prejudice and racial. They also believe that immigration is the reason to why most Latinos have poor economic conditions. The immigration legislation is also formulated to prevent loss of American culture, which comes with immigration.
The lack of support from American system of legislation and lack of political goodwill have branded the Latinos as the aliens. Like the politicians, the rest of the American society has developed negative attitudes towards the Latinos. Other politicians feel that they don’t deserve a right to live while others think they are leaches who came to snap their opportunities and jobs. Thus, their new employers are taking advantage of the poor level of education to offer them temporary low paying jobs without any benefits. Therefore, the immigrants have low income and savings per year, which makes them unable to afford proper housing and settle poor inner-city hoods, medication or quality food. This makes them live a life of poverty because they fail to meet the minimal standards of income set for poor people in the US. The report of the bureau of statistics shows that 12.75 million Latinos live lives below the poverty line as a greater percentage of this population are unemployed.
The effect of the Latinos on education
The children born to Latino immigrants have been having trouble at school due to the language used in most schools in America (Romero 122). The children were born speaking their mother-tongue either Spanish, Portuguese or French. However, the educational system offers the syllabus in American-English, which makes it difficult for the Latino children to participate well in classes. Moreover, most of the Latino parents do not know how to read and write the American-English. Thus, they cannot help their children with their homework and class assignments. Thus, lack of parental support in children education contributes to the poor performance of their children in school. Moreover, the Latino parents have low levels of education and lack appropriate documents makes the Latino parents unable to get full-time well-paying jobs, which might also give them benefit consequently increasing their family income. Thus, they cannot afford quality education for their children. As a result, they will take their children to cheap crowded public schools, which offer lower levels of education (Romero 56). When children are taken to such schools that they do not want to be part of, they develop low self-esteem, which is not favorable for good performance at schools. Moreover, some of these children tend to drop out of school and join gangs, which might result to criminal activities eventually imprisonment if they are American-born or deportation if undocumented. Though, it should be noted that not all Latinos drop out of school or have poor performance, school drop outs or are criminals.
The deportation of a family member of an immigrant family comes with challenges like changing of family structures apart from reducing family levels of income. When a partner is deported, he or she may leave the other in the US to take care of the family. For instance, in a normal family setting when a father commits a crime and is deported, the mother is left in America as a single mother with the rest of the responsibility laying on him/her. This challenges the family upkeep as the partner and makes family lack help of the deported family member. Thus, immigration interferes with the family set up among the Latino since parents are broken off from their and children from their parents. Thus, immigration and deportation change the basic structure of Latino families from the nuclear family with mother father and children to single parenthood families or blended families if the partners may choose to remarry. The government is yet to come up with a solution to this problem since the option of it offered of deporting the entire family to ease the pressure imposed on the remaining parent has been criticized. Since, the Latino immigrants believe that deporting innocent people like children and partners who did not commit crime is extremely unfair since innocent high school and college children are also deported.
The ethnic labels
Like any other group in the world, the Latinos too have their ethnic labels. Though, their case is different since it is almost becoming an ethnic crisis due to different sub ethnic groups and countries of origin (Saenz and Murga 178). Labels are names that are used to identify the people of a group who share a common feature, factor and at times origin. Labels help individuals to fit into a diverse culture in any society. However, there is a heated debate about labels to be used to refer to the Latino people. Though the Latinos have many issues they cannot accept the label ‘Americans’. This is because over decades the American society has been treating them as foreigners.
The media too have played a crucial role in labeling the Latino. Since the 1990s, media has promoted campaigns supporting the use of Latino ethnonym to describe to the immigrants from Latin American regions. The media have been on the forefront on creating and disseminating possible images, messages and names or label that could be used to refer to the immigrants from Latin American countries. These created messages portrayed the Latino as non-Americans. Thus, they are a different foreign group habiting in American society even if they were American born. Though, there are other ethnonyms proposed to refer to this group of immigrants. The Latino people have consistently refused to be referred to as American because of racial remarks towards them and fear to lose their cultural identity (Saenz and Murga 78). Thus, they are a cultural group that can only accommodate other culture, but it cannot be assimilated.
The possible labels to be given to this group can either be the pan-ethnic labels, hyphenated American labels and self-named labels. The pan ethnic labels are labels that are acquired by a group of people from a particular region after experiencing some segregation, for instance,people from Latin American region who immigrated to America and are facing racial segregation may opt to use labels like Hispanic, Spanish, Latino or Hispano (Mendieta 78). In the past few years, the American society has been unable to accept the Latino immigrants into the territory with leading politicians like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann feeling that the pregnant foreigners come to ‘anchor’ babies in America. Thus, they are leaches that deplete American resources. Apart from the creating of negative attitudes towards the Latinos, the inconsiderable politicians have gone to greater heights of calling the Latino names and various labels that give them even much more negative publicity (Siems 87). This treatment and segregation of the Latino makes them avoid associating themselves with the Label American. Thus, the concept in the minds of the public and Latino is that they are aliens and foreigners. Therefore, the Latinos are label foreigners and under no circumstance will they accept to be Americans. Such attitudes extended towards the Latino people make them feel that they are not Americans.
Oboler (102) argues that the hyphenated American labels are acquired due to people’s relation to a particular national origin. This group of people may agree to be referred using pan-ethnic label. However, disagreements amongst themselves arise when they are referred national labels of other members of the pan-ethnic group, which they do not belong to. For example, a Latin American from Cuba habiting in America will not accept to be referred to as a Nuyorican or Chicano. Instead, he/she will prefer to be called Cuban-American. Though, the immigrants using hyphenated American labels closely agree accommodation into the American culture and society, unlike the pan-ethnic labels. They cut the association from other members of the Latin-American countries and identify themselves with the American society. These labels also show national cohesion of people from a specific country in the Latin American region (Saenz and Murga 67).
The national labeled immigrants
The most difficult group that cannot tolerate association with the American society is the national labeled immigrant. They stay in the United States but are unwilling to associate themselves with the American community or nationality (Oboler 182). However, like the hyphenated Americans, they cannot accept to be referred to labels of other countries from the American region, though, they want to be referred to their national name. They want to be associated with the national from their nations of origin alone, and they heavily detest relation to America. They refer to themselves as Mexicans or Cubans while they still habit in America.
Latinos/Hispanic / Cuban or Mexicans are like the rest of the human race. They deserve to enjoy their rights and freedoms in the society. Whether they are from poor, criminal minded families or the opposite, these immigrants deserve decent and human treatment. The government should protect these minor groups with the same passion extended to the rest of the nation. Politicians and media should pursue their divine role rather than condemning an entire human race. It once happened in German where six million Semites lost their live and many other suffered. Racism is not a good idea for modern American society. United States of America has to show the rest of the world its ability to protect humanity.