Come November, the stakes are extremely high for Mexican Americans, Mexicans, and South Americans. Several issues come readily to mind.
The right-wing supporters of Mr. Bush are attempting to disrupt the ties between the ecology movement and the defenders of immigrant rights. Molly Ivins, a popular columnist from the state of Texas, speaks to the efforts of right-wing anti-immigrant groups with ties to racist groupings in their attacks against Mexicans and South Americans who they say are causing great harm to the desert landscape of the Arizona and California deserts by polluting the deserts with tons of “trash”!
Ivins counters by saying, “I see lots of Mexicans, some maybe illegal, gardening in this country, but I don’t know of many who run power plants that spew tons of mercury into the air. You hardly see an illegal on a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park. Illegals are seldom in charge of timber companies that want to clear-cut the national forests. It’s not often that illegals run chemical plants that dump toxins into rivers and wetlands. It’s rare to find an illegal Mexican in the Bush administration deciding to end the Superfund cleanup program or to lower air and water quality standards.”
Another issue is the continued addition of Border Patrol officers, ostensibly to guard against possible terrorists, though they cannot point to one terrorist arrested in decades of border crossings by way of Mexico.
Here in Arizona, and I assume elsewhere, some legislators are trying to restrict the voting power of Mexican Americans by demanding they present two certified identity documents such as a birth certificate, passport, or driver’s license when they go to the polls to vote – in other words, voter registration by itself is not sufficient to vote! The proposal died on the grapevine; nonetheless it’s a serious demonstration of what the right-wing Republicans are up to.
Then a number of states have English-only legislation on their books. This legislation is often referred to as “English-immersion.” Add to this list cutbacks to the education of our children.
Looking at all these issues, you begin to see one face of the overall attacks against the working people and the poor among us. The issue of immigration is being used to bolster the ultra-right’s attack on all of us, across the nation. Let our response be: Defeat Bush in 2004!
Lorenzo Torrez is chair of the Communist Party of Arizona. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.