Guest Commentary: March for all immigrants’ rights
The United States was built by a coalition of immigrants – legal, illegal and forced. During times of prosperity, we have welcomed immigrants with open arms only to use them as scapegoats when the economy faltered. Throughout history, our government succumbed to public whim and manipulated immigration laws to turn the dreams of many into the reality of a few.
The National May 1 Movement for Worker and Immigrant Rights is for every exile, refugee, pilgrim and migrant who came to America as a free man to reside in a free country. This is not a march for illegal immigrants; this is a march for all immigrants – past, present and future.
In the last couple of years, Latin Americans have dominated these marches, but this is not only a Latin-American issue. Houston is a mecca for a broad array of immigrant groups, and we as UH students are privileged to attend a school that reflects this fact. According to the UH Web site, our school is 36 percent white, 23 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 19 percent black and 18 percent Hispanic.
Even though Houston’s population of immigrants is as diverse as our school, all immigrants share a defining trait. The majority of immigrants leave a hostile world behind only to face uncertainty ahead. Whether they come from Vietnam or El Salvador, their exodus to America is no less honorable just because they are barefoot, earthy and unschooled. The different immigrant enclaves in Houston must awaken to their own strengths if comprehensive immigration reform is to be achieved.
Many immigrants to this country have been forced to live in the shadows. They have been weary of wandering too far into the "mainstream." After looking at the blog comments on Chron.com pertaining to any immigration issue, I can see why recent immigrants would be hard-pressed to speak out on their own behalf. Any community that speaks out will surely face a backlash like the one that has resulted against the Hispanic community.
So-called mainstream America no longer has the power or will to halt immigration or even accurately count it. May 1 is the day the people without numbers will be counted.
Ruiz, vice president of LULAC at UH, can be reached via [email protected]