Mexican Independence Day: The struggle continues

Día de la Independencia de México: La lucha continúa

There may not be the customary gritos during Mexican Independence Day held in Colorado and throughout the nation this year. Instead, there may be silent lagrimas falling onto mother earth during “El Grito de Dolores,” especially from families whose children are seeking asylum at the border as their chances of receiving permanent protection will dwindle. Other tears may be falling from long lines of undocumented workers who continue to wait in apprehension for a decision about pathways to citizenship promised by the Obama Administration. His recent policy decision to place immigration policy on the back burner until after November’s elections has caused uproar from activists and some unions who see this as betrayal.

Activists and supporters, who support rational and sensible comprehensive immigration policy rather than an unabashed approach that feeds the frenzy of the GOP, feel shunned by the Obama Administration who has decided that it would be premature to develop sustainable immigration policy at this time. What confuses Obama’s constituents is his refusal to use executive privilege to further a just cause such as comprehensive immigration policy—a policy that has divided the nation.

In a recent visit by Representative Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago who came to support Colorado Senator Mark Udall’s campaign, he suggested that Obama was ready to use his executive privilege in order to stop stalemating in Congress. Somewhere between Gutiérrez’ visits this summer and now, political dynamics in Congress have changed. At stake are the power differentials between the Democrats and the Republicans and the potential for losing or gaining political clout.

The current administration has been characterized as kowtowing to the GOP who has intimated that that they will further backslide on any previous tentative agreements made during the immigration debacle. Timing referenced in the President’s analysis is aimed at maintaining what is left of the edge the Democrats have in Congress, which without a doubt is a reasonable concern, but so are the many lives of undocumented workers living in desperation and fear. Service to the people seems to have fallen in status in the president’s hierarchy of who to serve first.

The fear of deportation has drenched the mantra of immigration as Operation Wetback a la moderna may be revived under some sort of rhetorical mishmash and may likely cause an increase in the number of undocumented workers that will be rounded up by Homeland Security and sent back to their mother countries.

During the latter part of the 1940’s and early 1950’s under the direction of Joseph Swing, Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization, Operation Wetback was initiated and approximately 800,00 undocumented Mexican workers were deported back to México— after they were scapegoated for the economic ills plaguing the nation. Incidentally many were American citizens. Historical paranoia has been whipped up again by the majority population exacerbating levels of imigraphobia to high levels. The number of deportations could increase significantly under the Obama Administration whose numbers according to most accounts reached 1.5 million during his first presidential term.

The Administration is banking on the value of forgiveness inherent in Mexican culture when verbal covenants (la palabra) are made, then broken. Forgiving and forgetting are two entirely different propositions. Confianza is at stake here. You can only forgive for so long. To forgive implies that complicity was involved in an action and that both parties are willing to render clemency. A violation at this point in the game may breed more discontent with Latinos.

This setback has reached gargantuan proportion and can be compared to struggles Mexicans, Chicanas/os and their indigenous ancestors have experienced in las Americas. They survived a 2-year Conquest at the hands of Europeans in the 15th Century, 300 years of Spanish colonization, a struggle with Anglo Americans over Texas, the Mexican American War and the Civil Rights and liberation struggles during the 1960’s—that researchers argue has lost ground. From a Chicana/o perspective, Mexican Independence Day reminds us that la vida es una lucha. The many setbacks we have encountered in the last 500 years and how we have always rebounded reinforce the tenacity and resiliency that constitutes La Raza.

When it comes to politics, the party trumps anything or any group that hinders its agenda to maintain power in Congress. It can be a reasonable assertion but like any other assertion it also has it limits; like keeping a promise. The Latino community has the political maturity to understand this; but we should also not sit back as powerless and uneducated pawns in a game called politics. Voting power is the big stick that the Latino community possesses — Latino /a leadership should not be afraid to use it nor should Latina/o politicians cower to idle threats.

Our struggle for over 500 years to obtain justice in this continent can no longer wait as los politicos haggle over power while people continue to suffer. Obama is not a savior just another politician trying to leave a positive legacy. The battles will continue; such has been our legacy.

¡Que Viva La Revolucion!

Dr. Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist.

©9-16-2014 Ramón Del Castillo

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