Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Opinion: Not all Hispanics believe in the same immigration "reform"

Hispanics are as diverse in opinion as they are in background, race, language, and culture.
By Justin Vélez-Hagan (as it appeared on Fox Latino)

These Hispanics see security as the major concern. Maintaining information on who enters and remains in our country, knowing whether they have a criminal history, being cognizant of potential terroristic or gang affiliations or harmful, infectious diseases that people may be carrying are all examples of vital data that is essential to maintaining our national security, our health, and our overall well-being.

Everyone, however, is sympathetic to the plight of the desperate, low-wage farmworker, for example, who cannot afford to wait five to 15 years to enter the country legally and therefore opts to risk his or her life to enter the land of opportunity. 

God bless those souls who choose patience, but extensive waiting periods discourage legal immigration, and seem to result from an excessively bureaucratic system.

Aside from accepting other countries’ “tired [and] poor” all agree that continuing to attract the best and the brightest, as well as those who innovate, research, and create businesses and jobs will maintain America’s exceptional position in the world. Proposed legislation to do so has been recently submitted, and widely supported, by members of Congress from both sides of the aisle -- only to be tabled for unexplained reasons.

Whatever results from the debate, we all know that complete amnesty is just as impossible as resolute deportation, security will be just as important as remaining open to great immigrant minds, and race will be baited as often as assumptions will be made.

But what cannot be forgotten is that no single group or person speaks for all Hispanics, or all Americans. Those politicians, administrative officials, organization heads, and other leaders who lump an ethnicity into a singular ideology are going to find themselves discriminating against the only monolithic voice that exists in the United States: believers in the American quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Justin Vélez-Hagan is the National Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, Publisher of, and an international developer of senior living facilities. He can be reached at

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