Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Elgin forum autopsy - report #3

Little Latin Lupe Lu
Bill Medley wrote it. The Righteous Brothers sang it in 1963. The song did very well. For some odd reason I thought of that song during the NPR Elgin forum on immigration. One of the panelists was Professor Guadalupe Luna. I frequently experience odd connections in data. There is no evidence to suggest that she was the subject of that song. She would have been too young at the time, and there are no accounts of her shaking, twisting, doing the wahtusi (although that does sound multicultural), or the mash potato. However, it will forever be a mnemonic device so I can remember her name.

Since the professor is new to the blog, a little background is in order. Guadalupe Luna teaches at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb Illinois. She specializes in property, immigration, tenant, landlord, voting and agricultural law. She got her law degree in Minnesota in 1985. At one time she practiced law in San Antonio Texas. She also worked for MALDEF. “MALDEF's mission is to foster sound public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 45 million Latinos living in the United States and to empower the Latino community to fully participate in our society.” ~ from their website

Luna’s published works include:
Immigrants, Cops and Slumlords in the Midwest

Land, Labor and Reparations

Kulturkampf Revelations, Racial Identities and Colonizing Structures

La Causa Chicana and Communicative Praxis

This Land Belongs To Me: Chicanas, Land Grant Adjudication, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

On the Complexities of Race: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Dred Scott v. Sandford

Agricultural Underdogs and International Agreements

Inter-State Accountability for Violations of Human Rights

NPR has done well choosing her to speak for the Chicanos (pardon me) Latinos.

The moderator asked her to comment about the contributions of immigrants to our society and here’s what Luna said: “I’d rather talk about the exploitation and the abuse of workers, but OK, I’ll go down this path for a minute. Politically, they bring in (pause) come on, they’re waking up union activities again. For example, in Los Angeles they’re stepping outside (pause) what did I say earlier? Let’s reframe the issues. They’re stepping outside traditional, old school, politics that govern unions for so many years, they’re revitalizing communities, they’re revitalizing urban environments (pause) not only urban environments (pause) let’s not forget rural environments, and in doing so they’re seeking actively to participate politically.

“I wanna say that the marches for example in the last year have been wonderful. And they’re highlighting for us which way they wanna go. I would like to see a little bit more of that activity to be honest with you.” (I love it when people use that phrase. Is everything else she’s told us a lie?)

Luna also commented about learning English and retaining Spanish: “Empirical reports after reports after reports. Anecdotal data after data after data (anecdotal data?) tells us that they want to learn English. The problem is that they have to resort to secondary measures (pause) you mentioned the Salvation Army was it? That’s wonderful (pause) and it’s unfortunate that they have to rely on these informal methods because we need to help them learn language (pause) or (pause) English. But I’m not saying that they shouldn’t retain their Spanish speaking skills. (Of course not.) I think that’s a valuable commodity to have in our globalized market. We are not going to be able to compete on a globalized level if we do not protect an individual’s First Amendment right to speak the language that they speak. Does that make sense?” (No. You lost me on that First Amendment part but I’m sure some judge somewhere agrees with you.)

When asked about the idea of establishing an age whereby illegal alien children would be given the same rights as anchor babies, Guadalupe told the group: “Well, I’m not partial to that type of law. I mean again, you know when you have a child coming here unfortunately immigration law does impugn to the child the actions of the parent. But children don’t have free will. They’re babies. They’re young. I remember back when I was practicing we found, or we didn’t find, the Border Patrol found, a seven year old and a five year old wandering alone in the desert, abandoned by the coyotes that were there. Once they’re here, to have them here they should be afforded the same station in their little lives as U S citizen babies are. American law protects our children as much as it can and they should also be afforded a measure of protection. They should not be tossed off to sea the way they’re being tossed. They should not be cast as political actors in a very complex, disruptive, fractionalized system. We need to reframe these immigration issues and allow a more rational basis for how we approach these issues. We need to reframe the language. Let’s do it that way.”

I was going to launch into an argument about how anchor babies are a magnet for future illegal aliens and how adding children to that group would be counter-productive. But all that will make no sense to someone who thinks they’ve found loopholes in the treaty that ended the Mexican war in 1848.

Gee, do you think Mitt Romney will be president when we give Utah back to Mexico? That would be sweet irony, wouldn’t it?

She also had something to say about sanctuary cities, and threw in a warning to Carpentersville to boot: “If we (pause) You know, it’s all reactive. This whole anti-immigration hysteria (Hysteria? Do you mean, American citizens finally pushing back?), it’s all a matter of reactions. I would like to see more of this type of town hall debate. Am I against sanctuary cities? Of course not, but we wouldn’t have had the need to have a sanctuary city if we hadn’t had this anti-immigrant hysteria that’s dominating the discourse today. (Check your timeline, Lupe. Sanctuary cities go way back. 1979 in LA. 1987 in Chicago.)

“Let me give you a heads-up though, that the anti-immigrant ordinances, they’re just one strand of about 500 measures that have been tried in local communities. And the local communities are now having to defend themselves. I understand that the Hazleton community now is facing a two million dollar attorney fees request for the prosecution and defense of that particular ordinance.

“So, unless your local community has a lot of money to spend on frivolous lawsuits of that type, I think they need to go in a different direction. We need an enlightened approach to immigration policy and law.” (I think she means amnesty and open borders. Would that be enlightening enough?)

I’m sorry for the lengthy blog but she had a great deal to say.

At another time I’ll go over her view of the rights of illegals, and what it means to us today.

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