Friday, August 31, 2007

'White power' chanted during immigration discussion at school

You know we are having problems in our country when the debate turns ugly in the classroom. As Rodney King said, "Can´t we all just get along?"

BROOMFIELD – It started with a simple question and ended with at least one student chanting "white power" in a classroom.
It happened Tuesday in a classroom at Holy Family High School, the Catholic school that sits at the corner of 144th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Broomfield.


"On Tuesday in a Spanish-language class at Holy Family High School, a single handful of students used heated and inappropriate rhetoric in a discussion on immigration. In a class of approximately 30 students, fewer than six students voiced strong anti-immigration opinions. The remaining two-thirds of the class were silent or voiced support for immigrants. At the end of the discussion, one student inappropriately said "white power," two or three times. Most of the students in the class did not hear the comments. Contrary to media reports, there were no chants by more than one student. Two students, who were offended, asked to leave the classroom and were given permission to leave. However, the discussion ended when other students realized how these students were affected and all of the students remained until the end of class." "When the administration received a complaint regarding this discussion, interviews were conducted of the students in the classroom as well as the teacher. The student who acted inappropriately was disciplined and the situation has been addressed with the teacher." "The administration treated this situation as a teaching moment - an opportunity to reaffirm that respect and charity should be the foundation of every dialogue and encounter with another."

Operation Wetback All Over Again Part 2

This continues to happen. As I´ve often said, the mood of this country is changing into ANTI-Hispanic Citizen.

Texan is jailed as illegal immigrant - Star - Telegram
A native Texan spent the night in the Arlington Jail, missed her children's first day of school and feared being deported after authorities mistook her for an illegal immigrant.
Alicia Rodriguez, an accountant and mother of three, has the same name and date of birth as a woman deported to Mexico three times.
"I was told I was waiting for an [immigration] officer or Border Patrol officer to interview me and then move me to another location. It was very scary," the Mansfield woman said.

"I was told I was waiting for an [immigration] officer or Border Patrol officer to interview me and then move me to another location. It was very scary," the Mansfield woman said.
Arlington and federal immigration officials say they made a mistake and apologized.

Rodriguez said the whole experience was a nightmare.
"I feel like it's a political byproduct of the whole illegal immigration thing," she said, "not that illegal immigrants shouldn't be dealt with, but I'm a citizen."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why I Reference the Immigration Act of 1924

People often ask me why I reference the Immigration Act of 1924. I reference it because the provisions for this Act laid the groundwork for Immigration Quotas for Southern, Eastern Europeans and Asians while setting no limits for Latin American countries. The strongest supporters of this Act were eugenicists who advocated racial hygiene. (e.g. Madison Grant). He believed the Northern European race was vastly superior to other races. Additionally Corporations, their lobbyists and trade unions petitioned Congress for the passage of this bill. They believed their “race” was being mongrelized by the other groups and they also believed they could use the indigenous, docile workers from Latin America as their indentured servants, there to support all manual labor and work “Northern European Americans” wouldn´t do.

All the immigration issues the ANTIs talk about stem from this bill. Tan commented on my earlier blog, “We the People can set whatever immigration policy We deem fit. And We can change it to suit Our will any time We wish. Do you have any respect for American constitution, laws, or precedents?” My response is, yes. I have total respect for our American Constitution. I do understand that we can change Immigration Policy any time we want. I also understand history, root cause and we reap what we sow.

The Immigration Act of 1924, which included the National Origins Act, Asian Exclusion Act or the Johnson-Reed Act, was a United States federal law that limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890, according to the Census of 1890. It excluded immigration to the US of Asians. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s, as well as East Asians and Asian Indians, who were prohibited from immigrating entirely. It set no limits on immigration from Latin America.

The Act passed with strong congressional support in the wake of intense lobbying.
Some of the law's strongest supporters were influenced by Madison Grant and his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race. Grant was a eugenicist and an advocate of the racial hygiene theory. His data purported to show the superiority of the founding Northern European races. But most proponents of the law were rather concerned with upholding an ethnic status quo and avoiding competition with foreign workers.[2]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why the ANTIs are winning the Argument right now

As I´ve written so often, I believe in Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIS). Most PRO American citizens are strong believers in CIS. Secure Borders, Employer Sanctions and an earned path to citizenship for the 12M here is a logical approach to the Immigration issues we face today. For some reason, not enough of us post on blogs or get involved in the political arena although we do have an inclination for marches.

The ANTIs have a brilliant strategy for engaging the American public to their side and it is obvious they have friends in the media and especially on the AM Radio dial. Of course they started creating this strategy in the 1970´s when John Tanton first became involved with the Sierra Club and "raised concerns about the educatability of Hispanics."

The media enjoys the "Breaking News" opportunities. They enjoy railing the masses and getting them agitated. Reporting on Arellano is a Breaking News story. The "Mexico Senate takes up Migrant´s cause" is another Breaking News story. They also know that their ratings go up every time they show every crime committed by someone who may have lapsed papers over the last 20 years. They are not presenting the entire issue, just the one-sided snippets that help increase their ratings.

The American Citizen PROs need a champion to promote our "right and just" cause. We need someone who is just as visible and engaging to our side as Dobbs and Limbaugh are to the ANTI side.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ms. Arellano vs what the Majority of PROs believe

I vowed to myself not to post about Ms. Arellano, the fugitive who has been deported to MX, but now, based on some of the responses I am seeing on other websites, I have a need to respond.

I´m reading one of her supporter´s website: While this website appears to be more extreme than some I have seen, it is not representative of the view of majority of PROs.

Remember, all PROs and all ANTIs do not have the same agenda. It is obvious there are a small minority of PROs that support the “SomosUnPueblo” (SUP)agenda.

There is also a group of ANTIs who support the Nativist, Xenophobe, KKK view.

Based on my studies, I believe their numbers far outweigh the SUP supporters.

The majority of PRO supporters support:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
A. Secure Borders. Increased number of trained Border Patrol agents. Physical and virtual fencing using the latest technology.B. Employer Sanctions. Criminalization and Severe Penalties for abusive employers.C. Out of the Shadows: Bring the 12M out of the shadows through a registration, ID process for all head of households. Temporary Guest Worker status with return to country of origin to begin legal process. Sponsorship by employers as applicable.

Logic will prevail in this discussion and we do discuss this issue civilly on my blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Interesting Article on

Bill Fletcher wrote a very interesting article on

In part, here is what he says:
"Recognizing the racialization of immigration should help one understand that much of what we are witnessing is a scapegoating of Latinos for much larger forces and factors that are underway in US society. In previous commentaries I have written about this, most especially the restructuring of capitalism that has been underway and that immigrants are the victims rather than the source. I have also addressed immigration to the USA as a major result of US foreign policy that has destroyed the political and economic infrastructure of so many countries, e.g., El Salvador. The scapegoating that we are seeing, including the rise of violent militias and public demonstrations against immigrant day laborers, tends to focus on the Latino as if it is the Latino who is the source of all of our problems.

Were there to be a serious discussion of immigration in the USA, it would have to address why there is a differential in treatment between East European and Latino immigrants in the public mind and in reality. There would need to be a discussion as to who is and who is not threatening the jobs of non-immigrants--if anyone. There would need to be a discussion as to why nearly 200,000,000 people have been in the process of migrating to places outside of their homelands and what that says about contemporary capitalism.

Yet those who scapegoat the Latino want no such discussion. As long as the face of immigration-- documented and undocumented--is an 'evil' Latino we are absorbed in a madness out of which there is no escape and for which there are no answers."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Illegal Immigration significantly down in 2007, so why are the ANTIs saying otherwise?

Investors Business Daily is reporting Illegal Immigration is Down and Mexican Jobs Up. They are also saying the Border Patrol is reporting Illegal immigration apprehensions are down 38% from October '06 through June '07 because the rate of those coming over the border is down and so many illegal immigrants are leaving. Additionally, remittances are down to only.6% for the first half of 2007 (vs 23% the first half of 2006).

Yet the ANTI Blogs do not mention the improvements. Anyone following the Immigration issues knows and understands we are in the midst of an ebb in Immigration.

We are also in the midst of a severe Labor Shortage. Dianne Feinstein is saying the crops are rotting on the vines. It is time we put a viable guest worker program in place to care for our worker shortages.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Hear ye, hear ye. I am announcing a slight change of position and I ask all those interested in Immigration Reform to provide your position for these three items.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform - My position:
A. Secure Borders. Increased number of trained Border Patrol agents. Physical and virtual fencing using the latest technology.

B. Employer Sanctions. Criminalization and Severe Penalties for abusive employers.

C. Out of the Shadows: Bring the 12M out of the shadows through a registration, ID process for all head of households. Temporary Guest Worker status with return to country of origin to begin legal process. Sponsorship by employers as applicable.

The following are three top issues (I realize there are more, but let us deal with the top three which are not part of the Immigration Reform issue and should not be included in these immigration discussions.) I do not support any of them. However, you should clarify your recommendations so all Americans understand what it is you are proposing. There is far too much misunderstanding of these three ANTI recommendations, even by your own side:

1. Official English. Any proposals should be defined. The ANTI groups have a broad range of understanding. If Official English means all government documents should be printed in English only and all Oral government proceedings should be in English only, then say so and remove all other language so the American public does not misunderstand what you are trying to achieve. Then submit bill and put it up for a vote. If it passes, so be it. If not, let it go.

2. Changes to 14th Amendment - Birthright citizenship (Jus Soli): Clear language in your bill. Make sure all Americans understand this does not mean any retroactive change to those with current citizenship status including what many ANTIs term “Anchor Babies.” Make sure you all agree. Then submit the bill and put it up for a vote. If it passes, so be it. If not, let it go.

3. Moratorium on Immigration: If this is what you are recommending, write the bill clearly so all Americans understand it. Define number of years of moratorium you are recommending, from which countries, etc. Just be clear. Then submit bill and put it up for a vote. If it passes, so be it. If not, let it go.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chapter 1: My Quest to Understand Our Current Immigration Issues

In June, 2006, our country had just experienced the May Immigration marches and the cable channels were raging about illegal immigration. Pundits like Pat Buchanan were bloviating as the media played and replayed canned footage of illegal immigrants crossing the old Mexican Borders. This footage was from the 1970´s. It was obvious the footage was old since the border crossers were wearing their hair in mullets, clothed in flowered shirts and leisure suits.

As the media channels were raging, the anger of the red-faced ANTIs was bubbling to the surface.

I saw this.

I saw this on the various cable channels and I decided I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand what everyone was so angry about.

On June 5, 2006, I watched the Alma Awards. Stars like Eva Longorio and Jimmy Smits were distributing awards.They talked about the Immigration issues and vocalized a call for unity, for understanding.

I believed them.

During one of the Alma Awards commercial breaks, there was an ad for This organization requested people join their website.

They professed to be a “Foundation encouraging Mexicans and Americans to think together and take action to understand and solve the major problems” of Immigration we are facing today.

I decided to visit their site.

I viewed the site the same evening. I wanted to understand the issues. I wanted to help find a solution.

When I viewed the Discussion Board, I was in shock. There was a group of (what I would later term) ANTIs angrily overtaking every thread and every discussion on the board. I did not understand why they were so angry. I did not understand how they could overtake the whole website. Most of the ANTIs on the board were well-educated. They spewed their anger and attacked any member that did not agree with them. They ganged up and drove out every PRO member from the website.

The first night, I did not post. I just read.
The second night, I did not post. I just read.
Those first two night, I read all the posts and digested.

As a business woman, I researched and googled their references. I found most of the ANTI comments were subjective and were based primarily on opinions.

I debated with myself.

Should I join this site? I did want to learn more, but I decided if I did join this site, I would have to join the frey. I would have to stand up for my beliefs. I would have to conduct research. I could not be afraid. I would be in battles with some very angry, negative people. It would take over my free time. If I joined, I would need to be committed and join the battle. I could not be afraid.

I decided to join.

I joined the battle on June 7, 2006 as an active, participating member. I was not afraid. I decided to devote my personal time to the battle.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ANTI and PRO Agreement Number 2?

My ANTI friend Ultima has another suggestion. I think it is viable:

"amnesty should be granted under certain circumstances to a limited number of illegals rather than indulging in mass legalization. So let's call amnesty with conditions , the primary one being demonstrated need by employers who have made a good faith effort to hire citizens to no avail."

This has possibilities. How do we offer this as a potential solution? Do many ANTIs support this recommendation?

ANTI and PRO agree on Solution to Agriculture Sector Labor Shortage

My ANTI friend Ultima and I agree on something. We both agree we have a severe labor shortage in the Agricultural sector. Dianne Feinstein said “the looming crisis American agriculture will face this fall…crops will not be harvested.”

President Bush has said he is streamlining the Guest Worker program. Feinstein said his initiatives are but a band-aid.

My ANTI friend Ultima said; “To solve it there has to be a major recruiting effort wherever the workers live, a machine-readable, tamper-proof, photo ID with a thumb print and other biometric data. It must specify what kind of work the holder is allowed to do. Employers must provide safe passage across the border in both directions and a competitive wage.”

I am in 100% agreement with Ultima.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bush´s "Crackdown" Seems Ok... What am I missing?

I am curious about President Bush´s actual agenda with his new "Crackdown on Illegal Immigration" initiatives. His initiatives are five-fold:

1. Enhance Border Security: increase BPs, add Detention centers, ban gang members, reduce overstays, travelers require passports.
2. Stricter Interior Enforcement: state aid to ID illegals, apprehend fugitives, reduce delays in leaving.
3. Work-site Enforcement: increase fines, criminal employer probes, secure IDs
4. Streamline Guest Worker Program: simplify agricultural programs, eliminate delays for non ag guest workers, extend for professionals who enter from Canada and MX.
5. Improve Existing Immigration System: Background Checks for legals, no SS credit

The biggest change is number 4. The rest seem like appeasement to the ANTI activists. However, number 4 is a great idea. I am glad the ANTIs are not in an uproar over it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

ANTI´s Southern Fence Makes No Sense!

The 700 - 2000 mile border fence the ANTI´s are advocating just doesn´t make sense. An article in USAToday explains why:

Texans raising voices against border fence
By Marisa TreviƱo
When President Bush signed the
Secure Fence Act late last year, he probably thought it was a done deal. Yet, almost 10 months after the Department of Homeland Security was authorized to start enclosing U.S. territory, resistance to the fence is growing, especially in Texas — and with good reason.
If the 153-mile portion of the fence between Mexico and Texas were constructed today, students at the University of Texas-Brownsville might have to carry passports. Silly, you say? Well, part of the planned fence would slice through the campus, leaving a part of it on the Mexican side, according to a map provided by the U.S. Border Patrol at a recent community hearing. The fence would also put the Fort Brown landmark, the district office of Democratic Texas State Rep. Ryan Guillen and the bridge that links Brownsville to Matamoros, Mexico, on the Mexican side, University of Texas anthropology professor Antonio Zavaleta told officials.

For complete article:

Marisa Trevino, a fellow Dallas Blogger (Latina Lista), contributed this article to USAToday. Thank you Marisa. I love you blog!!

PRO Position vs ANTI Position

PRO Position:
1. Secure ALL Borders, Ports and Terminals. Trained Border Patrol Agents. Utilize Technology for Border Security vs Walls.
2. Employer Sanctions: Severely sanction employers, particularly those that exploit illegal immigrants and provide them false documentation. Stiffly fine them and on repeated offenses, put them out of business.
3. 12M here: Establish a path to earned citizenship, especially for those here +5 years. Bernanke has said they have helped the US avoid recession. Bring them out of the shadows and identify felonious criminals to be returned to country of origin.

ANTI Position:
1. Wall at Southern Border. (some advocate 700 mile to 2000 mile wall)
2. Employer Sanctions: If an employer is identified, follow due process of law.
3. 12M here: Deportation of all 12M (self deportation or Mass Deportation). Conduct massive sweeps (workplace and residential) to arrest and deport them. Hold them in Detention Centers pending removal. (privately owned prisons)
4. 14th Ammendment: Change birthright citizen amendment. No more “Anchor babies.”
5. Official English: Even though English is National Language, establish laws creating English as Official Language. (e.g. All Government business conducted in English, all official documentation printed in English, etc.)
6. Future Immigration: Limit future Immigration. Immigration should be controlled to allow immigration from countries that will advance the US. Stop the US from becoming a 3rd World Country. Miami is a 3rd World Country. So is Mexifornia (California) and Mexas (Texas.) We need to turn this around and return to a Mayberrian culture.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: PROs and ANTIs

Our country is divided on how to resolve our Immigration issues in our country. Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) is needed. Who is for CIR? PROs. Who is against CIR? ANTIs. What are their perspectives?

Pro Profile: There are many, many PRO groups. Each group has a different motivation and they rarely rally together. The largest group is Hispanic Americans. The ethnicities vary and include: Mexican, Central and South American, Cuban, Puerto Rican and more. The majority of PROs who post on the internet are from this group. Other Minority groups include Asian, Southern European, Middle Eastern, African. I only see their posts when I search the international sites. Other PRO groups who also rarely post include: Churches and Humanitarian groups, Businesses that prosper from sales to the 12M (e.g. Banks, Insurance Companies, Retail, etc.) Businesses experiencing Labor Shortages that hire the 12M (e.g. Farming, IT, Construction, Contractors, Retail, etc), Politicians with reasons to support the 12M (e.g. enhance Globalization, running for office, etc). And, of course, the illegal immigrants themselves. The majority of PROs who do post tend to have the following views: They advocate secure borders, sanctioning employers and comprehensive immigration reform (because the current program is broken). The biggest difference between the ANTIs and the PROs is, the PROs advocate a path to citizenship for the 12M, particularly since most of the 12M have worked and contributed to this country for +5 – 20 years.

ANTI Profile: American. The majority are Anglos. (Anglos = white, Northern European ethnicity). Viewpoint: The majority advocate Deportation (mass or self) of the illegal immigrants in this country. Anything short of Deportation is termed Amnesty by the ANTIs. Many call for a 2000 mile southern border fence. They advocate for restrictive Official English laws even though English is already the National Language. They advocate for changing the 14th ammendment and birthright citizenship, hoping to end, what they term "Anchor Babies." There are a few legal immigrants and minorities within their groups, but not many. There are a few politicians that support them, not many. There are hundreds of ANTI websites across the internet. There are hundreds of ANTI radio shows across the country. ANTIs tend to be very angry. They try their darndest to get African Americans to join forces with them citing their uncorroborated claim the 12M drag down the minimum wage. The ANTIs tend to forget the deep alliances between the two ethnic groups which were forged over the previous four decades when they marched together for civil rights. Some of the Worst Terms the ANTIs use: 3rd World Country, Mexifornia, return to American Values.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Operation Wetback All Over Again

I was doing my usual Immigration Blog search and I came across this article on another Blog. An American citizen of Hispanic descent was wrongly deported to Mexico.

"A U.S. citizen who had been in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department before he disappeared in May after being wrongly deported to Mexico was found this week and ordered released to his family.Pedro Guzman, 29, who is developmentally disabled, was taken into custody Sunday while trying to cross the border at Calexico, Mexico, said Michael Soller, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The ACLU has represented Guzman's family in its attempts to get the federal government to help find him."

I am outraged by this story. I have been predicting incidents like this would happen.

The blogger mentioned her mother is getting a passport. She is a Hispanic American citizen but lives in fear of being wrongly deported. We are repeating history. This happened in the 1950´s. This is Operation Wetback all over again.

¡que Viva La Raza!

Back in the 80´s I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper complaining that I was labeled Mexican American and people would not allow me to say “American” without asking, “Yes, but what are you?”

An African American gentleman replied to my letter and said, “Stop complaining about it. Rejoice in your ethnicity. There is something “cozy” about being part of a minority group.”

I took his comments to heart. From that point on, I did not bluster about the label. I knew I was American. In the nineties, I started writing down my family history. I completed the first draft of my book in 1998. I´ve added, edited, written and re-written my book several times. Now I am studying my Dad´s roots. I am connecting, relating and embracing my ancestors´history and our culture.

La Raza is our culture, our history, our blood, our sweat, our tears and every step we have taken to come to the point we have reached today. That is what Latin people mean when they say “Que Viva La Raza.” La Raza is all Latin people, not just Mexicans or Mexican Americans. I have heard these words spoken by George Lopez, Carlos Mencia, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Smits, Eva Longoria and more. They are of several Latin ethnicities, but all say the same words.

“¡que Viva La Raza!”

I understand this term and I agree with the true meaning.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

La Raza or Latino - Why the Camaraderie

I´ve been reading some ANTI blogs lately and they are way off base when it comes to the term “La Raza.” One popular ANTI blogger friend of mine says, “La Raza" (The Race) is a broad term which refers to those whose ancestry is indigenous to the area of Mexico (or "Aztlan"). MEChA members refer to themselves as "La Raza" or "Raza," but the term itself is used to indicate camaraderie among those in different organizations with the same objectives (meaning Aztlanists).”

It is very clear my ANTI friend doesn´t have a clue of what he is talking about.

First of all, the vast majority of Americans who are Latino in this country have no connection to the Aztlan philosophy. The majority of us are hard working Americans, just like everyone else. We work every day. We eat dinner with our family. We watch TV, read books, juggle our checkbooks and enjoy our time off. There are no more “La Raza Bogeymen” than there are "ANTI Bogeymen" in fact, far less.

Granted, there may be a very few small groups that publish unread newspapers or publications who publish their Aztlanist philosophies, but they have much smaller numbers than the ANTI hate groups such as the KKK, Skinheads, Aryan Nation, Militias or far-right Minutemen groups.

The ANTI friend talks of some unknown professors in some universities who may have mentioned some Aztlanish type theories. Yet they never discuss the extreme rhetoric, rallying and of some extreme ANTI professors like Kris Kobach who frequently speaks on the various cable channels. What about Pat Buchanan or his sister Bay? How about Ira Mehlman the spokersperson for F.A.I.R. and the actual person who started “You don´t speak for me” the infamous ANTI group supposedly comprised of Latinos who are ANTIs?

My friend is right in one regard. Latinos do relate to one another. Other cultures relate to one another as well. To name a few: Italians, Asians, African Americans. Of course we relate to one another. Many of us have a common heritage. We like the same food. We like the same music. Many of us have the same religion and faith in God. We are close to our families. Being of the same ethnic group, many of us have similar hair, allergies, attributes and heredity.

We relate to one another. What is so hard to understand? There is nothing wrong with this.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Why We Are In This Immigration Mess

When I was a little girl, I loved to listen to my Dad tell stories about his life´s adventures. He was such a big, strong, hard working man. We had ten children in our family and with our mom, our family made an even dozen. Dad worked three jobs to support us. He loved life. He was strong, handsome and very protective of all of his family.

He often told us that during the Depression, he was hired by the state of Michigan to bring up Mexican farm workers from Texas and Mexico to the Michigan farm fields. He also served as interpreter for the state and farm owners and protector of the migrant workers. In the 1940´s, he started working in the Auto factories and he worked as a house painter. He also kept his interpreter job, sometimes going to city or state offices to interpret for the workers.

As a little girl until I was twelve years old, every summer, we worked as migrant workers picking Cherries. Dad wanted to instill in us a good work ethic. We also had an opportunity to interact with the workers and understand their perspectives. They greatly appreciated the support my Dad provided.

Over the last few years, I have been writing a book about my family history. I´ve been conducting research for several years. This year, I have come across some significant findings which really (for lack of a better term) “blew my mind.”

The first mind-blower was finding out that my Dad did in fact work for and was contracted by the Governor´s office, but also for the Farm Bureaus. Documentation I found detailed how the Farm Bureaus were highly influenced (run) by the Sugar Beet Corporations. The reason these corporations were so interested in bringing Migrant workers up to Michigan was because they were trying to “break” the Farm Unions.

The farm unions were primarily comprised of Eastern and Southern European immigrant workers. The Corporations did not want to pay the wages or the benefits including tenant land ownership, the unions were demanding. They, instead, wanted the Mexican American and Mexican workers because, in their view, they were “hard working, easy to control, low pay and they left after each crop season.”

They were able to achieve their union busting goals by instituting this version of the Bracero program and by the exclusionary Immigration Act of 1924. The Corporation´s behaviors had been continuing through the twenties, thirties and forties, when my Dad came into the picture.
Finding this out, I was still proud of my Dad´s achievements, and of the workers´work ethic, but I was very disappointed in the employers and the government.

The second mind-blower was visiting the area where my great grandfather owned his ranch in SouthEast Texas. My dad often told us stories about his grandfather and how he received this grant and how it was later lost. There are several articles in the Handbook of Texas OnLine that details how American ranchers unscrupulously stole away the lands from the Texas American Citizens who were granted their property as American Citizens during the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

I visited this area last week only to find conditions the same. They are highly segregated in that area. Even the cemeteries are labeled as “White” and “Mexican” cemeteries. Not American, but White. I asked someone at the local gas station “Why?” He shrugged his shoulders and responded, “That´s the way it is and will always be I guess.”

I was flabbergasted.

It is no wonder we have the immigration issues we have today. History has brought us here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Mom and Peggy Lee

Every time I go visit my 92 year old mother and see how her health is deteriorating, I go through a full range of emotions. When I first saw her, lying in bed, it was shocking. She was thinner and her face was almost caste in stone, mouth open, nose flared, skin drawn back. Her body was curled up as she took occasional, non-rhythmic deep breaths. My brother was at her side, crying because she wasn´t eating. I rubbed her feet and she looked up and seemed to recognize me.

Over the next few days, she started eating again and sitting up. She even said a few words.

Yesterday, I sat singing her an old hymn she always sang to us as children. Remarkably, she started singing along with me. Tears flowed down my cheeks but I wasn´t crying. When I mentioned what happened to my sisters, they said this happens sometimes. Her condition ebbs and flows.

My sisters and brother don´t see how much she has deteriorated. I go down to S.A. once a month and each time, it is worse and worse.

Seeing mom this way overwhelms me. I start thinking of my own mortality after a few days. Are these the choices we have? Old age/ poor health or dying? That doesn´t seem like a good choice.

In the evenings, as my sisters, their children and I discussed mom´s condition and mortality, my nephew said, “I hope I die before that happens.” He wasn´t joking. Someone else said, “Let me die in my sleep.” “Eighty isn´t a bad age. I want to die then.” Soon all chimed in, they wanted to die younger and healthier than mom.

Old age is not for the faint of heart. Do any of us really want to get there knowing what happens? All of us boomers are going to face this soon. I think it is a pretty scary thought.

Peggy Lee sure had it right: Is That All There Is

Friday, August 3, 2007

Poverty and Strength

Mom was born in a small Texas border town in 1915. She was the eldest child. She had two younger sisters and a younger brother.

Mom´s family was very, very poor. During the depresssion, her father found occasional work as a migrant farm worker. For a short time he found work laying rails for the railroad.

On several occasions, they lived with her father´s mother. Great grandma lived to be 115 years old.

Mom´s mother worked all of her life. She often took in laundry and sewing. Grandma was quiet and demure, yet she was innovative in finding ways to help provide for their family. They had nowhere to live. They were truly migrant. In the early 1930´s, they had moved from relative to relative. This included in the backyards of relatives´ homes. They slept on dirt floors or on panels of wood. They had no indoor kitchen or bathroom. Grandma cooked outside in the yard on a wood fire. For a restroom, the children used the open fields.

When mom was 14, her family moved to San Antonio. Grandma found a job working in a sewing factory. Soon, the factory needed more help and she brought mom into the factory to work with her. Nights and weekends, they took in laundry and ironing. They worked from morning until night, every day. Mom helped her mother by delivering the laundry when her mother was finished.

The family saved their money and soon saved $35 and bought a small, one room shack. It was located behind a group of stores on west side San Antonio. This was their family´s first home. They decorated it neatly. Their family was happy to be living in the first home of their own.

Their family was hard working and always innovative in making something out of nothing. They believed in God and Family and they were always grateful for what they had. These were family traits passed on from generation to generation. Mom passed them along to her children and future generations.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Beautiful Mother and Serve the Man

My mom is 92 years old. She is very ill. I am visiting her this week.

I look at her and my heart breaks. When I was a teenager I always thought of her as a strong and vital woman.

Today, as I gaze at her laying so ill in her hospital bed, she looks as tiny as an eight year old child. My mother. My mama. I remember her words, "You must serve the man." I always rebelled at such thoughts. I wanted to be "That Girl." I didn´t want to serve the man.

I held her hand. She gazed at me, pure love in her eyes. "Beautiful. You are so beautiful." she whispered, words barely leaving her lips.

I wondered, "Who she was looking at?" I was the only one in the room and I was sleepless, no makeup and no hair in place.

"Mama. Mama. I love you." Is all I could respond. I stroked her hair and saw a shining light in her eyes.

Since her strokes last year, she has reverted to the mind of a small child, but she is still my beautiful Mama.

I kept thinking back to the days when she said, "Serve the man." I always took her words so literally. When I think about them now, I have to think there was so much more to her words.

When I think of her relationship with Dad, she was never subservient. Of course she cooked, tended house and cared for all of us children, but she and Dad were in love. They were always equal. Equal!!

My beautiful Mama, so strong all of her life, now laying here so fragile in her bed.

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