Friday, April 14, 2006

answer to Matt's q

Matt asked a question about a republican pol on Press the Meat last week who said something about a majority of Hispanics supporting the House approach to immigration.

So I did some digging, and here's what I found:

Last weekend Rep. JD Hayworth (R-AZ) was on the show, and he said:
As I write in my book, let’s take a look back to 2004. Proposition 200 on the ballot in Arizona, to deprive illegals of social benefits, and it passed overwhelmingly. And as the Arizona Daily Star reported, it passed with a majority of Hispanic votes as well. The fact is, Hispanics voted in greater numbers for Proposition 200 than they did for President Bush, who received 43 percent of the Hispanic vote in Arizona.

So it looks like it was actually an Arizona state bill, not the federal one, that he was talking about. Now, the next question from here is "what did the proposition say?"
From Wikipedia:
Proposition 200, an Arizona state referendum passed in November 2004 with 56% of the vote, requires individuals to produce proof of citizenship before they may register to vote or apply for public benefits in Arizona. The proposition also makes it a misdemeanor for public officials to fail to report persons unable to produce documentation of citizenship who apply for these benefits, and allows citizens who believe that public officials have given undocumented persons benefits to sue for remedies.

So the prop was harsh and racist in my opinion, but nowhere near making crossing the border illegally or helping anyone who did a felony, like the House bill. There's also something to be said for the fact that 43% of Latinos in AZ voted for W in 2004, so it sounds like AZ Latinos are pretty conservative, anyway. There are a ton of people, Hispanic and otherwise, who would support denying welfare to illegals but not shoving them through the highly expensive judicial system or throwing them in prison.

I was bothered by something when I read this, though, namely that Hayworth had said the bill passed "overwhelmingly," but here it says it garnered 56% of the vote, which is admittedly strong, but "overwhelmingly?" Not so much. So I decided to check and see just how many Latinos voted for it.

Apparently Rep. Hayworth didn't get his degree in math, unless there's a new school that says 47% is a majority.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

this is a very tricky line to walk. have you ever heard the theory of immigration that says the last ones over are the first to protest? so, some of the strongest opponents to irish that came over at the turn of the century were the italians who had just come before them. (if i have my groups messed up, let me know, but i think you get the point.)

this becomes increasingly strenuous for hispanics who are trying to assimilate themselves into american culture. the more illegals there are, the more likely someone who is an american citizen is going to be mistaken for an illegal. and i don't mean just by police, this is true at the grocery store, the doctor's office, everywhere. over the christmas holidays my father and i were called "beaners" at o'bar (on slide, i haven't gone back).

illegals also promote various stereotypes. for instance, anyone who knows me knows i don't speak spanish. yet, because of my skin it's assumed that i should. (i even think i was once offered a job because they thought i spoke spanish! they never asked and i never told.) i don't know of another group that this is assumed of.

the other side of this is that many mexican-americans believe immigrants should be helped. part of my family is from sierra blanca, a tiny town south of el paso and very near the border. i've learned that my great-grandmother would allow people sneaking across the border to hide in the garage during the day and then give them wrapped burritos to help them when they left. and if you followed the recent protests in california, it was the spanish-speaking community on the streets, not only illegals.

so, my point on all this is that i don't think there's a unified hispanic vote either way. i would love to see the percentages of hispanics who voted for prop 200 as compared with the white arizonians. just looking at the numbers given, let's assume that 47% hispanics and 56% whites voted for it. that's not really a big difference. it shows that the hispanic community was just as split as the rest of the state.

while hispanics are supposed to be the "sleeping giant" (which cracks me up. how the hell did people not notice there were a lot of us here until the last 10 years!) it is a diverse community with many focuses and opinions. anyone who claims to speak for all hispanics is full of shit.

on that note, if you get a chance check out "a day without a mexican". i loved it and it does a much better job of making these points (and many others) than i just did.