We Should Support Ricky Martin’s Call to Arms Among Latinos

by Alan Eggleston

On August 26, 2015, singer Ricky Martin wrote an op-ed piece on Fusion calling on all Latinos to unite against Donald Trump for his attack on the Latino community. It’s important for a couple of reasons.

Did you know that anyone born in Puerto Rico, like Ricky Martin, is a U.S. citizen?

First, Martin is the voice of a person of high standing in both the Latino community and in the rest America who is taking a stand.

Second, it is someone from the Latino community voicing what most Latinos, Hispanics, Mexicans, Chicanos, and many other immigrant communities are very likely feeling, giving voice to an otherwise silent but likely frustrated group. It’s time they finally raised their voices, and Martin is stirring their souls.

Donald Trump and other Republicans have been using immigrants as a political piñata for a long time. They raise immigration reform as an issue but never do anything about it. They rail against the abuse of the system by immigrants, but never actually try to reform the system. Those left feeling the brunt of the complaints are the immigrants — all immigrants, documented and undocumented. It has been a prolonged and sustained assault for purely political purposes.

Now Trump is rising in the polls as we head into the presidential primary season mostly on the volume of his anti-immigrant rhetoric, stirring up resentment and hatred among his base. Some of his fans are even taking action against people they assume are undocumented immigrants based on that soaring rhetoric.

So it is good that Ricky Martin has stepped up to say something, to engage the Latino community to defend themselves, because it won’t get any better for them over the next year if they don’t. And other immigrant communities – other ethnic communities – must join them, because it ultimately affects them all.

Progressives and liberals need to stand at their side. If we stand for justice and equal treatment under the law, if we believe in civil rights for all, if we think our nation is stronger because of our diversity, if we understand that a term like “anchor baby” is a ruse and that “Mexican” isn’t a synonym for “rapist” and “gangster” but a code for “person of color,”  then we need to stand with our brothers and sisters from other nations who come to America out of desperation and seeking economic opportunity, not as a chance to “drop and leave” a baby.

The anti-immigrant movement is strong only because they are united by their intolerance and their hatred. The pro-human rights movement can be strong because we are united by our love of humanity and support of basic human rights, and we can be stronger.

Pass along this op-ed piece by Ricky Martin and support him and the Latino and other ethnic communities. Put Donald Trump and his ill-informed supporters in their place for good.

Politifact fact-checked the “anchor-baby” claims being thrown around by Republicans. Their research showed that most immigrants come to America for the hope of a job, not to live off the benefits of having a baby in America. Immigration numbers rise and lower with the American economy. When times are hard and job opportunities are few, the flow across the border declines. The act of having a baby in America simply for its citizenship benefits occurs more often among the already affluent of other nations and is relatively rare.

Republicans have had decades to do something meaningful about immigration reform, including very recently with a bi-partisan bill passed in the U.S. Senate but held off the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by the Republican leadership. Instead, they use the issue as a cudgel to whip up fundraising and votes among their base. And caught in the middle are people just looking for hope and a job. Some voicing that rhetoric were benefits of immigration themselves.

It’s too bad Republicans haven’t learned how to court Latinos and other ethnic communities for their votes by doing positive things for them instead of counting them out by badgering them. Ricky Martin’s call to action may further distance any hope Republicans ever have of addressing this growing demographic of the American populace.

© 2015. Alan Eggleston. All Rights Reserved.

 

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