Just as blacks marched in the 1960s for civil rights, Hispanics are marching today for immigrant rights. And just as many non-blacks marched back then in support of black civil rights, today many non-Hispanics are marching in support of Hispanic immigrant rights.

Cable news and talk radio are making a killing demonizing undocumented immigrants. In terms of ratings, few issues resonate as reliably. Since the fiery period of 2006-2008 when Congress first seriously contemplated rational immigration reform under the leadership of senators John McCain, R-AZ, (yes, that John McCain) and the late Ted Kennedy, D-Ma, but then ran from the issue in the face of furious backlash, ample file footage exists in every news outlet’s video library of young Latinos jumping the border wall or wading across the Rio Grande.

The story is therefore easy and cheap to illustrate. The fact that it is a lazy stereotype of undocumented immigrants, which ignores the hefty percentage of European, Asian, Australian and African visitors who overstay their visa is irrelevant, too complicated and lacking emotional punch. Thus, the typical report consists of a TV anchor or radio talk host lamenting either how our nation is being drowned by the brown tsunami from south-of-the-border, how they are sucking the nation’s life blood or how one of the invading Latino hordes committed a crime, which is far more egregious than if a citizen committed the same crime, “because they had no right to be here!”

photo source: AP

Further, no branding has proven more effective than the combination of two powerful pejoratives, illegal and alien.

Like the words ‘Jew’ or ‘slob’ or ‘slut’, the phrase ‘illegal alien’ has the elegance of being harsh, but defensible, if accurate. Although it can be used as a cutting reference, it can still be uttered in polite company without fear of raising many eyebrows, especially among those who feel similarly negative about the individual being described.

photo source AP

Recently, a campaign has been mounted by Latino activists and supporters to ban use of the “I” word (as in Illegal). Ironically, the campaign has found traction first in Arizona, the state now most vividly associated with anti-immigrant sentiment and the birthplace of SB1070. Back in 2008, before things got truly vitriolic in the Grand Canyon State, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor agreed to ban the terms “illegal” and “alien” in all hearings or trials in state courtrooms.
The decision came after the High Court was criticized for using the words “illegals” and “illegal aliens” in several opinions by Arizona’s Hispanic Bar Association, known locally as “Los Abogados,” which asked Chief Judge McGregor for the ban. Their reasoning is as obvious as the motive of those who resort to using the offensive language. The terms create a contemptible brand, which stokes anti-immigrant bias and in the process, “tarnishes the image of state courts as a place where disputes may be fairly resolved.”

The biggest myth they were peddling, of course, was that Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor had banned the use of the words “illegal” and “aliens” to refer to the undocumented migrants in state courts. In reality, McGregor received a letter from the Hispanic Bar Association (Los Abogados), expressing concern over the use of what they deem to be derogatory terms towards MMPs (Mexicans Minus Papers). McGregor simply shared the letter with her colleagues. She didn’t order them to do anything about it.

Because the cause is righteous, the movement to ban the expression has recently been re-energized and may spread, perhaps first to Florida. There, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, has introduced a bill to ban the phrase “illegal alien” from official state documents.

(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

“I personally find the word ‘alien’ offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children,” she said recently. “An alien to me is someone from outer space.” While no penalty is attached for using the expression, the flamboyant Senator Wilson added, “we don’t say ‘alien,’ we say ‘immigrant.'”

Aside from its unstated but intended negative reaction, I have a lawyer’s reason for wanting media outlets like my own to ban or at least modify the phrase. Absent a finding by a judicial or administrative body, it assumes a legal conclusion, that a person has no right to be in the United States. Given that every person whose resident status is questioned has the presumed right to a hearing on the matter, with an appellate process following a negative result, isn’t the media’s use of the expression as lazy as assuming the guilt of a person accused of every other crime?

Sheriff Richard K. Jones has a website for “illegal aliens”

How is it that accused murderers, robbers and child molesters are called “alleged” perpetrators, but immigrants are not accorded the same courtesy of accuracy, indeed, the same presumption of innocence?“Illegal alien” is a cheap shot. The oft-used plural of the adjective “illegal” as in “illegals” isn’t even recognized as an English noun by Microsoft Word.

photo source: Fickr

It is stigma piled on stigma, and the potential consequences to a person so described following a judicial finding can be devastating. Anyone who suggests that deportation isn’t punishment is being disingenuous. So, if you insist on using the ungrammatical slur, at least await a finding of illegality before branding usually hard-working, otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants snared by authorities.

photo source: Flickr

photo source: Flickr

“Alleged illegal alien” may not be much of improvement, but it’s a step in the direction of accuracy. A voluntary decision by my cable news and talk radio colleagues to drop the phrase entirely would be humane and more in keeping with our immigrant nation’s centuries old traditions.

Read more: Latino FOX News

SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog to stay on top of the latest latino news, politics and entertainment!


If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me.

God Bless and make it a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog




In honor of the State’s Centennial year, the State Records Center and Archives will host an Open House on May 2, 2012, to commemorate the drafting and adoption of the 1910 New Mexico Constitution. The public will be able to view the Constitution and other important documents of statehood. Concurrent with the Open House, the Office of the State Historian will host an exhibit, New Mexico’s Cultural Landscapes, by photographer Sharon Stewart.

You could find automobiles on the streets in many a New Mexico town back in 1912, and yet it was just as likely you’d see a cowboy ride his horse up to a restaurant to get a bite to eat. The railroad, the telegraph and the telephone brought progress, news and visitors. “We were rural and poor, but New Mexico wasn’t disconnected from the nation,” Rick Hendricks, state historian, said Wednesday. New Mexico cemented its connection in 1912 by attaining statehood and effectively creating a state government based on its own constitution, a goal that was a good 60 years in the making.

“Morley’s Map of New Mexico” Compiled from the Latest Government surveys and other reliable surveys. Ent. Acc. of Congress in the Year 1873 by Harry Whigham and G.A. Bushnell in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D.C.

“A fair public school education is due every child and is of the utmost importance not only to the individual but to the welfare of the state.” photo source: NM History

Delayed and foiled over the years by, among other measures, bad timing, racism, anti-Catholic bias, Manifest Destiny, the untimely death of a statehood-supporting president (Zachary Taylor) and opposition by a neighboring territory, the 24-article constitution was finally adopted by a Constitutional Convention in November 1910, ratified by the people a year later and made law in January 1912.

Dedication: To the men of New Mexico who have fought the hard fight for statehood and to those who formed the constitution of the Great New State of New Mexico this book is dedicated.                               photo source: NM History

The original state constitution, normally locked up in a climate-controlled vault, went on display alongside a number of other historical documents on Wednesday — for one afternoon only — at the State Records Center and Archives on Camino Carlos Rey near Cerrillos Road.

“People should have the opportunity to see historical documents we have in the archives,” Hendricks said Wednesday at the records center, noting that usually only historians can request access to the original constitutional document.

Hendricks and New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels both gave short presentations regarding the creation and importance of the state constitution during a noon opening ceremony. Among the visitors were David and Mary Darling of Albuquerque. Her grandfather, Sen. William Dennis Murray, was one of 69 state lawmakers who signed the constitution. Her husband’s grandfather, who ran a newspaper in Deming, was good friends with Murray.

New Mexico State Constitutional Convention, Santa Fe, NM 1910 photo source: NM History

“He ran a general store in Central New Mexico and opened the Murray Hotel in Silver City,” Mary Darling said of her grandfather. “I was such a child when he died; he didn’t speak about the constitution. Later, I read about him and realized he did a lot more important things for this state than I was aware of.”

General Stephen Kearny photo source: Son of the South

The history of the constitution, as far as this exhibit is concerned, dates back to 1846, after Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny declared New Mexico an American Territory at the outset of the Mexican-American War. The exhibit includes Kearny’s proclamation, which asks the Spanish-speaking residents of the city of Santa Fe not to take up arms against the American military, as well as Juan Bautista Vigil y Alarid’s Spanish translation of that proclamation. Vigil y Alarid was the last Mexican governor of the territory of New Mexico.

photo source: NM HIstory

Jerry Vigil of Albuquerque, who said he is a descendent of Vigil y Alarid, was reading over that document at the state records building Wednesday. “These documents are wonderful,” he said. “This [proclamation] makes me very honored.” He said he was aware of his ancestor’s role in state history, but said he was not aware of this specific document. The state constitution — which in some ways mirrors the Constitution of the United States while also including provisions preserving the ethnic and cultural diversity within the state — “still speaks to who we are today,” Vigil said, though he acknowledged there always has been an undercurrent of racial divide within the territory.

The Reunion of the Constitutional Convention of 1910 photo source: NM HIstory

The exhibit showcases the many abortive attempts by state leaders to draw up and ratify a state constitution in 1850, 1866, 1872 and 1889. In 1906, the state came closing to having both a constitution and statehood when its residents were given the chance to vote to become part of the United States as the state of Arizona (which would have enveloped New Mexico in that case).

“That was then, this is now!”

“New Mexicans voted 2-to-1 for it, and Arizona voted 5-to-1 against it … primarily because of our ethnic diversity,” Daniels said in his remarks to the crowd. “Our Hispanic population concerned the people of Arizona. … There was a fear we wouldn’t quite be Americans.”

He praised the original constitution as a document that tried to preserve the culture, language and civil rights of New Mexicans, noting that one of the early provisions included ensuring the teaching of both Spanish and English in the public-school system.He noted that amendments to the constitution must be approved by three-quarters of both of the state’s legislative bodies — as well as state voters. Still, in the past 100 years, there have been more than 160 amendments.

photo source: NM State University

“It’s a surprising number considering how difficult it is to do,” Hendricks noted. “Yes, it’s been changed. But it hasn’t been thrown out.”

Read More: Chicago Tribune Learn More: New Mexico History

SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog to stay on top of the latest latino news, politics and entertainment!


If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me.

God Bless and make it a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog




PHOENIX – APRIL 25: Opponents of Arizona‘s new immigration enforcement law protest outside the state capitol building on April 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 1,000 gathered to protest the passage of Arizona’s tough new law which was signed by the state’s Republican governor Jan Brewer two days before. Critics of the law say that it will encourage racial profiling by law enforcement and endanger civil rights in the state. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Original Filename: GYI0060270245.jpg

With the Supreme Court likely to uphold portions of Arizona’s infamous immigration law, the state will remain front and center in national headlines up until this year’s general election. While Hispanic voters in the state have no control over the Supreme Court’s decision, they will be able to have their voices heard at the Arizona ballot box in November.

SOURCE: AP/Matt York
Immigration-rights demonstrators march to the Arizona state Capitol in April 2006. These immigration protests sent hundreds of thousands of people into the streets this spring and promised to leave behind a surge of new Hispanic voters.

The Obama campaign certainly believes that the agitation of Hispanic and independent voters in Arizona puts the state in play for the general election.  Historical evidence and recent polling indicate that the states may well be up for grabs this year. Putting Arizona’s 11 electoral votes in play would not only shake up the electoral map but also send a clear message that extremist immigration laws are political poison. In 2008 – with minimal investment from the Obama Campaign – the President commanded a large share of the Hispanic vote in Arizona, besting hometown Senator John McCain 56% to 41%. If the President can boost Hispanic turnout, the statewide electorate could become much more Democratic. With recent polling showing Arizona as a toss-up, a solid investment in Hispanic mobilization could make the state very competitive.

A Hispanic youth holds up a sign questioning Latinos’ support for President Barack Obama during a protest outside local Democratic Party headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. (EFE)

A recent NBC News/Marist Poll reveals that President Obama is only trailing in Arizona by 5 points. The real eye-popping numbers for the President, however, are the preferences of independent voters. Among independents in Arizona, the President outperforms Romney 45 percent to 36 percent, with 19 percent undecided. Another poll by the Merrill/Morrison Institute puts the race within the margin of error. 42 percent of Arizona registered voters preferred Mitt Romney, while 40 percent supported the President. With a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, so if the election were held today the contest for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes would be a toss-up.
The real question on everyone’s mind is; can an investment in maximizing the Hispanic vote in Arizona generate enough support to push Obama and down ticket Democrats over the top? Trends in Hispanic turnout from neighboring states with similar demographics suggest that these investments could pay off. Significant efforts to boost turnout in 2008 resulted in substantial increases in Hispanic voter participation.  Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada saw Hispanic voter participation increase by 33 percent, 62 percent and 32 percent respectively from 2004 to 2008. The overwhelming majority of that increased Hispanic vote went to Obama. The growing voter turnout from Hispanics helped the President carry all three of those states on his way to the White House, and this same dynamic could bring Arizona into the fold later this year.

Hispanics nationally are breaking nearly three to one for the President, if this holds true in Arizona increasing the vote of this population could swing the general election vote for more moderate voices in Arizona as well.  For the first time ever there is viable Hispanic Senatorial candidate in former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

If this former U.S Surgeon General is any example, you can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it–high school dropouts included. In 1967 Carmona quit Dewitt Clinton High School at age 16 and enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he eventually earned his GED. Carmona graduated at the top of his medical program at University of California, San Francisco in 1979. President George W. Bush appointed Carmona Surgeon General of the United States in 2002.

Carmona, a military veteran, has a huge lead with Hispanic voters. Politico notes that Hispanic voters favor him 61% – 25% percent statewide. Hispanic women are even more supportive, giving him a 70% – 14% advantage over Flake. At this point in the race he is an unknown quantity. Just 22 percent of voters can identify Richard Carmona, including just 19 percent of white voters, giving him room to expand support. The reality is the more Carmona is able to galvanize Hispanic support in Arizona the better off the Obama campaign will do in the state.

Tens of Thousands March in Phoenix, AZ Against SB 1070. (Photo: José Muñoz) 2010

If any segment of the Arizona population should want to change the dynamic of the state’s political apparatus it would be Hispanics. The current political environment in Arizona is toxic for Hispanics, and has been hijacked by political extremists. For those in the state vested in sending a strong message to the country that Arizona is turning a corner on this brand of governance, voting against the likes of Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, and Russell Pearce would speak loud and clear. With the Supreme Court likely to uphold parts of SB1070, November will be the earliest that Arizona voters can let the country know where they truly stand on this law.
Read more: Fox News Latino

SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog to stay on top of the latest latino news, politics and entertainment!


If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me.

God Bless and make it a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog




This has been a historic week on immigration policy in an election year.

If upheld, the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona “show me your papers” provision would have a huge mobilizing effect on Latino voters.  At the Supreme Court’s Arizona v. United States hearing on Wednesday, the narrow legal focus of the proceedings and Justices’ related discussion led many commentators to speculate that the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law would likely stand.  A ruling to uphold the law would not only unleash widespread discrimination in Arizona and other states with copycat legislation, it would mobilize Latino voters and other voters for whom the immigration debate is important and viewed through a personal lens.  Regardless of the outcome, the ruling will have major political ramifications in 2012 presidential race.
Coming in the heat of a race in which Democrats hope for huge Latino turnout and Republicans hope for just the opposite, the decision will draw a sharp contrast between a President who fought the Arizona law and a Republican nominee who supports it.

“Will Mitt Etch-a-Sketch on immigration?”

Probably not, but if he does, it won’t work. In diagnosing Mitt Romney’s problem with Latino voters, many commentators have concluded that Romney will tack toward the middle on immigration. We beg to differ. He may come up with some legal immigration package designed to soften his image a bit, but it’s our view that he has pandered too much and too recently to the nativist minority in the GOP to flip flop now. The last thing the Romney campaign wants is a fight with the right over immigration combined with a week of stories about his “Etch-a-Sketch” on immigration. And if we are wrong and he does shift positions, would it work? We think not. He’s already branded with Latino voters.  As Ron Brownstein notes of recent polling, “Obama’s share of the vote among Latinos notably exceeds his approval rating with them.
That’s a telling measure of how much Romney has alienated those voters, because it’s unusual for a president to poll much above his approval rating with any group.”  And Latino voters are not stupid.  They are not going to fall for a little general election shuffle.  Just ask Meg Whitman.  Some salt and pepper for the stew: Andrew Sullivan predicts Romney will stay hard right here; Michael Tomasky thinks Romney will bust a move to the center but argues it wouldn’t work here.

Marco Rubio’s DREAMs: looking past 2012 to 2016? 

                                                                           Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

The chatter surrounding Senator Marco Rubio’s impending legislation modeled on the DREAM Act has reached a fever pitch. Much of the commentary focuses on what Rubio and the DREAM legislation might mean for Romney in 2012 and Rubio’s chances in the Veepstakes.  Again, we beg to differ.  We doubt Rubio will be the VP choice and we believe he has a longer-term vision in mind. Our take is that Rubio knows Romney is cooked with Latino voters and is already focused on Republican Party’s post-2012 effort to repair its image among Latino voters.  Eventual passage of a Rubio-championed DREAM Act would indeed help Rubio’s chances to be the leader of a more Latino-friendly GOP going into 2016.

Pundits and insiders agree – immigration helping Democrats and hurting Republicans:

photo source Getty Images

What a difference a few years makes.  During 2005 and 2006, many Republicans thought they would reap the political rewards of using a hard line immigration stance as a wedge issue.  Though post-election analyses in 20062008, and 2010 showed that a hardline immigration position did not help politically, and in many cases hurt candidates politically, it seems as though the conventional wisdom has finally caught up with the election results.  A National Journal’s political Insiders generally agreed across the aisle that the issue of immigration stands to help Democrats and hurt Republicans in the November elections.  Almost half of the Democratic Insiders said the immigration issue would “help a little” while a little more than a third said it would “help a lot.” Among the Republican insiders, more than half believed immigration would “hurt a little,” a handful predicted it would “hurt a lot,” while three in ten said the issue would have “no effect.”

Read More: America’s Voice

SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog to stay on top of the latest latino news, politics and entertainment!


If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me.

God Bless and make it a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog




Getty Images

Wilmer Valderrama, the actor best known for the television shows “Awake” and “That 70s Show“, spoke to a crowded room at Arizona State University on Tuesday in the midst of the state’s battle with the Supreme Court over SB 1070. Speaking about the importance of the Latino vote in this upcoming election, Valderrama expressed a pro-immigration stance and called for increased Latino involvement in politics.

“The only way the system can work is if we all get involved,” Valderrama said. “Don’t expect politicians to figure it out for you.”

The event was sponsored by the ‘Voto Latino’ campaign, an effort aimed at increasing the presence of young Latino voters in the next election. Victor Corral, a volunteer with the organization, helped collect new voter registration forms and was excited to hear from the actor. “The Latino voice needs to be heard,” Corral said. “He makes a big difference in doing that.”

UCF in Orlando photo from Wilmer Valderrama’s FB

“If we don’t tell our friends to vote, who will?” he said.

Born in Miami, Valderrama moved back and forth between Venezuela and the United States, during his youth. Coming from an immigrant background himself, he expressed strong feelings against SB1070, a controversial immigration law in Arizona. Valderrama wants more young people and young Latinos to engage in the voting process. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on it. 

“It’s sad,” he said. “Immigration is the reason we have a country in the first place.”

Valderrama holds the belief that both legal and unauthorized immigrants contribute a lot to the United States economy; citing boosts in unclaimed tax revenue and labor for hard-to-fill jobs. He wants people to stop having what he refers to as a ‘negative mental image’ when they hear the word ‘immigration’.

Read more: Fox News Latino

SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog to stay on top of the latest latino news, politics and entertainment!


If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me.

God Bless and make it a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog


%d bloggers like this: