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Martha Montelongo - Contributor
Martha Montelongo is a political commentator and radio talk show host on KION in Monterey, Calif. [Montelongo website] [Montelongo index]

Protests, Voting and Latinos in California
Democratic politicians play partisan politics with illegal immigrants

[Martha Montelongo] 12/26/03

Last week, many newspapers ran front-page stories about Latinos’ statewide protests on Friday, December 12, in response to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s repeal of a state law that gave illegal immigrants the right to driver’s licenses.

Although four hundred demonstrators participated in LA and 150 in San Jose, this turnout is paltry by California standards. Southern California organizers requested 12 million Latinos illegally residing in California to participate.

The real story is how many Latinos voted for the “No more politics as usual” promise of Governor Schwarzenegger. The much bigger story is why Latino’s voted in record number for this change.

To grasp this story, it is important to understand why certain Democrats wrote the ill-conceived legislation in the first place and why Davis signed it. Granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants is another big step, in the vision of the organizers and elected officials who supported the statewide “strike,” in securing for non-citizens the right to vote.

A proposal to allow non-citizens the right to vote in local elections, emanating from the Chicano Studies Department at UCLA, coincided with the call for the statewide boycotts and demonstrations. Organizers and supporters believe that these new voters would embrace the leftist politics of the Democratic Party. And the race-identity Latino Democrat politicians would preside over their fiefdoms and command political power in exchange for being able to deliver the Latino vote.

Instead, Latinos voted in the recall election, in historic numbers, against this trend in Democrats’ partisan politics. The core values of most established Latinos in California are something completely different than the “I want something for nothing, I’m entitled to it, and I’m going to support bigger government so that I can get it” mentality that lies at the heart of the Democratic Party in this state.

To the contrary, most Latinos have strong family connections, are fiercely independent, hard working and loathe accepting handouts from anyone. They want opportunities, but they have a great sense of fairness, justice, honor and pride.

Demanding something for nothing and expecting government to provide it is one of the main reasons why California got itself into a mess in the first place. This mess is not the fault of hardworking people including Latinos, and they held Gray Davis accountable and sent a message to the legislators.

Most Latino citizens have compassion for illegal immigrants who are here because their own country is barren of opportunities, rife with corruption and absent of possibilities for their and their children’s future. But they want keep more of the fruits of their labor, to preserve the opportunity that exists in their adopted homeland, and to honor their pledge of allegiance to this country and the rule of law. They want to be good citizens.

The jury is out for California’s Democratic politicians who play partisan politics with the rights of illegal immigrants, the vast majority of whom come from Mexico. It is time to deal with illegal immigration in a forthright and humane manner that does not undermine our rule of law, or the honor and integrity of our Latino citizens.

copyright 2003 - Martha Montelongo






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