7 Jul 2022


The Latino Politics in the U.S

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There has been an ongoing debate concerning the existence of immigrants of Latin origin in the United States. Like in many other aspects of the U.S. politics, there exist disagreements as to the impacts and course of action to be taken to address the prevalent increase in illegal immigrants in the U.S. from other parts of America especially Latin America. Latin America, comprising of Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominica Republic, and Jamaica, is considered to be the source of the greatest number of immigrants residing and working in the U.S. Approximately 11 million immigrants are illegal residents and therefore undocumented which poses a question as to what course of action the U.S. government and other stakeholders should take to deal with the illegal immigrant issue in the U.S. 

The debate has been, in most cases between two sides; the Republicans and the Democrats, who hold opposing arguments on impacts of illegal immigrants as well as what should be done to deal with the issue. For instance, the media used to create and spread the notion that Latinos were only interested in occupying American land as well as destroying the American way of life (Bedolla 2015). In addition, Samuel Hanington believes that the Latinos immigration to the U.S. would create divisions in terms of culture and language since they are not easily assimilated (2004).Republicans consider the persistence of the Latin immigrants to be a threat to the U.S. national identity by creating divisions in the founding culture and therefore they policies should be put in place that reduces the increasing number of Latin immigrants. 

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However, the democrats disagree with the republicans ideas concerning the Latin immigrant crisis. For instance, they recognize the positive impact of the increasing number of immigrants from Latin America in the U.S. in terms of economic growth resulting from the creation of employment, labor as well as the market for goods (Story of America 2015). This can be attributed to the scenario whereby the apprehension, detaining and deportation of the illegal immigrants reduces the market for goods as well as labour and therefore slowing down economic growth in most counties of the U.S. Therefore, they believe that illegal immigrants should be given an opportunity to become citizens of the U.S., a case witnessed through the provision of green cards to immigrants in the U.S. (Huntington 2004). 

However, there has been immigration reforms aimed at managing the number of legal migrants in the U.S. while reducing the number of illegal immigration cases. Comprehensive immigration reforms comprise of policies formulated and being implemented by the government with the purpose of managing the increasing number of legal immigrants as well as curbing illegal immigration. The reforms may be enforced through the documentation or repatriation of illegal immigrants (Hantington 2004). In this case, the immigrants of Latin origin may be given an opportunity to become legal citizens of the U.S. through programs like green cards. In most cases, they are arrested, detained and repatriated back to their country of origin when found to lack legal documentation allowing them to work or reside in any part of the United States. 

One of the most common immigration reforms was the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) formulated and passed into law in 1986. The purpose of this reform was to amend the status of the illegal immigrants as provided for in the previous immigration act (Huntington 2004). The bill gave the illegal immigrants the opportunity to apply and become U.S. citizens after fulfilling certain requirements. In addition, the bill provided an opportunity for the illegal immigrants from Mexico to have temporary legal documents that would enable them to work, reside, and travel in the U.S. for a given period of time (Robinson 1992). This bill was essential in managing the immigration crisis in the U.S. while putting into account economic growth of the country as well as the welfare of the immigrants. 

In addition, the United States government played a pivotal role creating push and pull factors for the Latin immigrants. For instance, the creation of industries as well as the increased standards of living in the U.S. resulted in the massive immigration of Latinos especially from Mexico in search of greener pastures (Robinson 1992).In this case, the promise of better life opportunities in the U.S. as compared to Mexico was one of the main factors of Latin immigration. Furthermore, the invasion of the U.S. on Mexico resulted in the under development of the latter which was responsible for the emigration of Mexicans in search of better opportunities for their families (Bedolla 2015).The invasion led to the exploitation of the Mexican resources and therefore resulting in a long-term prevalence of high poverty levels. The numerous opportunities for economic growth and standards of living also led to the immigration of individuals from the Caribbean including; Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto, and Rico. The exploitative trade policies employed by the U.S. in relation to the Caribbean states resulted in high poverty levels and therefore high emigration rates (Huntington 2004). 

Furthermore, there has been reduced tension in the reception of the Latin Americans into the United States. This can be attributed to the policies that call for the legalization and assimilation of immigrants into the country who fulfill certain requirements. The provision of green cards by the United States government provides opportunities for the reception and incorporation of the Latin Americans into the U.S. culture (Bodella 2015). For instance, the U.S. government has made considerable efforts in the documentation of illegal immigrants residing and working in the country in which permanent citizenship or temporary permits are provided to the immigrants (Huntington 2004). However, the Mexican Americans reception into the U.S. has been faced with challenges with the existence of the nativity nation which usually creates tensions among the different groups (Story of America 2015). This is associated with the belief that the increasing number of Mexican immigrants results in the reduction of job opportunities for the U.S. citizens. The Trump administration is formulating policies aimed at reducing and repatriating a considerable number of immigrants so as to free up job opportunities for the U.S. citizens. In contrast, the Obama administration was also in the forefront in implementing the policies by repatriating immigrants without legal documentation in the U.S. from Mexico. 

Furthermore, various efforts have been made by different stakeholders with the aim of ending the hostile reception of the Latin Americans as well as discrimination and repatriation of illegal immigrants. For instance, the existence of the Mexicans without Borders has been essential in creating a society that ensures the peaceful assimilation and the equality of Mexicans in the United States (Young, Ebrahim, & Rents 2011).The Mexican without Borders in a rights activist group based in the U.S. which advocates for equality as well as the humane arrest and repatriation of Mexicans. Another instance is the issue of ethnic solidarity in which people of similar origin may work and reside in the same location and therefore help in preserving their culture. For instance, most Mexican Americans reside in North Carolina; Cubans reside in Miami, while Dominicans and Puerto Ricans reside in New York (Hantington 2004). These groups reside and in most cases work together to create a cosmopolitan population with cultural similarities to their home country and therefore a sense of belonging. Furthermore, there were human rights demonstrations in 2006 by Latin immigrants in the U.S. who advocate for the protection of immigrant rights by authorities (Young, Ebrahim, & Rents 2011). These efforts have been instrumental in reducing immigrant inequality in the U.S. 

The debate between the republicans and the democrats on what should be done to the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States has been instrumental in the formulation of immigration policies in the country. The republicans’ arguments about the immigrants have resulted in negative effects on the American culture and economy has resulted in the arrest, detention and the repatriation of most Latin Immigrants in the U.S. On the other hand, the democrats’ arguments that immigrants are essential to the economy have resulted in some cases of legal documentation of illegal immigrants in the U.S. However, the U.S. has been responsible for creating an environment which has resulted into massive immigration of Latinos into the United States. Furthermore, the various efforts by the Mexicans without borders activists groups, the ethnic solidarity as well as the Latino demonstration has been instrumental in ensuring that their rights are protected through comprehensive immigration reforms. 


Bedolla, L. G. (2015).  Latino politics . John Wiley & Sons. 

Huntington, S. P. (2013). 25 The Hispanic Challenge. A Language and Power Reader, 6. 

Robinson, W. I. (1992). The global economy and the Latino populations in the United States: a world-systems approach.  Critical sociology 19 (2), 29-59. 

The story of America (Director). (2015).  9500 Liberty  [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/128386646 

Young, Ebrahim, & Rents (2011, October 08). Lost in Detention (Video File) Retrieved May 23, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/lost-in-detention 

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