The “Border Beat” (July 8, 2009)

The “Border Beat” is back with its bi-weekly rundown of Latino-themed news and views.  The July 4th holiday and the typical summertime doldrums mean a slow time for politics, and that means immigration reform talk is, well, talk. Still, there was some noteworthy talk when Obama convened an immigration legislation meeting at the White House late last month.  We’ll see where it goes. Me, I ain’t going nowhere.

Here’s the stories you might have missed:

• “Worker heat reform falters” (Modesto Bee)
This is the “near miss” story of the week as Cal-OSHA’s standards board overruled its field safety chiefs on a set of proposed amendments to the state regulations on “heat-stress.”  For those not familiar with these regulations, they require employers to provide shade, extra breaks, and water for agricultural laborers working on hot days.  Surprisingly (or not, depending on your view of race and power in CA), these regulations arose only after the 2006 round of deaths due to heat exposure in the fields. These proposed changes would have essentially relaxed the regulations, allowing for “grape vines” to count as “shade,” among other lunacies.

• “Pioneer researcher retires” (North County Times)
I normally bypass articles coming from really small publications unless they are significant in some way. This one is significant in every way. Legendary immigration researcher Wayne Cornelius has retired. In his 40 year career, Professor Cornelius advanced the field of immigration studies with his comprehensive approach to the topic. If there is a white guy who is a card-carrying honorary Chicano, this is the guy.  Happy retirement Dr. Cornelius!

• “Immigration attorney tells immigrants, ‘Don’t be scared’ about new laws” (Deseret News)
Here’s a kicker for you: Utah’s new anti-“illegal” immigrant law went into effect last week, even though nobody with any credibility on the left or the right seems to want it.  Law officials and politicians fear it will cause a flurry of discrimination claims and be costly, since the population of “illegals” in the state is so small compared to the population of legal Latinos and Mexican Americans.  Latinos are urging people to be vigilant and know their rights.  The comments at the bottom of the story–from the rank-and-file idiot brigade–are a reminder of why it is law.

• “In Mexican Vote, Nostalgia for Past Corruption” (NY Times)
The PRI won the latest round of midterm elections in Mexico.  All corruption jokes aside, it is a move worth keeping track of for the years ahead.

• “New realities eroding border double standard” (Arizona Republic)
People who work on the border and know what they are talking about have talked about the “double standard” between the U.S. border with Canada and that with Mexico since we stopped fearing a Canadian military invasion. The everyday understanding of this phenomenon is not so widely disseminated.  Hence, the value of this piece.  While the author celebrates the “erosion” with the recent passport regulations (since both are treated equally), let’s keep in mind small steps are made even smaller when they still revolve around institutionalizing our general fear of the border and what lurks beyond it.

• “U.S. Hispanics Live Longer, Despite Socio-Economic Hurdles” (
David Hayes-Bautista is making some recent press with his decade-old findings that deserve all the attention he can muster for them.  Latinos live longer than the rest of the US population.  Hayes-Bautista calls it the “Hispanic Paradox” since, demographically, Latinos would be sure bets to live shorter lives. So suck it Minutemen!


• “Pastor who opposes homosexuality may get Chicago City Council seat” (Chicago Tribune)
Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, is about to be appointed to fill a vacant seat on the City Council. Thing is, his church is famously anti-homosexual, believing it something akin to a sickness.  De Jesus is a notable activist in his district and his impending appointment is seen as an advance for representational rights for Latinos.  The paradox here is rich and important.  I think we’re going to be seeing more of this kind of thing in the future and it is a welcome encumbrance to politics on the left. Eventually, Latinos and other so-called “progressives” are going to have the reach the point where they see the contradictions inherent in a public anti-LGBT equality stance and a representing poor communities of color.  Eventually.


4 thoughts on “The “Border Beat” (July 8, 2009)

  1. I am a demographer and I currently have a best selling book titled “The Age Curve, How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm”. I would like to give you a little different perspective on the Latino immigration issue, a macro view from thirty thousand feet. I was recently interviewed by CNN where I made the statement “Latinos have saved our country.” I received hate mail so I know bigotry is alive.

    I thought a snap-shot of my demographic perspective would be helpful.

    Between 1965 and 1984 the number of babies born in the United States dropped like a stone owing to a misguided belief that “Zero Population Growth” was beneficial. Roe vs. Wade (1973) also played a significant part and our fertility plummeted twenty-five percent after the Supreme Court decision. In 1985 we began to have children again at above replacement level fertility, but the damage was done.

    We have a deficit in our native-born population that is twenty years long. It’s called Generation X. Generation X has nine million fewer people than the Boomer Generation born 1945 to 1964 according to the United States Census. This means that Generation X can not earn, consume, pay taxes or populate the labor force at the level of the baby Boomers because they simply do not have the critical mass.

    When Generation X entered the entry level labor market twenty years ago they could not satisfy the demand. This sent labor costs soaring and jobs off shore. Latino’s poured into the country by the millions to fill the demand unmet by Generation X. Now the bad economy and our own homegrown labor force, Generation Y, born 1985 to 2004 is forcing millions of Latinos to return to their home countries. The remaining Latinos have conveniently filled in the deficit in our population between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four years old.

    As Generation X, now fortified by the remaining Latino immigrants, ages into the stage of life when they will be required to do the heavy lifting in the United States by paying most of the federal, state and local taxes, it is paramount that the Latinos immigrants assimilate and advance economically as quickly as possible. Most of this assimilation will occur naturally because their culture is very compatible with U.S. culture and they assimilate faster than any other immigrants in the Nation’s history.

    We need the Latinos to pay taxes at the level necessary to run our great nation. Without the Latino immigrants our economy would crash in about ten to fifteen years making the current economic crisis look like a cake walk. So not only can immigrants enjoy the American dream, they actually make it possible.

    Bigotry is stupid and bigotry is the real issue. That’s the bad news. The good news is, it is dying. The best evidence of this fact is in our White House.

    Kenneth W. Gronbach

  2. Dear Nation

    National team on an international stage
    Flying up on the right full stretch
    Undocumented worker, immigrant, newcomer
    Continue the winning streak together

    Plan the next decade Hispanic community
    We need serious discussion about diversity
    A sensible and humane immigration policy
    So you can compete in the global economy

    We’ll move away from naive thinking
    And bring you into the mainstream
    It will open the doors for opportunity
    All can be leaders in this community

    Growing up in the barrios of Houston
    You’ll make a different kind of contribution
    You’ve already learned to be bicultural
    Keep your head up, you have potential

    Unleash all the talent this country can
    For that, Mr. President, we need a program
    Students need to feel connected in school
    With no limitations on what you can do

    Different skin color, different accents
    Everyone helping out, recognize your assets
    You’re industrious, not permanent underclass
    Whatever you do, you do with excellence

    Now every player has joined the fray
    The orchestrated goal was just amazing
    The final minute, what a show
    Just kick the opponent and score a goal
    Posted by Noble Bandit

  3. I am a community organizer and blogger in Chicago. I wish people like De Jesus would leave this divisive issue alone.

    It’s not just evangelicals, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to congressional representatives saying that they would oppose immigration reform that would include a path for gay citizens to legalize their undocumented partners.

    I find it odd that so many people who profess to work to build our communities would take public stances that divide us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s