HOUSTON – In a city where approximately 42% of the population is Hispanic, it is not surprising that immigration is one of the most heated political issues facing Houston. With bills being passed in other states, such as Arizona’s SB 1070, which allows officers to request papers proving citizenship from people of Hispanic descent, the Hispanic community has a right to be concerned. In fact, it seems that this mentality has already started to seep into the Texas legislature. According to an article on NBC from the Associated Press, Representative Debbie Riddle of Tomball (Northwest Houston) has already informed her constituents that she will be proposing a law similar to that of Arizona’s in the upcoming January session. As a person of Hispanic descent who was born and raised here in Houston, I feel that to be required to keep papers on hand proving my citizenship, would be a violation of my rights as an American.
Houstonians against racial profiling
It is no secret that to target people based solely on their race, profiling, is extremely unethical. It is also no secret that laws in Texas are lacking in protecting people from this injustice. The Hispanic community is not the only community to fall victim to racial profiling. African Americans and more recently, the Arabic and Middle Eastern community have been victims of racial profiling, as well. The community of Houston needs to come together and stand up for the rights of our fellow Houstonians. In an article from the Associated Press, Peter Johnson, of the Peter Johnson Institute for Non-Violence put his own spin on a famous quote, “What I say to the African-American community: If they come in the morning for brown-skinned people, and we remain silent, they may come in the evening for us.” I believe this is the sentiment all Houstonians should feel towards our larger, shared community.
Are you Native American? No? Then you are an immigrant, too.
One of the biggest problems I have with the mentality against recent immigrants to the United States is that it is a hypocritical one. The only community of people who are native to America, is in fact, the Native Americans. If these political figures who are trying to implement such harsh legislature against recent immigrants thought about it, they would realize that their families migrated to America at some point, as well. America has always proclaimed to be a haven for the persecuted. Isn’t that what it says on the Statue of Liberty? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” My family came from Cuba 30 years ago and I can’t imagine what it would have been like for our family had we been deported or unable to gain citizenship. America has proclaimed to be a melting pot for people of all races, yet American has a history of persecuting those very immigrants: The Irish, Japanese-Americans in the wake of Pearl Harbor, Middle Easterners in the wake of September 11th, etc. Now is the time to break free of that mind set and create a path for all those who seek it to be able to gain citizenship to this great country! We can start right here in Houston.