Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants: Left of Center View
Illegal immigrants and the right to drive? This really should be two separate issues. The problem is that the way the system is set up we have to combine them. If you want to drive you have to accept the responsibility that comes with operating a potentially lethal device. Your current immigration status really shouldn’t offer into the equation. Yet it does.
Being a good Berkeley boy I am as against anything that the government does to track and control, as anyone. But there are limits. If you want to own a firearm you should have to pass a safety class, no class no gun. Driving a car shouldn’t be all that different. Anytime you enter into a situation where lives and liability are at stake you should have the skills necessary to do operate the device. Guns, cars, airplanes, it should all be the same. The reason this becomes a little bit sticky is that illegal immigrants by their very definition are required to lie about their current residency, which makes giving your address to the person you just, crashed into a sticky situation, when really it shouldn’t be.
People from other countries are allowed to drive in the United States, just as when U.S. citizens go abroad we rent vehicles and terrorize their streets. When driving in foreign countries, we from the U.S. are expected to follow the rules of the road we are driving on. The same should be true here. If you are qualified to drive in a country in good standing with the U.S., recognized as equivocal as far as motorized travel goes, you should be allowed to drive here. Just as we Americans are sometimes required to have auto insurance when we drive away from home, so should foreign nationals. Real address, real insurance, no real problem.
But of course there is. So let’s make this simple. Everyone who is living in this country wants to be here legally, the few that don’t are the ones we really should be on the look out for anyway, so this doesn’t apply to them. You can maintain a valid driver’s license in your home country and insurance. You need to do that if you want to drive here as well. End of story.
I’m not proposing a “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of scenario here. If you get caught by the police, no mater what you’re doing, and you are not here legally then immigration should take over and if warranted, you should be deported. If you go to court or if you enter into the system at some point it will be discovered that you are not here legally. However, most folks that are here want to stay here, and since only those responsible for their actions should be U.S. citizens, hence my wanting to deport the members of the current administration who choose to defy Congress, if you are caught driving illegally in the U.S., and have financial responsibilities stemming from your actions, you must first clear those up before you are even considered for citizenship. Immediate execution for all those caught stealing car stereos of course.
Driving is serious. People are killed every day by this routine action. Yet we, as a populace still don’t take it seriously. Hang up the dang cell phone, don’t drink and drive and for goodness sake if you can’t drive don’t. Consequences for negligence behind the wheel should be severe. So please, let’s not loose our focus on two very serious issues by combining them.
Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column.
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Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?
La Raza means literally “The Race” in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.
There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views and indigenist beliefs including the mantra "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada." which loosely translated means "For the race everything. Out of the race nothing." That organization is called M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán). It is a college-based organization that works with Latino students to improve their educational opportunities and indoctrinate them in the ideals of M.E.Ch.A. While the work they do with Latino students is admirable, their stated goal of the liberation of “Aztlán” raises some questions about the benignity of the organization. To understand the movement a little better you have to understand the concept of “Aztlán”. The following passage describes the concept of “Aztlán” as it appears on Azteca.net:
(In Chicano folklore, Aztlan is often appropriated as the name for that portion of Mexico that was taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846, on the belief that this greater area represents the point of parting of the Aztec migrations. In broad interpretation, there is some truth to this in the sense that all of the groups that would subsequently become the various Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico passed through this region in a prehistoric epoch, as attested by the existence of linguistically related groups of people distributed throughout the US Pacific Intermountain region, the US southwest and northern Mexico, known as the Uto-Aztecan-Tanoan group, and including such peoples as the Paiute, Shoshoni, Hopi, Pima, Yaqui, Tepehuan, Rarámuri (Tarahumara), Kiowas and Mayas. – Source: www.Azteca.net)
While MEChA’s stated philosophy has language that sounds inclusive, there are conflicting messages sent by the documents that founded the organization. Among the group’s listed ideals are ideas that could be interpreted as isolationism and rejection of larger American society in favor of Chicano-centric enclave societies. See below passages from the organization’s own philosophy and purpose documents:
(“Chicanismo involves a personal decision to reject assimilation and work towards the preservation of our cultural heritage. Recognizing that all people are potential Chicanas and Chicanos, we encourage those interested in developing a total commitment to our movement for self-determination for the people of Aztlán to join Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán)
It bears noting that they state that all people are potential brethren but that only by a total commitment to their movement can the people truly belong to their vision of “Aztlán” liberation. Some of the more strident language of their philosophy leads the casual observer to wonder if they might be more militant in their leanings:
(Thus, by all means necessary, We Chicana/Chicano estudiantes or Aztlán, dedicate ourselves to taking our “educational destiny into our own hands through the process of spreading Chicanismo, in the spirit of carnalismo.)
Some have also noted the use of “carnalismo” prominently in their philosophy and the appearance of similar language in Mexican Mafia documents. While there could be comparisons drawn, there is nothing in their governing documents to suggest any ties between the two organizations in goals or membership. The usage of the term (meaning “brotherhood”) appears to be purely coincidental. As you read further into the organization’s philosophy, you see language that can lead to interpretations of empowerment or of a more militant nature.
(“We, as Mechistas must dismantle the co-optation of Raza students from becoming "corporate Hispanics" claiming to be leaders of our community with no understanding of El Pueblo Chicano. Instead, M.E.Ch.A. seeks to train future community leaders to be consciously committed to serve the people of Aztlán.”
“Finally, as Mechistas, we vow to work for the liberation of Aztlán, leading to socioeconomic and political justice for our Gente. M.E.Ch.A. then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity by comadrismo/carnalismo, and a resolution to undertake a struggle for liberation! Tierra y Libertad!”)
Quotes Source: M.E.Ch.A. National Official Websitewww.nationalmecha.org
While MEChA is not the first militant race-based organization to emerge in America, the statements included in their founding documents combined with the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. from Mexico has to raise some questions about security in the areas that they claim should be “liberated”. In the wrong hands the legitimacy of the organization based on its good works such as improved education standards within the Latino community and the inflammatory statements of philosophy could be the catalyst that ignites the flame of broad conflict based on ideas best left in the past. Many organizations use good deeds to promote dangerous agendas. While this may not be the case with MEChA it is not entirely clear where they do stand on peaceful coexistence in this post-9/11 world.
The group absolutely has the right to their opinions and ideas. In America, where free speech is guaranteed by our Constitution, we must defend their right to espouse these ideas if they are indeed their ideals today. The real question is; should we be concerned about their future actions? There is nothing from their organization indicating a change in philosophy since these documents were written. If they no longer support separatism they should state as much on the record and put the matter to rest. If they still stand by the original philosophy in its entirety there is legitimate reason for concern. There are literally millions of Latino people in the United States both here legally and illegally who live well below the poverty line and have little to lose. Historically it has been the oppressed who rise up to take by force that which they have been denied by circumstance. When you combine hopeless people with revolutionary rhetoric you sometimes get a revolution.
For now we should exercise caution in urging any action but when someone openly calls for the “liberation” of large areas of our nation from the “oppressive control” of our government, we should be mindful of it. It may be that the inflammatory language of MEChA’s philosophy papers no longer applies to their current goals but if that is the case they should clarify the issue. I would call upon MEChA to publicly state if they believe in inclusion or separatism and if they believe that United States has a right to control its borders. If the loyalties of MEChA are indeed to Chicanos and only Chicanos, where do the rest of us fit in their vision of the future? These questions deserve answers if this organization is to continue working on our nation’s college campuses influencing the minds of young Americans.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america
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