Opinion: How Arizona law hurts Hispanic citizens
Residents listen as immigrant activists speak about Arizona's law last July.
June 26th, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Opinion: How Arizona law hurts Hispanic citizens

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr. , CNN Contributor

(CNN) - First, here's what Arizona got wrong: Once upon a time, some lawmakers there decided that the state had a problem with illegal immigrants - most of whom are Hispanic. So they drafted a sweeping law that wound up inconveniencing, singling out and foisting second-class citizenship upon all Hispanics, including those who were born in the United States.

They are the real injured party in the Arizona drama. In its decision on Arizona's immigration law this week, the Supreme Court almost set things right. In a split decision, it struck down three parts of the law, but unfortunately it let stand the worst part, and it is U.S.-born Hispanics who could bear the brunt of the law for many years to come.

For one thing, there are more of them than there are illegal immigrants. Many of the state's illegal immigrants have already left - gone to New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas and other more welcoming locales. Besides, U.S.-born Hispanics are not in hiding. They're out and about, living their lives as they have every right to do - and coming into contact with police,

How ironic is this situation? These are the people who, in many cases it is often said, didn't cross the border as much as the border crossed them. Some of my friends in Arizona come from families whose roots in that region go back six or seven generations.

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s full column

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Vicki

    I work in Human Resources/Payroll. Approximately three years ago I had to change our Employee Data Sheet to cmpoly with new standards of the federal EEOC. Before the change, new hired employees would answer one of the following ethnic options, on the form:AsianAfrican AmericanNative AmericanHispanicWhite (Non-Hispanic)OtherJust like yourself, several cultures are were faced with a dilemma. They were forced to choose other because they did not fit in a specific category. I never understood why they include (non-hispanic)next to white. I was puzzled. Do some hispanics actually check the box that they are white? With regard to their heritage, I would think not. From a cultural standpoint I would think that hispanics are proud of who they are, just as white, african americans, asians, etc. Why didn't it include native americans, or african american in parenthesis? A person with a white father or a black mother, would they check black, white, or other?The new EEOC questions listed on our form are as follows:Are you Hispanic/Latino?Then separately it list:AsianBlack or African AmericanAmerican Indian or Alaska NativeWhiteNative Hawaiian or other Pacific IslanderTwo or more racesHispanic and latinos are defined by a question, and all other cultures are listed separately. Why is that? Although the choices are more diversified, it seems as though the US has an issue with the hispanic/latino culture. I will take time to research this further one day. However, I do empathize with your concerns.I did not pay to much attention to the categories that were available on the US census form, because I just wanted to complete it and send if off. However, as I learned as a kid in gradeschool, this is America, the land of free .

    October 15, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    Why does CNN choose to selectively not publish my respectful, historically factual arguments that attack nobody and expose concerns relevant not only to U.S. Hispanics but to all U.S. citizens of recent foreign descent? Is that transparent journalism?

    June 29, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jorge

    Time will tell if local governments in this country have truly evolved out of the spirit behind low points like racial profiling, Jim Crow, the Zoot Suit wars, the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Ponce Massacre and constitutional rights violations of Puerto Ricans for their political expressions (what do you think are the odds of those things happening right away?) In the meantime, I guess a lot of us U.S.-born Hispanics or our children will never get to see the Grand Canyon.

    June 29, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hamsta

    This law only effects hispanics if they are illegal immigrants.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Alexalex

      not the case at all.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |