More from the Center for Immigration Studies article about Grijalva:
But while Grijalva has frequently shown determination to restrain commercial forces in order to protect the environment, he is consistently willing to accommodate their hunger for low-wage immigrant labor. The policies he supports would ensure that American employers, from fast food franchisers to farmers to roofers and restaurateurs, have an inexhaustible supply of low-wage immigrant labor. They would also ensure massive growth of the nation’s population over the next 50 years, with enormous consequences both for other low-wage workers and for the environment of Arizona and other states.
Grijalva has consistently argued for and voted for, open borders with Mexico and to grant immunity to illegal immigrants living here, something that the majority of American citizens of Mexican heritage have voted against because of the obvious problems it creates.
Grijalva acknowledged that there are also sharp differences among his Mexican-American constituents on immigration policy. That divide was clear in the 2004 vote on Arizona’s Proposition 200, a statewide initiative that sought to curtail public services for illegal immigrants. According to exit polls, some 47 percent of Latinos voted for the proposition, even after a well-funded campaign that branded it as racist, anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigrant.35
While Grijalva brands himself a representative for Hispanics, he is nothing of the kind. On issue after issue, from abortion to providing public assistance to English language instruction, the majority of Hispanics in Arizona disagree with Grijalva. He is not at the head of some broad Hispanic parade, but a small band of liberal Anglos and subversive La Raza radicals left over from the 60s farm boycotts. Hispanics in Southern Arizona are ready to vote for a conservative that listens to them.
Grijalva said he could see the anxieties among Tucson Latinos as he walked door to door to urge a vote against it. “I said the feedback from third, fourth, second generation Mexican Americans is not good,” he recalled in the interview. “I said once that this is a conversation within our own community that we don’t have, about those who just arrived and those who are here. …I think it’s a very uncomfortable conversation. I think you can talk to a lot of Latino leaders and they don’t even want to touch the subject. It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but a conversation that needs to occur.”
His message Grijalva admits, is to bring back the bigotry of the 60s, to race bait at every opportunity and pit Anglo against Hispanic to win elections. Will it work? Economics and history would favor Grijalva (and Obama's) approach. But several generations have come and gone in Yuma County since Cesar Chavez. I recently asked a couple Hispanic teenagers who Chavez was. Their response: "Didn't he wrestle for Kofa?"
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