Tuesday, January 2, 2007
This blogger recently spent time visiting family over the holidays in La Puente, a small working class city in the San Gabriel Valley. According to Census 2000, La Puente is over 83 percent Hispanic. There is a thriving Mexican immigrant community there. A local grocery story could easily have been transplanted from Tijuana. Spanish is the primary language for conducting business. La Puente has the problems of crime 9burglary, drugs, etc.) found in poor and working communities. But it gemnerally seems peaceful. Other parts of the greater Los Angeles area are not, however. The LA Times local news seemed filled with stories of gang violence and Black/Latino conflict in areas like South Central and the Harbor Gateway; click here for an example. Whatever one thinks about immigration, we should do our best to try to address its consequences. Immigrants -- many of them Latino -- live in our communities. We should consider ways to minimize conflict and build trust among different groups. It is not an answer to interracial conflict to simply claim that the borders should be shut and that "they should go home." The spring of 2006 saw Latino immigrants and citizens protest the Sensenbrenner bill's "tough on immigrants" approach to immigration reform. Future Immigration reform will more likely be more moderate and balanced. And it is likely that we will continue to see Latino immigrants in the United States. In the coming year, we as a nation should resolve to do what we can do to promote peaceful relations between all people, including immigrants, who live in our communities.