Immigration Reform is Opportunity for Latino Leadership

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

Twenty eight Latinos were sworn into the 113th Congress today. That’s enough to put  a new notch on the Latino political wall – there have never been that many Latinos in congress before. Neither has there been a more polarized congress, at least not since the civil war.  So while there’s reason to celebrate for Latinos, there’s also more than enough reason to do it with a sober look at the political moment in time.

All eyes will be trained on the Latino legislators when it comes to immigration reform, and that’ll be a important political battle. But there’s also a danger in it. There’s a danger in Latino’s being relegated to a perceived issue, then shoved to a sideline after the issue is resolved. And that’s because in the last few years immigration has risen as a Latino-centric topic. It’s not, and Latinos know this. Immigration is an American issue, and immigration reform is important to all American’s. But, (and here’s where the issue holds a hint of opportunity) if Latino’s are seen as leading the conversation, then the political moment is a unique opportunity for the new record number of Latinos in congress to show leadership.

And what will that look like?

First, Latino members of congress should work together. That’s easily said. But given the recent record of congressional behavior, not easily expected. So just by doing that, just by joining in one concerted effort, whatever they may agree it should be, would send a signal of leadership that has been missing in the halls of Capitol Hill for years.

Second, it should be reasonable, and by that I mean appeal logically to the interests of all segments of the American public. This is also easily done because immigration reform has the potential to unlock a huge amount of economic and workforce energy. The key is in the manner in which it’s sold, the messaging and the compromising.

Third, once that is accomplished, reform passed, the economy churning, Latino leadership will be poised to play an important role in all future skirmishes in Washington.

Granted, there are many things that can go wrong, many political trumps that can be played to trip the pace, and more than likely the road will not be as smooth as I’ve  drawn it to be. But the opportunity still exists. And what’s occupied my thinking as Latinos have surged in political power, in the voting booth and in elected office, is the tenor of Latino leadership moving forward.

It would be a shame if Latinos move into greater political power and all we get is more of the same.

[Photo screenshot courtesy houselive.gov]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

How a harsh criticism turned ‘Coco’ into Pixar’s most uniquely made movie yet

Victor Landa November 17, 2017

Director Lee Unkrich was hot off the box office success and Oscar win for 2010’s “Toy Story 3” when he delved into making a movie that focused on the Mexican […]

Trump Administration Targets and then Mocks Immigrant with Prosthetic Leg

Victor Landa November 15, 2017

A 20-year-old undocumented immigrant with prosthetic leg and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status has been detained by federal immigration agents and held without charges for over a month, treated inhumanely […]

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation’s classrooms

Victor Landa November 29, 2017

The growth of the Latino population in the United States will have a lasting cultural and intellectual impact beyond the arts, food, and celebrations. More and more, Latinas are becoming […]

As Numbers Grow, Recognizing Generations Of Latino Veterans

Victor Landa November 10, 2017

As the nation honors its veterans, government officials point to the growing numbers of Latinos in the military, while Hispanic scholars and historians remind us of the generations of Latino […]

U.S Hispanic Chamber Leader Who Has Had Turbulent Relationship With Trump May Be Ousted

Victor Landa November 22, 2017

The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is moving behind the scenes to oust its prominent president Javier Palomarez over allegations that he misused the organization’s money for his personal […]

How Indie Latinx Comic Book Authors Are Capturing the Latinx Experience

Victor Landa November 13, 2017

Back in 2010, comics creator Javier Hernandez was walking around San Francisco with his friend Ricardo Padilla when he had an idea: Why don’t they build a comics convention focusing […]

Half of Latino Immigrant Characters on TV Are Portrayed as Criminals, Study Finds

Victor Landa November 1, 2017

Define American, the immigration nonprofit founded by Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, has released its first-ever media reference guide for writers, directors, and producers concerning Latino immigrant characters. Immigrants and […]

Could Hispanic vote push Lupe Valdez into Texas Governor’s Office?

Victor Landa December 8, 2017

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running as a Democratic candidate for Texas Governor after a year of speaking out on big state issues– particularly the controversial sanctuary cities ban. Experts says […]