Anti-Immigrant Hate Doesn’t Care If You’re Undocumented Or Not

*Why you should read this: Because incidents like this have been on the rise since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president. Because eaqch and every incident like this needs to be made public. VL

By Carolina Moreno, The Huffington Post  (5.5 minute read)   

In our current America, undocumented immigrants are being targeted by both executive actions and hateful rhetoric. And there are one too many Latinos fueling that anti-immigrant sentiment with a pro-deportation stance.

The truth is that being documented doesn’t mean you’re immune to anti-immigrant hate. Not even being born in the U.S. with six generations of roots in the country saved Joe Solis from having his yellow 1971 Volkswagen spray-painted with the word “illegal” last month.

“I’ve never had that done to me,” Solis, who said he’s of Mexican descent, told KTLA5. “I’ve never felt that feeling before … It’s sad to see that someone might be picking me out or thinking I’m an illegal immigrant. I was born and raised here.”

Read more stories about anti-Latino racism in NewsTaco. >> 

Solis seemed shocked that anyone would consider him undocumented, but that’s exactly how hate works. Hate doesn’t stop to ask for your papers, hate profiles you based on your brown skin and asks tone-deaf questions like, “But, where are you really from?” Because it all comes down to the exact same thing in the eyes of those who spew white nationalist hate: You don’t belong here.

The vandals who defaced Solis’ van didn’t know the difference between documented and undocumented, all they likely saw was a man who didn’t fit their notion of what “legal” looks like.

Hate doesn’t stop to ask for your papers, hate profiles you based on your brown skin and asks tone-deaf questions like, ‘But, where are you really from?’”

There’s a reason some U.S.-born Latinos like baseball star Sergio Romo wear T-shirts that read “I just look illegal.” Because what does being documented look like? Or, more to the point, what does being undocumented look like? Arizona somewhat answered that question with its SB 1070 law, which allowed state police to stop anyone and ask for their papers. Activists repeatedly accused the law of profiling Latinos and others based on who police thought looked foreign.


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Still, none of that has prevented me from having heated discussions with foreign-born or first- and second-generation Latino immigrants about whether undocumented immigrants deserve to be deported for not doing things the “right way.” They’re always so quick to dehumanize and villainize immigrant families, who very much resemble their own, based only on a piece of paper.

On Facebook I often see comments from people with Hispanic surnames under deportation stories that read something like “I did it the right way, why can’t they?” I won’t get into what makes those remarks simplistic and ignorant (but if you disagree, you should read this); I will, however, point out the hypocrisy and irony of documented Latinos bashing undocumented Latin American immigrant families.

First, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of the Latinos I’ve had these discussions with are white-passing.


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Carolina Moreno is a Latino Voices Editor for The Huffington Post, focusing on Latino issues, culture and entertainment. She’s an NYU graduate with a degree in Journalism, Latin American Studies and French language. Her interests include Inter-American relations, human rights on both sides of the canal, race and diversity. She’s in a loving but contradictory relationship with the world, humanity and what connects the two. To summarize: Joy junkie, cookie monster, LatAm enthusiast & diversity advocate.

[Photo by Patrick Feller/Flickr]

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