The Latino community have been in the United States for a long period of time; however, this ethnicity has been the ones who face discrimination and limited resources which becomes an obstacle for their success in the country. The Latino Threat, by Leo R. Chavez, emphasizes the economic, political, and social injustices that the Latino population face. Latinos have been called a “threat” by the American media who portray Latinos as irresponsible, lazy, and rapist.
This criticize supports the idea of viewing Mexicans as a “threat” to society. Focusing on the Mexican community, within their entrance into the United States, this subgroup has experienced discrimination and limited resources that places them in the shadows of the American culture and prevents them from succeeding. This paper will focus more on the daily struggle the Mexican community undergoes and how the children who come in with no legal documentation work towards a higher education in order to adjust to the American society.
Theory From their arrival to the United States, “undocumented immigrants are truly less powerful. presence of the undocumented immigrants is an act of defiance to the powers… to limit their opportunities” (Chavez, 1990, Pg. 3), because they are seen as the ones who invade the U. S. territory and lose every connection they have upon their arrival. Most come alone to ty to settle so they can later bring their family and start a new life. However, due to their status in the U. S. nd the economics status that these undocumented Mexicans might be facing back home, American society not only finds Mexicans a “threat” but categorize them as the lazy subgroup since they do not put an effort in learning English, lack effort to integrate into a larger society, and would rather continue to practice their own ustoms and culture while ignoring the “American culture” (Chaves, 2013, Pg. 53). Taking into consideration, most Mexicans who migrate from their home country to the U.
S. do it because of “economic and social relationships to family and friends already in the U. S. (Chaves, 1990, Pg. 41) and because they are looking for a better way of living since back in their home country they might not have the best government or their life is at danger. These subgroups face challenges once already in the U. S. due to having to work jobs with no benefits so they can send money back home and pay their needs to make a iving in America.
Problem The Mexican community also struggle to settle into the American society due to the lack of resources they do not have. To the American society, Mexican’s do not make the effort to legalize themselves in the country, but what Americans do not realize is that the lack of support is what makes this subgroup unable to declare legal status. “Their immigration status… makes getting an education, job, driver’s license, or medical care. requires long term strategies” (Chavez, 2013, Pg. 52).
Not having a secure job or even health insurance limits the Mexican ommunity from succeeding because they have that fear of one day being deported for not using proper documents for a job or even a fear of having an ill family member and not being able to afford the cost of a health care provider. In this case, not only the adults are affected but also their children especially if they do not have legal documentation in the U. S. At first, not only do the children of undocumented Mexican’s struggle by moving far from their home, but just like their parents, they also struggle with language and customs.
Academic Performance Although most discrimination is initially seen in the adult mmigrants, but it can also affect children at an early stage. The way discrimination affects children happen when others realize they are not fluent in English. This causes them to be made fun of their pronunciation and not make friends easily. In some cases, the U. S. born students bully them thinking they are above the undocumented students and treat them as if they were slaves. Despite the fact that the undocumented population lack resources, the children of those who migrate into the U. S. actually have the chance to go to school and learn the language.
Amado M. Padilla and Rosemary Gonzales (2001) researched those who identified as “Mexican” or “Mexican Americans”. The research was performed to see their academic performance and it resulted in noticing why most children who identified within the subgroup had limited English prof ncy. However, it was found that those who received some education in their home country within their primary language had less trouble learning English and did better than those who were born in the United States (Padilla and Gonzales, 2001, Pg. 729). Immigrant children also seemed to outperform later generations born to Mexican
Americans or those whose first language is English which can be found as a “threat” since they are receiving the same free education but performing much better. While in high school, undocumented students learn at a young age about their status and despite achieving in school, follow two very separate paths. Learning How to be llegal and AB540 First, Roberto G. Gonzales characterizes three different groups in which undocumented students mostly fall into.
“Discovery group” from ages 16-18 in which these subgroups discover their status while trying to apply for jobs and colleges (Gonzales, 011, Pg. 08), “learning to be illegal” from ages 18-24 in which “early-exiters fall into since they lack legal status and a college degree which places them to work at a low minimum wage just like their parents even if they are bilingual (Gonzales, 2011, Pg. 612). Finally, “coping” from ages 25-29 in which their illegal status has been accepted and are working full-time jobs that are not well paid (Gonzales, 2011,Pg. 614). The undocumented students fall into two categories in which leads them to a higher education.
The “college-goers” and “early-exiters” in which those ho want to persue a higher education regardless of their status seeks help from their school counselors to continue to enrich their future careers (college-goers). While the “early- exiters” knowing of their status do not attempt to continue since they do not build relationships with their school counselors so they can gide them and some drop out before they get to that point (R. G. Gonzales, 2011, Pg. 608-611). However, what many do not realize is that despite their immigration status, the opportunity to attend college without paying the “out-of-sate” fee is possible and afordable.
On October 12, 2001, the governor of California, Gray Davis signed the Assembly bill 540 (AB540) which basically allows undocumented students an exeption from Out-of-State tuition to make higher education more accessible (Abrego, 2008, Pg. 709-710). Because undocumented students live in the shadows of society, they have “limited access to jobs, education, and social services” which does not allow them to afford higher education. Although this bill does not provide these students federal aid, they are able to apply for state grants to make their college afordable (Abrego, 2008, Pg. 4).
The way this bill works is by declaring through an affidavit that the will apply for legalization once they have the opportunuty to do so. To Davis, the reason he signed the bill is because he wanted to make sure that those “kids who grew up and graduated from high school here should not be prized out of a future” (Abrego, 2008, Pg. 716). California was one of the first states who grated such right for undocumented students since it is one of the “most popular U. S. destinations for undocumeted immigrants” (Abrego, 2008, Pg. 715). Nine other States passed the bill later.
Conclussion Asides from having trouble to get adjusted into the American society and not having enough resourves to suceed to their fullest, Mexicans find a way to get around and find a living for themselves. The Latino Threat, by Chavez, characterizes the way the American society sees these subgroups as a “threat” to their community; however, they do not realize that the actual “threat” are not the Mexicans but themselves. U. S. citizens and the U. S. government are the ones who limit the Mexican subgroup to suceeed since they are the ones who vote on what laws to pass o improve their country.
Discrimination is and will continue to be seen everywhere regardless of time, but as they years go by, more laws will pass that will allow the undocumented to have more freedom in this country. Finally, even if undocumented students have laws that allow them to persue a higher education, that shadow of their illegal status in this country will follow and cut their wings wherever they go. In the future, a shorter process for legalization will help these subgroups, but until then, their only option is to work hard and fight for a better future. 5 OF 5