From the last Racial Politics This Week article, you may have seen that I referenced the outrageous Department of Homeland Security racial profiling raids and some of the folks covering the story including Latina Lista, MigraMatters, The Unapologetic Mexican, Atrios and Pachacutec @ FireDogLake. Latina Lista is on it with 2 posts since then. Well, just so bloggers and others know, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) released a statement earlier this evening (I got the email at 6pm) making a strong stand. Sort of weird to send this out after press deadlines, but whatever. Note to LULAC: get your press outreach and for pete’s sake that sad little Executive Director’s non-blog together. Blog softly and carry a big stick?

But I digress. The point is that LULAC is a really big organization with well over 100,000 members. Their structure is modeled after the NAACP. They have cred both on the local level in states where Hispanics are numerous and also at the federal level, where Latinos are recognized as a major swing vote. LULAC was one of the orgs behind the big immigration protests in spring 2006.

The press release is inexplicably not up on the website yet. But here’s a quote:

The League of United Latin American Citizens condemns the unnecessary worksite raids that took place last week at six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants. Over 1,300 employees were arrested and families were separated from their children in the towns of Greeley, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minnesota.

“We demand a halt to further immigration raids unless the government demonstrates that a particular arrest is necessary to protect public safety or for national security,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “The manner in which the raids were conducted has caused psychological harm to the immigrants and their families. LULAC is working with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to investigate possible civil rights violations based on reports that Latinos were treated unfairly during the raids. We must enforce our laws in a humane manner that balances our economic and security needs with our national values.”

LULAC plans to challenge any violations of the workers constitutional rights in court. We have joined with other national Hispanic organizations, including MALDEF, NALEO, NCLR and the National Hispanic Bar Association in sending letters to U.S. Secretary Michael Chertoff urging for a temporary halt on the raids. There is concern that some arrested in Minnesota were denied access to an attorney in violation of federal law. Of the1, 200 individuals arrested only 65 have criminal charges pending against them. The rest have been placed into administrative proceedings.

Might want to learn more about that alphabet of acronyms — If you don’t know much about these organizations, you will know more in the next 5-10 years. Anyway, the release goes on to urge Congress to um, do something about immigration. Soon-like. That is unlikely to help those families in a timely enough way. How about some action right now?

On a side note, the Unapologetic Mexican has some good advice from an African-American (Marcus Reeves of TellSpin) to his Latino brothers and sisters. My favorite part?

Also, nip that division along dark/light complexions in the bud. Don’t think folks aren’t listening when, for instance, non-Dominicans call Dominicans “the niggers of the Latin world,” or say that Mexicans are lowest on the Latin totem pole. In the mainstream’s eye, a nigger can be a spic, but all spics are niggers (you just got off the slave ships a little early).

My final piece of advice has to do with politics. In the event of a fight for civil or human rights in this country, don’t let the media pick your leaders. I bring up this point because when you become the largest minority group, things will prove to be interesting. With your numbers rising in states like California, the minorities (Latinos, blacks, and Asians) become the majority — and New York, Texas, and Florida are soon to follow. When the “majority” starts to feel the squeeze, look out for the backlash and the slipping away of rights and services. After you start voicing your discontent, the media will pick a moderate figure from your group — someone who has no interest and no connection to your angst — to quote and put in the spotlight.

Take it from folks who know.

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