Guatemala to lobby US Congress on immigration

A Tragic Loss


Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, a 30-year-old, married father of two young children, was murdered shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday while responding alone to a suspected border incursion near Campo, a town in rugged, arid terrain in southeastern San Diego County.

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Foreign News Report

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) extracts and condenses the material that follows from Mexican and Central and South American on-line media sources on a daily basis. You are free to disseminate this information, but we request that you credit NAFBPO as being the provider.

La Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala)  7/28/09

Guatemalans to lobby U.S. Congress for immigration reform – [full transl.]

After two days of continuous dialogue, migrants’ organizations and the Government of Guatemala concluded that it is urgent to establish a regional bloc to persuade U.S. members of Congress regarding an integral immigration reform. After a dialogue held last weekend in Chicago, representatives from the Executive, the Judiciary and from organizations in favor of the undocumented [aliens in the U.S.] drew up a paper with a lobbying plan for immigration reform. Edgar Ayala, with the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities [“NALACC”] explained that 218 votes are needed in the House of Representatives and 60 in the Senate. He stated, “The numbers are not in our favor. Therefore, one of the conclusions is that we will work with the senators who are not convinced, such as the blue dogs – blue dogs, Democrats who think and act like Republicans”

Byron Prado, of the Association of Guatemalans Abroad, said that from now on the leaders will not accept separate lobbying. He emphasized “We’ll go all together: Central American governments, migrants and congressmen.”

Vice Chancellor [equiv. Dep. Sec. of State] Miguel Angel Ibarra asserted that the government has a prepared agenda to lobby with senators, governors and mayors of the U.S. who are not in favor of reform. He insisted, “We’ll ask the support of congressmen who are in favor, to help us persuade those who are not.”

Julio Lopez, a (Guatemalan) Congressman, delegate to Guatemala’s Migrant Affairs National Council, committed himself to make the (Guatemalan) consulates to work to unite the migrants’ organizations in the U.S. He added, “That has been a great weakness of those organizations, which often have not reached a joint agreement, which is necessary for an immigration reform.”


[The issue of the high levels of criminality is one often dealt with and seen in Central American newspapers, both in news items and in opinion columns and editorials. Following are three extracts from typical examples found today, one from El Salvador and the others from Nicaragua and Guatemala]

The issue of crime in Central America

La Prensa Grafica (San Salvador, El Salvador)  7/28/09

“Society as a whole is ever more impatient due to the lack of an authentic strategy against crime in all its facets.” Voices are beginning to be heard demanding that the forces of law and order deal with the issue because the date speaks for itself: violence has been growing in the country.

El Nuevo Diario (Managua, Nicaragua)  7/28/09

[From an op/column under the heading “Why are crimes on the rise in Nicaragua?” The article goes on to list more than a dozen cause & effect inherent conditions and events regarding this issue] Among them: emigration to other countries to search for work, pervasive violence in the media, globalization of organized crime, deep socio-economic disparities, increase in use of drugs and alcohol by youths, family violence, lack of law enforcement, poor infrastructure. [The list goes on…]

Prensa Libre (Guatemala City, Guatemala)  7/28/09

During the first semester of this year 78 bus drivers, 33 passengers and 16 drivers’ helpers were killed during assaults and robberies in Guatemala. Another 37 drivers were wounded, as well as 16 helpers and 45 passengers. [Buses are favorite targets for thugs in Guatemala; drivers are often victims of extortion and are even killed if they fail to pay “protection” money.]


El Debate (Culiacan, Sinaloa)  7/28/09

[Full transl. of op/column by Sergio Sarmiento titled “Mexican stadium.” The writer is nationally syndicated in Mexico]

Mexican Stadium

U.S. fan: “Something’s wrong when I can’t raise an American flag in my own country.”

The Giants’ Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with capacity for 75 thousand spectators, was full this last Sunday during the finals of the Gold Cup soccer match between the teams from Mexico and the United States. The Mexican team beat its rival “in its own territory” for the first time in ten years. Nevertheless, as is already usual in the soccer matches between Mexico and the United States, the stadium looked like anything except American.

More than 80 or 90% of the spectators were Mexican or Mexican-American, and their sympathy for the Mexican team could not be hidden. From the start, the spectators behaved as a ferociously local and discourteous Mexican public. Many whistled loudly when the National Anthem of the United States, “The flag of the stars and stripes” was played, and during the entire match they isolated the 10 thousand fans of the U.S. team, who for all intents and purposes, were in hostile territory.

It’s not the first time that this happens. In the book “Who Are We: The Challenges to American National Identity,” Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington, also the author of Clash of Civilizations, described what happened in another Gold Cup: In a sea of Mexican flags, many of the spectators booed the playing of the U.S. national anthem; they tossed waste and “cups of what may have been water, beer or worse” at the U.S. players; they attacked with fruits and beer those few spectators who dared to raise a U.S. flag. Huntington points out that these events did not take place in Mexico City but in Los Angeles in 1998. Huntington quoted a fan of the U.S. team “Something’s wrong when I can’t raise an American flag in my own country.”

Certainly, something is wrong. If something similar had taken place in our country, if a community of foreign origin had made a mockery of our National Anthem and our flag, (then) the mass media and Mexican politicians would have already started a campaign to lynch those anti-patriots and traitors. But since this took place in the United States, many Mexicans have thought of it as something to be proud of.

In his book, Professor Huntington, who died on December 24, 2008, called upon Americans to defend their country’s national identity. He pointed out that “Assimilation is particularly problematic for Mexicans and other Hispanics.” And he was right. The Germans, Irish, Jews and Italians who immigrated into the United States in the past were proud of their national origin, but they never ceased to regard themselves as Americans and to respect its national symbols. For that reason Huntington suggested that the entry of Mexicans into the United States ought to be limited and that more energetic measures should be taken to integrate those who may already be inside the country.

It’s not to anyone’s benefit that Mexicans be seen as traitors in the country which has taken them in with generosity and which has allowed them to build a prosperity that Mexico denied them. For that reason, at a time when there are people in Mexico who rejoice when the American National Anthem is booed at a sporting event in New Jersey, let us think what this would mean for us if a foreign community would do it at Aztec Stadium.


– end of report –

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