Update, December 26, 5:45 am:

Three years ago, on December 6, 2010, two Latino leaders in Sonoma County, California, Laura Gonzales and David Rosas, wrote an opinion piece in the Press Democrat, a local newspaper, which is more relevant than ever to the stalled immigration reform issue today. It is well worth reading.

The article has the title: Latino leaders call for end of race-baiting

It was also signed by 20 other Latino leaders in Sonoma County. The link is:
www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20101206/opinion/101209711

The authors write:

"As community leaders, we refuse to remain silent while our people are stigmatized and dehumanized. 'Illegal immigrants" has become a code word for Latinos in California, and our nation. That many Latinos feel the same way as we do is witnessed in our voting patterns.

They continue:

"Recent polls by the Pew Hispanic Center and a Democracia USA survey found that three out of four Latinos have a bad impression of the GOP. mostly because of its hard stand against immigration policy and its support of Proposition 187...

Most Latinos believe that the differentiation between 'legal' and 'illegal' simply serves to mask prejudice against Latinos and is a cover to fan the flames of ethnic intolerance.

They conclude:

"As a nation of immigrants, the ancestors of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, none of us should stand by quietly while self-serving groups, candidates or political parties pound their hateful drums. The time has come to condemn race baiting campaign tactics and to support comprehensive national immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship."

Three years after the above was written, the shrill voices of anti-Latino hate are still fueling the movement to kill immigration reform and pursue the fantasy of deporting 11 million immigrants.

The remarks quoted below by immigration "analyst", Stephen Steinlight of the fiercely anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, would make even an anti-Latino race-baiter such as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) look like a moderate by comparison.

While it may be doubtful whether Steve King even takes his own comments about DREAMERS being "drug mules" seriously, there is nothing to laugh at in the pretentious, more academic sounding venom spewed out by Steinlight, as quoted in the following December 24 Washington Times column.

The following is my original post, which appeared on the morning of Christmas day:

As America celebrates the Christmas spirit of mutual love and good will among all people, the far right wing voices of hate against Latino immigrants are not taking any time off for the holiday. The latest example is a December 24 column by Joseph Collo in Washington Times Communities called This Christmas, the GOP Has a Big Problem With America's Hispanic Vote.

When I first saw the link to this column in the December 24 issue of Immigration Daily, I assumed that the article would be about the past and anticipated future electoral consequences for the Republicans of its three decades of anti-immigrant policies, including, most recently, the House leadership's blocking reform in 2013. This would have been in line with my own "blogging" in the same Immigration Daily issue.

However, when I read the Washington Times article, it turned out to be just another right wing extremist rant against Latinos.

The gist of Collo's column is that supporting immigration reform (which he refers to by the racist code word "amnesty") will not help the GOP win over Latino voters, because they are supposedly hostile to the Republicans for other reasons, including being anti-capitalist and anti-American.

Collo, (who claims to be the "conscience of a realist", even though both conscience and reality are conspicuous by their absence from his column), quotes Stephen Steinlight, of the notoriously immigrant-hating and misleadingly named Center for Immigration Studies, as follows concerning Republican support for legalization and immigration reform:

"GOP support for these positions doesn't cause Hispanics to vote Republican. The largest amnesty took place under President Reagan, yet Hispanics gave his successor, George H. W. Bush, only 30 per cent of their vote. Despite strong support for amnesty, neither George W. Bush nor John McCain came close to carrying the Hispanic vote."

This CIS "scholar" continues as follows, as quoted in the above article:

"Republicans seem incapable of learning that immigration isn't decisive. Hispanic hostility to the GOP reflects an unbridgeable divide over economic policy and the role of government. Hispanics are anti-capitalist and want a bigger government dispensing larger entitlement."

But Steinlight is not content merely to stigmatize Latinos as "takers" who only want government handouts. He also, in effect calls them anti-American for allegedly refusing to assimilate:

"The scale of Hispanic immigration has created a second Mexican nation within the US. A high percentage spends their lives within a cultural ghetto, a Hispanic archipelago that stretches nationwide, impeding assimilation, most reside in Mexican neighborhoods in informal apartheid."

Of course, no anti-immigrant hate remarks would be complete without expressing support for the openly racist 1924 immigration law which sought to cut off immigration by Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners. and other non-Anglo-Saxon groups, who were considered to be racially inferior according to the prejudices of that time. (Most Asian immigrants were already barred by specific legislation against them enacted previously).

Steinlight is no exception:

"Another factor is the continuous nature of Hispanic immigration. The Great Waves stopped in 1924, giving immigrants 40 years to assimilate."

And in a concluding outburst of bigotry, Steinlight says the following about Latinos:

"Since assimilation is surrender to dominant culture supremacism, they've worked to destroy what promoted it. 'Americanization' classes are unthinkable; public schools no longer teach civics; American history is articulated as an apologia for alleged crimes. They've also banished the normative pluralism that taught immigrants to take pride in their roots but understand that a broader sense of patriotic belonging must be paramount."

It is ironic, that in his career as a supporter of tolerance toward America's Jewish community, Steinlight has strongly condemned xenophobia and nativist racism.

But immigrant-haters tend to have short memories. Steinlight, in his vile anti-Latino attacks dressed up in pseudo-academic language, seems to have forgotten that the canards of alleged refusal (or inability) to assimilate and lack of American patriotism have been used against every immigrant group, from the Irish and Chinese in the 19th Century, to Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans and Asians in the 20th, and most recently, Latinos, Muslims and all immigrants of color in the 21st.

And, despite his commendable work in connection with the Holocaust memorial (according to his biography on the CIS website), Steinlight seems to have forgotten how anti-semitism during the 1930's led to thousands, if not millions, of Jews being denied refuge in the US from Nazi persecution. Many who were turned away from America died in Nazi concentration camps.

The 1924 immigration law which Steinlight now praises belongs without any question to the history of American anti-semitism, as well as hatred of many other "undesirable" and persecuted ethnic groups.

Nor is the resistance to demographic change which Steinlight has expressed in his other writings a service to America's Jewish community, which owes its existence to and has always stood for the fundamental American values of tolerance and racial equality.

While the overwhelming majority of Americans condemn the use of hate against immigrants and support reform, including legalization for 11 million people who are in the US without status, we must not forget that the biggest obstacles to immigration reform are prejudice against and negative stereotypes about Latinos and other minorities, including African-Americans, and not any rational economic or social considerations.

In this sense, anti-immigrant hate groups and their fellow-travelers may be doing the rest of us a service by reminding us of the real reason why immigration reform is being held up in the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives, as we celebrate the Christmas season and prepare to enter the New Year. FELIZ NAVIDAD!