Immigration is a major issue in the United States today. Latino Americanos often express interest in this issue because of its direct impact on their families, schools, jobs, communities and governmental affairs.
Latinos are Indigenous Americans whose ancestors suffered for centuries under European invaders and occupiers intent on stealing their lands and freedoms. Their native roots tie Latinos to Native Americans throughout the Western Hemisphere, traditionally, culturally and genetically. They remain attached, to their ancestral lands and freedoms, even though robbed of them by the foreign invaders and their offspring.
Latino “immigrants” bring their languages, cultures and traditions with them from their native lands, and this adds to the sense of kinship or affinity many U.S. Latinos have with new arrivals, many who are refugees. This natural phenomena makes it difficult to separate the two distinct groups of Latinos in the U.S. — immigrants and non-immigrants — when discussing the immigration issue, even though most U.S. Latinos are not “immigrants,” nor do they consider themselves foreigners anywhere in their native Americas and Caribbean Islands, like Euro-Americans are.
There are an estimated 942 million people in the Americas and Caribbean Islands: 346 million in North America, 200 million in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands, and 396 million in South America (see http://www,nationsonline.org/oneworld/america.htm). Spanish-speaking Latinos are thus the majority population of the Western Hemisphere (see http://www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/), and the majority of immigrants in North America, while Spanish is their dominant language.
Latinos are not a singular race, color or nationality. Latinos include multilingual people from all the races, colors, nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, religions and creeds in the world. Because most U.S. Latinos are bicultural and bilingual (Spanish/English), they have helped build bridges of understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are around 52 million Latinos in the U.S. today. About 37 million of these Latinos speak Spanish, and over half of those fluent in Spanish also speak English. The total population is expected to grow to about 132 million U.S. Latinos by 2050. An estimated 63% of U.S. Latinos are of Mexican ancestry, 9.2% Puerto Rican, 3.5% Cuban, 3.3% Salvadoran, 2.8% Dominican and 18.2% Others. (See http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/ cb12-ff19.html )
Over 50% of the total U.S. Latino population lives in California, Texas and Florida (see http://www.census.gov/popest/data/state/asrh/2011/index.html). Almost five million Latinos live in Los Angeles alone (see a href=”http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf”>http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf). While most Latinos in California and Texas are of Mexican descent, most Latinos in Florida are of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent (see
The time has come for the U.S. government to reverse course re immigration reform, especially as it relates to Latino immigrants. Instead of clashing over these problems from election-to-election, all the good citizens of the U.S., and of the rest of the Western Hemisphere, should learn to live, work, study, travel and conduct business and commerce freely throughout this region, like European Union (EU) citizens do within their nations.
The Americas and Caribbean Islands need an international union (like EU) to tackle their major problems, including human trafficking, drug cartels, community, business, economic, commercial and industrial development, terrorism, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, hunger, homelessness, sickness, disease, natural disasters and unsustainable environments. Regarding immigration, law-abiding citizens in this proposed new union would be able to live, work, study, travel and conduct business and commerce freely throughout the Western Hemisphere, as EU citizens do over there.
Several Latin American countries are working, as a bloc (CELAC) with EU, today. The Rio Group stands out as the most active and promising international alliance of sovereign states in the Americas and Caribbean Islands that includes: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. Also known as the “Community of Latin American and Caribbean States” (CELAC), the Rio Group meets with the European Union every two years on a ministerial level.
CELAC, the U.S. and Canada are not working together well, at this time. CELAC was established as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional body organized largely by Washington DC, in 1948 that has focused primarily on U.S. interests.
The following blocs have worked to integrate much of Latin America for economic and political purposes without an overall union:
– Latin American Integration Association (known as ALADI or, occasionally, by the English acronym LAIA)
– Central American Integration System (Spanish: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana SICA)
– Mercosur or Mercosul (Spanish: Mercado Común del Sur, Portuguese: Mercado Comum do Sul,
Guaraní: Ñemby Ñemuha, English: Common Southern Market)
– Organization of American States (OAS)
– Union of South American Nations (Dutch: Unie van Zuid-Amerikaanse Naties – UZAN, Portuguese:
União de Nações Sul-Americanas – UNASUL, Spanish: Unión de Naciones Suramericanas – UNASUR)
– Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Spanish: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos
y Caribeños, CELAC, Portuguese: Comunidade de Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos, French:
Communauté des États Latino-Américains et Caribéens)
– Andean Community (Spanish: Comunidad Andina – CAN)
The Caribbean Community at http://caricom.org/ (CARICOM) brings together 15 states in the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. There is also discussion about a more exclusive North American Union (NAU) between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
All the above blocs, organizations and initiatives aimed at uniting various states in the Americas and Caribbean Islands lack overall unity, coordination, commonality and cohesion. Some even work against each other, to the detriment of their own citizens. Clearly, a more perfect union is needed to bring all nations of the Western Hemisphere together, as one Union, so they can work out their differences in a stable, peaceful and civil setting, and tackle the major problems they each and together face in strategic, coordinated and effective ways.