Civil rights and immigration

In discussing prejudicial and civil rights movements in regards to new immigration, it is imperative to understand prejudices and civil rights of the groups that make up new immigrants.

Immigration levels in the United States are high, with most immigrants of Latin American or Asian origin.  Based on Census predictions, by the year 2030, “one out of four U.S. residents will be either Hispanic or Asian in ethic makeup.” (Frey, 1999)  Asian and Latin American immigrants tend to gravitate towards metropolitan areas that United States residents are not as interested in as they once were.  This is largely due to “strong family reunification traditions in the U.S. immigration laws, and the need for co-nationals from countries with similar backgrounds, languages and cultures to live in communities where they will receive both social and economic support.” (Frey, 1999)

Asians today, even with such a large variety of immigrant and cultural knowledge, still face anti-racism, including prejudices and acts of discrimination.  After the brutal murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, the Asian American community formed many organizations and coalitions “whose purpose was to monitor how Asian Americans were treated and to mobilize any and all resources available to fight for justice.” (Asian-Nation, 2006)

Dating back to 1882, Asian immigrants suffered from immigration and naturalization discrimination.  The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s led Asian groups to start the Asian American Movement.

“The Movement, as it was popularly called, was primarily the result of the convergence of two historical developments: (1) the emergence of a generation of college-age Asian Americans and (2) the public protests surrounding the Vietnam War.” (Fulgado, 2003)

The Immigration Act of October 3, 1965 removed any discrimination against Asian American immigration.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited political discrimination and discrimination in schools, employment and public places.

Latin Americans suffer from similar discrimination as Asian Americans, in areas such as education and politics.  The Chicano Movement was part of the American Civil Rights Movement.  It led to the formation of The League of United Latin American Citizens, which was the first civil rights organization formed for Hispanic Americans.  It sought justice and equality, but also for establishing a wide variety of education goals, such as the development of bilingual programs.

Until the end of the 1950s, The League of United Latin American Citizens was an organization that promoted Hispanic assimilation into the white culture.  After that period, civil movements changed the organization.  The League now works to expand affirmative action programs, remove discrimination against immigrants, encourage legalization of illegal immigrants.

“At the heart of revolutionary struggles is always the often fraught relationship between political parties, mass movements and the states.” (Nzimande, 2006)