MARCH 23, 2011
Amid heated immigration debates, members of Congress are being asked to sign a pledge acknowledging the economic, civic and cultural contributions of Latinos and opposing “irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric” that “dehumanizes” them.The contract is part of the “Pledge for Respect” campaign launched this month by the politically-connected National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which bills itself as the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. The influential Mexican group receives millions of federal tax dollars annually to promote its leftist, open-borders agenda and has hundreds of branches throughout the nation.NCLR leaders regularly attend congressional hearings as well as White House meetings and President Obama hired one of the group’s top officials (Cecilia Munoz) to serve in his administration. The commander-in-chief even violated his own lobbyist ban to make Munoz director of intergovernmental affairs even though she supervised all legislative and advocacy activities on the state and local levels for the NCLR, which is headquartered in Washington D.C.With that said, this isn’t merely a publicity stunt for the powerful NCLR, which is pushing the respect campaign as part of this year’s National Latino Advocacy Days. The idea is to reinforce that the Hispanic community is an integral part of the fabric of America, according to the group, which is also using the opportunity to denounce politicians who use Latinos to exploit xenophobia for political gain.The contract also forces members of Congress to promise that they’ll meet with advocates and leaders from the Hispanic nonprofit (that would include the NCLR) and business communities to hear their perspective on the “issues.” That way they could find a common ground based on “shared values and interests.”To launch its respect campaign the NCLR enlisted a Los Angeles hip-hop band named after the Aztec astrological symbol of the monkey (Ozomatli). In a public service ad, members of the musical group claim that some candidates for public office have called for landmines on the U.S.-Mexico border and microchips to be implanted in undocumented immigrants. Others have used “stereotypical and menacing images of Latinos in their campaign ads.”The message goes on to say that elected officials and states have fashioned “extreme draconian” proposals against the immigrant and Latino communities, including the elimination of ethnic studies programs in public schools, forcing publicly-funded hospitals to ask for patients’ immigration status and stripping U.S. citizenship from children born to illegal aliens. “It’s time to tell Congress that we won’t stand for this anymore. We need to know who is with us and who is against us! “
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