The Chicano View on Mexican Immigration

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During the 1970’s, Mexican Americans were involved in a large social movement called the "Chicano movement." Corresponding with the great development of the black civil rights movement, Mexican Americans began to take part in a series of different social protests in which they demanded equal rights for themselves. Composed mainly of Mexican American students and youth, these activists focused on maintaining a pride for their culture as well as their ethnicity to fuel their political campaign. Left out of this campaign initially though were Mexican immigrants. As is made clear in the writings of David Gutierrez, since the beginning of large amounts of Mexican immigration, Mexican Americans have opposed supporting Mexican immigrants. In fact, Mexican Americans had predominantly been some of the main supporters of immigration reform and sanction. "Historically, much of this concern has been based upon Mexican Americans’ belief that Mexican immigrants undercut their already tenuous socioeconomic position in the United States by depressing wages, competing for employment, housing, and social services, and reinforcing negative stereotypes about "Mexicans" among Anglo-Americans" (Gutierrez, 177). Mexican Americans felt as though this competition was holding them back from growth and development within American society, even though they were citizens. This negativity towards immigrants by Mexican Americans was also sparked by the fact that there were separations and differences between the two groups in "class stratification, regional attachments, and subtle differences in customs and language usage" (Gutierrez, 178). These ideas were strong and were held during some of the Chicano movement, but they were not held throughout it... ... middle of paper ... ...nce the first National Chicano / Latino Conference on Immigration and Public Policy in October of 1977. The conference was sparked by then President Jimmy Carter’s immigration reform legislation which imposed legal sanctions against habitual employers of illegal aliens, and extended legal amnesty to hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in the United States. This somehow began to open the eyes and ears of Mexican Americans, or Chicanos, to the problems involved with Mexican immigrants and their treatment in the United States. Since the unification of these groups and their ideas by the late 1970’s, there has been no turning back for these groups. The efforts of contemporary Chicanos and Latinos for the equal rights of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants have continued to grow stronger together, and have begun to encompass a broader range of issues.

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