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Political Issues Regarding the Hispanic Population

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Political Issues Regarding the Hispanic Population Courtney Warner ETH/125 Cultural Diversity Instructor Michelle Ward Saturday May 8, 2010 Political Issues Mexican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Dominican Americans have separate cultures but both include strong family bonds and religious beliefs. These cultural groups are classified into the Hispanic American category because they share the Spanish language. “Although these groups share the same language each group has a different dialect and origin. Cuban and Dominican Americans have made the greatest developments in the social and political stand point.

Puerto Rican Americans have made progress on the homeland in the economic view. While some groups resist assimilation into the American lifestyle, others have embraced it. ” (Alba, 2006).

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Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican Americans have many resemblances but still remain separate in their ethnicity and are descendants from a variety of immigrants. The main reason for these groups immigrating to the United States was for a safe environment free of political issues occurring in their countries and to seek a better way of life.

Mexican Americans have attained both social and economic status, broken the language barrier, and achieved legal status in the United States. Most Mexicans that come to America are looking to work hard and overcome the obstacles they faced politically and economically in Mexico. The political issues facing Mexicans are typically the same as any foreign immigrant. Voting is a challenge. The voting of the Hispanic population is down because the majority of Mexicans are not legal citizens which prevent them from voting. According to the Census Bureau (2008), it is estimated that 1. 7 to 2. million percent of the United States population is illegal immigrants. The Hispanic population has not obtained political power equal to its proportion of population. Through years of protests and debates bilingual voting is now an option for counties with large numbers of non American speaking citizens. Bilingual education is also another very important political issue in the Mexican community. Originally schools in America only taught one language with the exception of extra credit language courses. With the rising number of immigrants the school boards in heavily populated Mexican communities are now offering bilingual classes.

Immigration laws are also a constant debate with Hispanic members. After years of failed attempts at passing new immigration laws, with the new Obama administration hopes are high that immigration reform will be put back on the national agenda. English is the primary language of Puerto Rican Americans. English is taught in Puerto Rican elementary schools since Puerto Rico is commonwealth of the United States. Even though Puerto Rica is considered commonwealth it still has its own constitution, legislature, and governor but is subject to the rules and regulations of the United States.

The commonwealth status allows all Puerto Ricans American citizenship, making them migrants not immigrants. Puerto Rican American assimilation has been both successful and problematic. Puerto Ricans living in the United States and Puerto Rico are still experiencing issues with drug use and crime. Lack of educational opportunities and failure in family structures are also causing struggles in the Puerto Rican population. The political involvement of Puerto Ricans and other minorities in the United States is small in comparison to their population size.

Less than half of the Puerto Rican population has taken advantage of their voting privileges. Once Puerto Ricans become more settled as residents, they start to participate in politics. For most Puerto Rican residents their primary concern is to search for better economic conditions rather than become a member of a political party. The majority of these immigrants that chose this route are non-English speaking and not able to join or participate in an election. Instead, the immigrants are more likely to become members of religious organizations because they are accustomed to these religious ways in their country.

Religion plays a major role in family and political life. Recent discussion amongst Puerto Rican government officials is pushing for Puerto Rico to become a legitimate U. S. state. Cuban Americans have asserted themselves politically and economically in the Miami, Florida area and are becoming the dominant ethnic community. In Florida this is where the most noteworthy Cuban American political organizations, research centers, and cultural institutions exist. Between 1989 and 1990, 78% of Cuban Americans registered to vote in comparison to 49. 3% of Mexican Americans, and 49. 9% of Puerto Ricans.

Cuban Americans also seem to have a better economic security than other Hispanic groups. The average Cuban American income in 1986 was roughly $26,700 which was more than $6,700 for all Hispanic households. Cuban Americans are also highly educated; a vast majority has completed either college or graduate schooling. Cuban Americans are noted to be conservative politically and tend to vote for the Republican Party. The most important political organization in the Cuban American community is the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). This organization is dedicated to restructuring U. S. olicy toward Cuba and removing Castro from Cuba. The CANF is also responsible for raising money for political purposes and lobbying elected officials. There has been much progress made in the Cuban American’s political role, they elected Cuban Americans to Congress and dominated the local political scene in the Miami area. However, the core issues still remain in the political debate of Cuban Americans; migration, Castro, and U. S. Republicanism. Dominicans view education to be a primary concern. Dominicans in the United States have fought one of their most important political battles over education.

It was in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, that they organized together to voice to the local board of education. The school board consisted of no Dominican citizens but the school itself had a majority or Dominican school agers. The Dominicans protested to put a Dominican on board and they were successful in their motives. This began the political mobilization for Dominicans in the education arena. Other important political issue’s the U. S. Dominican community is concerned with is the status of undocumented migrants into the United States, citizenship status, and the police violence towards Dominicans.

There have been several organizations and lobbies created to achieve these rights. As of now, Dominicans have not been involved in National politics, but have made efforts at local levels. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) is a research, policy, and education organization dedicated to “developing and implementing programs that promote the integration of Latino immigrants into American society, developing future leaders among Latino youth, providing assistance and training to the nation’s Latino elected and appointed officials and … conducting research on issues important to the Latino population”.

With the recent election of an African American into U. S. Presidency demonstrates how our society has evolved. The important fact to understand is not that we have a black president, but we have come to terms and not dismiss a candidate based on race. WE need to consider other important issues like this election has brought understanding that new opportunities have been made available for minorities in the political world. Our modern day society is beginning to change by taking positive steps in the right direction.

References Alba, R. (2006). Mexican Americans and the American dream. Political Science & Politics_. American Political Science Association. _ Retrieved April 30, 2009 from http://www. apsanet. org/imgtest/PerspectivesJun06Alba. pdf Ballasy, N. (2010). Top Puerto Rican Government Leaders Argue for Statehood on Capitol Hill. Retrieved from http://www. cnsnews. com/news/article/65006 Countries and Their Cultures. (2009). Multicultural America. Retrieved from http://www. everyculture. om/multi/index. html Mongillo, I. (2010) Yale-New Haven Teacher Institute. Puerto Rican Cultural Differences in Politics. Retrieved http://www. yale. edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1980/6/80. 06. 08. x. html NALEO Educational Fund. (2010). Action Urgently Needed on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. http://www. naleo. org/ Pew Hispanic Center (2010). Key Issues for Hispanic Voters Include Education, Economy and Health Care. Retrieved from http://pewhispanic. org/newsroom/releases/release. php?

ReleaseID=14 Pew Research Center Survey (2006). Chapter 7: Ideology and Policy Issues. Retrieved from http://pewhispanic. org/files/reports/75. 7. pdf Reshaping politics. Economist, 00130613, 1/9/2010, Vol. 394, Issue 8664 Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=47437302&site=ehost-live Schaefer, R. (2006). Hispanic Americans. Week Seven Reading: Chapter 9. Retrieved from ETH/125—Cultural Diversity website. References Insert References Here.

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