Ten thousand took to the streets the other day to protest the rounding up of aparently illegal imigrants in and around the Inland Empire by la migra. How long will it be before the soccer fields of East Long Beach, the Slater neighborhood of Huntington Beach or Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley become the next targets for the present administration? Might not be long, given the stance of the area's congressman.
According to the Congressman in the 46th District, Dana Rohrabacher, in his testimony in support of a recent bill of his, immigrants are "the greatest threat" to our nation. Yep. Not terrorists. Not AIDS. Not North Korea. It's those pupuserias that are really scary. And that guy selling mangos and pineapple on the corner of Pacific and Aneheim in Long Beach, too. He is really, really scary. Almost as scary as the janitor downstairs.
That is how Dana Rohrabacher sees things. He is the jolly fellow who proposed that hospital emergency rooms verify the citizenship of anyone who stops by for treatment. So, if Dana gets his way, your ten year old needing stitches from that slide into second base at the softball game is going to need her birth certificate. And be ready for fingerprinting and data entry into the United States Department of Homeland Insecurtiy database, too.
As it turned out, even the most right wing Republicoids in nearby districts voted this one down. What Dana doesnt know is that the percentage of Latino voters in places like Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, and Huntington Beach are more than enough to send him packing back to his home in Huntington Beach. Except he doesent have one (he bragged that his children are being raised back east and that he does not live in the District: this after being asked if he had immigrant helpers in his home).
So, we should send him somewhere besides Washington. At the moment, there is a good chance it can happen. A moderate Democrat, a former Marine, a man who has demonstrated his concern for all parts of the Coastal 46th may just give Dana a chance to use some of his congressional frequent flier miles on another vacation to surf in Europe (Dana likes to surf but the beach in Huntington is in nasty shape, no thanks to Dana's 5% pro-Environmental voting record). So the next time the roundups begin, remember who brought them to a city park or street corner near you: elected xenophobes like Dana. And if you want it to stop, register to vote and make sure that candidates like Jim Brandt in the 46th district get your support.
Ken C. Erickson, Ph.D.:
Ken Erickson, an applied anthropologist in LA, China, and Venezuela. http://www.paceth.com. He is working on a training event in China, and a documentary film about AIDS prevention and street hustlers in Shanghai.