University of California Riverside ethnic studies professor warned of an impending war between United States and Mexico at a lecture sponsored by the Chicana/o Sudies Department, Feb. 25 at Sierra Hall.
Dr. Armando Navarro asked an audience of more than 70 what position they would take should the United States wage a war with Mexico while promoting his latest book, ‘The Immigration Crisis.’
‘We’re in a critical junction as it relates to immigration. The focus will be on militarization of the border,’ said Navarro.
‘When a country has a military industrial complex,’ said Navarro who served in the U.S. Army. ‘It’s a very dangerous situation for the rest of the world.’
Navarro reiterated the importance of organizing throughout the nearly two-hour lecture because it’s important for organizations advocating for comprehensive immigration reform to pressure the current administration into making it a priority.
‘Are we as Chicanos and Latinos organizing as a fist or still extending the hand of friendship?’
Navarro said an immigration crisis is akin to an economic crisis, prevalent all over the world.’ Regardless of how widespread the issue may be, ‘to be poor here is better than to be poor in Mexico, Central America.’
‘When you want to have the rich, you’ve got to have the poor,’ Navarro said. ‘The prevalence of poverty is a crisis of capitalism.”
‘The issue of immigration has been a constant struggle in the U.S. and Mexico,’ said Stepahie Barahona, 21, political science major. ‘But when the U.S. addresses it, it’s seen as a Latin American issue and not as a global issue.’
She added that this view promotes the use of scapegoats.
Navarro said the U.S. economy depends on having cheap labor, but it’s a country that ‘has a large history of exploitation of the new comers.’
Adding that the guiding principle of U.S. policy has always been ‘manifest destiny.’
Immigration is a result of ‘push-and-pull’ factors, said Navarro, lack of jobs or a minimum wage of $5 a day, force people to migrate.’
‘They’re not going to stop the influx; (the United States) builds fences, we know how to bridge it.’
The book, he said, documents the ‘pro migrante movimento’ (pro migrant movement) and also its’ decline and eventual dwindling.’ ‘
David Rodriguez, Chicana/o Studies department chair, said the book is very timely. ‘It deals with a course of problems that’s not alleviated. Many people want (undocumented immigrants) thrown out. Others want better wages and conditions.’
Rodriguez said the immigrants provide valuable services in agricultural work, manufacturing and housing; though, the weak economy increasingly contributes to the growing numbers of displaced workers. Many face human rights issues, pay issues, and other conditions under the threat of deportation.
‘People are looking for some comprehensive reform,’ Rodriguez said.