Latin Americans in
the American
Political Process
Latino Population
In 2007, by nationality
Puerto Rican
Central/South American
Other Hispanic
Latino Population of the U.S.
by Origin,
South American
All Others
Central American
Cuban 4%
Puerto Rican
Latino Population
Diversity: in educational attainment,
occupational mobility, nationality, socioeconomically, generational status
Disagreement in terms: Hispanic is
preferred on the east coast and Latino on
the west coast
Chicano is a Political/ideological term and
Spanish American is preferred in New
Where Most Latin Americans
Live, 2007
Where Most Latin Americans
Population by Race and Ethnicity, Actual
and Projected: 1960, 2005, and 2050
Latino Population
¾ reside in five states: CA (40%), TX
(19%), NY (9%), FL (8%), IL (4%)
In 1960 constituted 9.6% of L.A. county
population. By 1990, 37.8%
One of every 4 persons living in
poverty in the U.S. is of Hispanic origin
Median Age = 26.6 compared to 36.9
for non-Hispanic white
By 2025, will comprise 19% of U.S.
population. By 2050, 29%
Latino Population
By year 2070 will constitute about 1/3
of U.S. population
Today, approx. 30% speak only or
mostly English
1/3 speak Spanish at work, 60% at
home, ¾ listen to Spanish radio
86% are urban dwellers compared to
73% for total population
Diversity: Culturally, linguistically,
racially, religiously, in assimilation rate
Statistical Portrait of Latinos in the United States, 2007
Households by Income, Race & Ethnicity, 2007
People in
Latino Identity
Panethnicity - refers to a common
identity and sense of solidarity among
Latinos from different nationalities
While there is considerable diversity
among Hispanics, a number of factors
tend to bring the Hispanic community
Latino Identity
1. Language
2. Spanish formatted television stations
3. English and Spanish periodicals aimed at
the Hispanic community
Divisions remain
Multiple subcultures
Mexican vs. Mexican American
Central American vs. South American
Puerto Rican vs. Dominican vs. Cuban
Latino Identity
Cubans vote more Republican
Mexican & Puerto Rican vote more
Varying degrees of affluence, poverty
rates, occupational mobility, social class
among Latinos
Immigrant vs. 2nd or 3rd generation status
Latino Identity
“Color gradient” – recognizing the 22
shades of skin color between black and
Historical amalgamation
national identity
Anglo/Dominant group tends to group all
Latinos together not recognizing
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens
The Language Divide
Bilingualism - involves the use of two or
more languages
Bilingual educational
1. English as a Second Language program
Most common program but most lack a
bicultural basis
2. English immersion program
The Language Divide
Problems in implementing bilingual
1. Lack of teachers to incorporate a
Bicultural approach
2. The number of languages spoken by
children and the lack of qualified teachers
3. Ethnocentrism
Research results on bilingual education
Official Language Movement
The 1980’s and 1990’s saw an increase in
attacks on bilingualism
Decline in Federal support for bilingual
An increase in the number of States that have
passed laws making English the State’s official
California and Proposition 227 end to bilingual
Attacks on bilingual education
Growing Political Presence
Voting rights
Banning literacy tests
In 1975 Congress moved in the direction that
resulted in legislation that provided for
multilingual election ballots in areas with at
least a 5% minority population
Growing Political Presence
Political trends
Increase in registered voters
Increased number that vote
Less commitment to one party
In between major elections, little effort is
made to count Latino interest except by
Latino elected officials
The first Mexican-Americans became Americans
with the Annexation of the Southwest and part of
the Northwest after the Mexican-American war
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848
Under the treaty the new Americans were
guaranteed rights of citizenship, rights to
property and their cultural traditions, including
The loss of land and the lack of legal
protection after the treaty
Land conflict with Anglo ranchers made MexicanAmericans outsiders on their own land
Immigrant Experience
Immigration from Mexico has been continuous in
part because of the proximity of the two borders
Lack of restrictive immigration policy directed
towards Mexicans until the second half of this
The proximity of the two countries and the
maintenance of cultural ties.
Mexican-American immigration both documented
and undocumented is a function of a combination
of push and pull factors
Mexican Revolution conflict and immigration
Mexican immigration has been tied closely to the
economies of Mexico and the United States
Immigrant Experience
Agribusiness interests
Migration patterns to the Midwest and elsewhere
Population growth and immigration
The Great Depression of the 1930’s and the push
for repatriation
The economic effect and personal impact of
repatriation on Mexican-Americans
Demand for labor during World War II and the
bracero program
Conflict between the braceros workers and
Mexican-American workers
Economic competition for jobs and Operation
Wetback and undocumented workers from Mexico
Political Organization
César Chavez and migrant farm
workers movement
Economic and social conditions
La Raza - pride in one’s Spanish,
Native American and Mexican heritage.
Texas La Raza Unida Party
Political Organization
Chicanismo - emerged in part among
Mexican-American college students in
the 1960’s
Chicanismo - influenced by the civil
rights movement
Chicanismo - emphasized political self
determination and ethnic pride
Political Organization
Reies Lopez Tijerina - in 1963 formed
the Alianza Federal de Mercedes
(Federal Alliance of Land Grants)
Purpose of the organization was to
recover lost land
In 1967 Mexican American Legal
Defense and Education Fund was
formed (MALDEF)
Pursue issues through the courts
Maquiladoras - foreign-owned and
established businesses on the
Mexican side of the border
Job exportation from the
manufacturing North in the United
States and the exploitation of
Mexican workers
Migradollars or remittances
The Borderlands
Cuban Americans
Patterns of immigration
Cuban settlements in Florida date
back to the early nineteenth century
Where small communities
organized around single family
Cuban Americans
Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959,
there have been successive groups of
First: About 200,000 came during the
first three years after Castro came into
Second: Freedom flights - another
340,000 came from 1965-1973
Third: Mariel - another 124,000 came in
the freedom flotilla (Mariel controversy)
Fourth: In 1994 - economic push factors
The Present Picture:
Cuban Americans
The influence of Cuban Americans
Miami area
In Urban centers
Generational relations among Cubans
Generational clash between cultures (parent
and child)
Cuba and Cubans
Inter-ethnic relations between Cubans and other
Hispanic’s at times have been strained
Adjustments were made by Cuban immigrants
with the loss of income and family roles
Long-range perspective of Cubans in the U.S.
depends on several factors
Central and South Americas
Central and South Americans came
historically different experiences
and times
culturally diverse backgrounds
Color gradient and race in the United
Central and South Americans
Immigration has been influenced by a
number of push and pull factors
U.S. immigration laws
Social and economic forces in their
home country
War and persecution
Economic deprivation
Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans
Puerto Rico was annexed by the
United States from Spain after the the
Spanish-American War of 1898
Puerto Rico has been a United
States colony since 1898
(Commonwealth Status since 1948)
Puerto Ricans have been subjected
to bureaucratic (Political) control by
the United States
Puerto Ricans
Initial colonial policy had a devastating
on Language
on Puerto Rican cultural institutions
Jones Act of 1917 and United States
Have most rights except do not pay
federal income taxes and do not vote
for President or have voting members
to Congress/Senate
In 1948 it became a commonwealth
Island and the Mainland
A number of push and pull factors have
led to migration from the Island to the
Economic underdevelopment and the
pull of jobs on the mainland
Farm labor contracts
Cheap airfares
Puerto Rican communities (New York
City) on the mainland
Island and the Mainland
Neoricans - term used by The
Islanders to refer to Puerto Ricans
that have lived in New York
Neoricans are often better educated
and have more money than Puerto
Ricans from the Island
Often resented by long time Islanders
Island of Puerto Rico
Commonwealth status and
Issues of Statehood and Self-Rule
In 1998 in the last vote over the issue
50% favored commonwealth status , 47%
statehood and 3% favored independence
Only Puerto Ricans on the Island may
NAFTA and growing competition with
Mexico and Canada for United States
The debate goes on….
Political Issues
Puerto Rican Legal Defense &
Education Fund - PRLDEF
Educational status and issues
Increasing segregation
1. Function of residential segregation in
large metropolitan areas
2. Increase in population as
desegregation movement began to
3. Desegregated schools have become
Demographic Trends in Jail
Between 1990 and
2008, the number of
Hispanic jail inmates
increased at a faster
average annual rate
of growth (4.5%)
than white (3.8%)
and black inmates
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Correctional survey
Present View
Many immigrants have problems because
they came to the United States without the
proper documents
Many were professionals and had to adjust
to downward mobility
lower status jobs
Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 Brain drain
Ending Segregation with Mendez v. Westminster
Isolation in the classroom because of tracking
(placing students in specific classes or
curriculum groups on the basis of testing or other
Educational effect of tracking
Bilingual educational programs
Higher education
Adjusting to college and campus life dominated
by Whites
Dealing with prejudice
Economic cost of college
Statistical Portrait of Latinos in the United States, 2007
Educational Attainment by Race & Ethnicity, 2007
Research by The Tomas Rivers
Policy Institute (TRPI) has shown that
college financial aid opportunities
abound in the form of scholarships,
grants, and loans.
Yet many Latino students and their
parents are not aware that numerous
grants and scholarships are
earmarked especially for them.
California Latino Youth Perceptions
of College Financial Aid
98% of respondents felt it was important to have a
college education
38% of respondents did not feel the benefits of college
outweigh the cost
Over half of all respondents erroneously thought
students have to be U.S. citizens to apply for college
financial aid
Few respondents could accurately estimate the cost of
attending either a UC or the CSU
There is a lack of familiarity with government grants
for education
Tomas Rivers Policy Institute, June 2006 study
Latinos And Education: Explaining
the Attainment Gap
Nearly nine-in-ten
(89%) Latino youths
say that a college
education is important
for success in life
Yet only about half that
number (48%) say that
they themselves plan to
get a college degree
Nearly 74% of respondents who cut their
education short during or right after high school
say they did so to support the family
National survey conducted Aug.5 to Sept. 16, 2009 by Pew Hispanic Center
Hispanic community lack of access to
healthcare resources
Function of poverty and employment
Use of folk practitioners - traditional
folk remedies or curanderismo
Form of holistic medicine
Religion is the most important formal
organization in the Hispanic community
Roman Catholic church
Early on, took an assimilation role
Today, more community oriented
Hispanic role in the church has grown
Worship (more expressive)
Hispanics underrepresented in the clergy
Pentecostalism—Evangelical Christianity
within Hispanic American communities
Latino/Hispanic Political Activists and Interest Groups
Cuban American National Council (CANC)
Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)
Committee for Cuban Democracy (CCD)
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)
Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR)
Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
Latin American Defense Organization (LADO)
Latin Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Latino National Political Survey (LNPS)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Latinos United for Political Rights (LUPA)
Mexican American Legal Defense an Education Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Bilingual Educators (NABE)
National Association of Hispanic Dentists (NAHD)
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC)
Puerto Rican Legal Defense an Education Fund (PRLDEF)
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP)
United Farm Workers (UFW)
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
Hispanic Political Action Committees
NDN PAC (New Democrat Network-Hispanic Strategy Center)
Hispanic Action Committee
Hispanic CEO PAC
Hispanic Democratic Organization
Hispanic PAC USA
Hispanic Unity USA
Peace & Justice Hispanic PAC
Latina Roundtable PAC
Latino Alliance
Latino Citizens for Respect
Latina PAC
Latinos for America PAC (Non-profit)
Honor PAC
Building Our Leadership Diversity PAC
Intergroup Relations Continuum
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Hispanic Americans - El Camino College Compton Center