If a group of United States citizens trekked to another country, formed an organization called “The Race,” which demanded open borders, unfettered immigration and citizenship, billions of dollars for bilingual education, health care, housing, job and wage guarantees, and anti-discrimination protection, they would likely soon be jailed or deported in a display of righteous sovereign indignation. But the National Council of La Raza engages in all these activities in the United States, and it receives taxpayer dollars to help promote its radical views.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a member of La Raza. That membership and her own statements have led to many challenges to her suitability for the High Court. Critics of the organization and its goals have frequently been labeled as racists, but that didn’t stop former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.) from calling La Raza a leftist radical group “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”
La Raza, founded in 1968 by Raul Yzaguirre, takes its name from “La Raza Cosmica,” a phrase coined by Mexican scholar Jose Vasconcelos. The English translation, and the first definition found in Spanish/English dictionaries, for “la raza” is “the race.” Contrary to La Raza’s contention that the phrase means “the people,” or “the community,” the Spanish for those phrases are “la gente,” and “la comunidad.”
In 2005, La Raza received $15.2 million in federal grant money for charter schools and get-out-the-vote campaigns and in 2006 got another $4 million in congressional earmarks for housing reform. The organization’s financial statements for 2008 show that it received another $5.1 million in federal grants, and holds assets worth $97.4 million. La Raza has received more than $30 million from the federal government since 1996.
The Council of La Raza arranged to have its voice included in congressional hearings by House and Senate leaders and garnered an extra $4 million in federal tax funds earmarked by an anonymous senator in 2007 while continuing to lobby for open borders, driver’s licenses for illegals, and amnesty leading to citizenship for all illegal immigrants in the country.
Many of Mexico’s leading politicians encourage the takeover of sovereign U.S. property, and La Raza encourages those statements, while offering advice about avoiding the terms “illegals” and “amnesty.” Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Mexicans in a state of the nation address that “Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.” In 1995, President Ernesto Zedillo told a group of U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent in Dallas that “You are Mexicans, Mexicans who live North of the border,” suggesting they owed a higher allegiance to Mexico than the United States. Zedillo brought a 1997 La Raza gathering in Chicago to its feet in applause when he said that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders. All those statements accord with the accusations of the colonialism that the U.S. is constantly accused of pursuing by its enemies.
La Raza endorsed the 2007 Citizenship Promotion Act, introduced by then-Sen. Barack Obama. The purpose of this act was to limit the costs of applying to become a citizen of the United States, but another provision of the bill would have distributed $80 million to pro-illegal immigration organizations, some of which are suspected of having links to the Mexican government.
In the name of diversity, La Raza encourages Latinos to cling to the language and customs of their home country after becoming citizens of the U.S. Those not “brown enough” are derided, as was Linda Chavez when she was considered for the position of Labor secretary under President George W. Bush. Rather than taking pride in the accomplishments of a female of Hispanic descent, critics mocked her as “the Hispanic who doesn’t speak Spanish.” While Chavez was under fire, the National Hispanic Leadership Association, an umbrella group representing 40 different Hispanic groups, including La Raza, condemned the federal Office of Personnel Management for failing to promote and hire Hispanics.
Obama laid claim to the Hispanic vote in a 2007 speech before the La Raza Council in which he said, “Find out how many senators appeared before an immigration rally last year. Who was talking the talk, and who walked the walk — because I walked.” Obama characterized the 2007 Senate debate on immigration as “ugly and racist” and promised to make amnesty a priority of his presidency.
In the 2006 demonstrations Obama marched in, protestors carried signs reading, “Gringo Go Home,” and “This Is Our Land, Not Yours.” American flags were burned and desecrated by Hispanics wearing Che Guevara T-shirts and carrying Mexican flags while waving Communist and anarchist banners. La Raza advised the organizers of the 2007 demonstrations held in 40-plus cities to keep such incendiary symbols to a minimum.
To gain Hispanic support for his presidential bid, in 2007 Obama voted against amendments that would have facilitated the deportation of illegal immigrant gang members, convicted criminals, and terrorists. He also voted against legislation to enable state and local law enforcement officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status, then twice co-sponsored, but failed to get passage of, La Raza-backed legislation that would have granted citizenship and education benefits to minor illegal aliens and amnesty for their extended families. The border, national security and immigration policies that La Raza and Obama support, along with the healthcare and social welfare programs needed to accommodate the increase in immigration they are promoting, would mean spending and tax hikes that critics predict could bankrupt the American middle class. Spending on undocumented immigrants in the four states bordering Mexico now totals more than $200 million each year.
La Raza, through a network of 300 affiliates in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, says that it “advocates on behalf of the entire Latino population regardless of immigration status.”
Much has already been said about the Sotomayor’s much-quoted statement about “a wise Latina woman” being better qualified to serve as a judge. President Barak Obama and his staff have downplayed Sotomayor’s statement, its meaning and context, but few have focused on her opening remarks in that same speech in which she said: “I intend tonight to touch upon the themes that this conference will be discussing this weekend and to talk to you about my Latina identity, where it came from, and the influence I perceive it has on my presence on the bench.”
The White House characterized Sotomayor’s comments as an off-the-cuff misstatement that has been taken out of context, but the prepared text of the full speech makes a mockery of that attempt to spin attention away from the meaning and intent of her words. The speech was written for and delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law’s Judge Mario G. Olmos Memorial Lecture and later printed in the La Raza Law Journal for a symposium on “Raising the Bar: Latino and Latina Presence in the Judiciary and the Struggle for Representation.”
Sotomayor has also served on the board of directors of the Latino Justice/Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund which, like La Raza, also opposes enforcing immigration laws, securing the border and supports amnesty for those already in this country illegally.