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Racist Attacks on Mexican-American’s National Anthem Performance Reflect GOP Blinders

| June 20, 2013

Sebastien de la Cruz

Sebastien de la Cruz

By Raul Reyes

Before game three of the recent NBA Finals in San Antonio, Sebastien de la Cruz stepped up to the microphone and belted out the National Anthem. Decked out in his mariachi suit, the 11-year-old “America’s Got Talent” alum wowed the crowd with his singing.

Raul Reyes

Raul Reyes

On social media, racism reared its head. “This lil Mexican snuck into the country like 4 hours ago now he is singing the anthem,” read a tweet that formed part of an online river of hate. “This kid is Mexican why is he singing the national anthem,” tweeted another commenter, adding the hashtag #gohome.

It’s sad that a child should become the target of such ugly, anti-immigrant sentiment. However, these views didn’t arise in a vacuum. The fact is that Republican lawmakers have become accustomed to demonizing immigrants, to the detriment of our civil discourse and to their own party. Meanwhile, our nation continues to grow more diverse, putting the GOP out of step with a changing America.

After the 2012 presidential election, in which Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama, the smart approach for the GOP would have been to adopt a more inclusive tone towards Latinos in particular and immigrants in general. That’s not what happened.

In May, Representative Don Young (R-AK) used the term “wetbacks” in a radio interview. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) routinely refers to undocumented people by the pejorative term “illegals.” Recently, Representative Steve King (R-IA) complained about the “illegal aliens” who “invaded” his office, in reference to the young, undocumented immigrants who organized a protest there.

The young people were protesting in King’s office because he sponsored a bill to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to adjust their status. King and his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives passed the anti-DACA measure knowing full well it has zero chance of becoming law.

Why? Because they have no qualms about being seen as openly hostile to immigrants. Moreover, House Republicans remain opposed to comprehensive immigration reform.

These narrow views put them outside of the political mainstream. A recent New York Times poll found that 83 percent of Americans support comprehensive reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented. The anti-immigrant crowd is also bringing down their party. The research firm Latino Decisions has found that when Republican politicians speak negatively about immigrants, it doesn’t only reflect poorly on them, it gives Hispanic voters a negative view of the Republican Party as well.

other-wordsAs Republican lawmakers continue with this rhetoric, our country is undergoing a demographic shift. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time, the number of racial and ethnic minority babies being born has passed that of white babies. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas are already “minority-majority” states, and eight other states will join this list by 2020.

If the GOP does not soon adopt a “big tent” approach, it risks marginalizing itself as a national party.


Yes, the changing face of the U.S. may seem frightening to some people. But the GOP shouldn’t play upon these fears — it should help dispel them. Consider that the Pew Hispanic Center has found that Latino immigrants assimilate and learn English just like every other group before them. Or even that the pint-sized mariachi crooner de la Cruz was born in Texas — the son of a U.S. Navy veteran.

This story has a happy ending. The San Antonio Spurs invited de la Cruz back a second time, to sing the National Anthem at game four of the NBA Finals. Everyone from President Barack Obama to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria wished him well, and he nailed his encore performance.

With determination and confidence, young Sebastien triumphed over bigotry. What could be more American than that?

Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City.

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21 Responses for “Racist Attacks on Mexican-American’s National Anthem Performance Reflect GOP Blinders”

  1. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The same bigoted Republicans some how put away their hoods and suspended their cross burnings long enough to vote for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, in border states no less, how could that be? Did I miss the part of the article where the horrible tweets were actually sent by Republican law makers? Al Gore Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act, Robert Byrd was a Klans-man, does that mean all Democrats must therefore be bigots? But even that’s not really comparable, as those two were actually members of the democrat party, nobody really knows who these idiot tweeters are or what their party affiliation is.

    The author claims “House Republicans remain opposed to comprehensive immigration reform”, but that’s simply not true. The house republicans demand border security and enforcement of current immigration laws be the first step towards immigration reform, but apparently in the author’s view anything short of instant citizenship, is bigotry.

  2. Pcmommy says:

    I dot think many people have a problem with legal immigrants at all. I do, however, have issue with immigrants who break the law of the land and take benefit of this country without going through the proper procedure.

    If you want a drivers license, want to vote, run for office or apply for food stamps in this country, you must obtain it through legal means. If you do not follow hose legal means you are here illegally. For over 200 years we have had laws established for securing our borders and processing foreigners. Be diverse, that can be great, but illegally entry… It’s illegal.

    If an American citizen attempts to board a US Aircraft without a ticket or wihout the proper channels, we would be arrested, interrogated, potentially placed on a no-fly list, face litigation and be treated as a terrorist. Yet with this amnesty bill, ILLEGALS that we have not processed, will be allowed to “board the plane” without tickets and baggage fees that everyone else paid. This is an injustice! This is inequality! This is illegal! This is potentially unsafe! What a slap in the face I paying “travelers”.

    • Geezer says:

      What does this have to do with the little kid singing the anthem?
      My God – even an innocent child professing his loyalty to the USA triggers a racist response
      from people like you, albeit a veiled one.

      When you hear of racist filth such as this – you’re supposed to distance yourself.
      YOU CONDEMN IT. You don’t attempt to rationalize it.
      Gee wiz, and you’re a “Mommy?” It’s a child for God’s sake.

      DISGUSTING.

    • Magnolia says:

      Well said, PCMommy. I think we can all agree that this little boy is precious and adorable.

      People are upset. We need to be more understanding without taking offense. We work this out as a nation, not as a President or a Congress….both who are so woefully out of touch with America. None of this would be happening if you had just enforced our laws. So stop trying to divide the country.

      We are not racists, we do not have immigrants. We expect you to come legally.

    • I/M/O says:

      “For over 200 years we have had laws established for securing our borders and processing foreigners”

      Before 1892 the only federal law in place as to arriving immigrants was a Ship’s Captain had to submit the ship manifest of passengers to the U.S. Congress after the ship arrived and the passengers had disembarked.

      Trust me the federal government was not looking at the names just counting heads between censuses. They needed the information as to controlling land grants under the Homestead Acts. There were only so many 640 acre lots available in the territories for new farms.

    • I/M/O says:

      This is Hillary Clinton’s Grandfather’s family living in England in 1881.
      Jonathan Rodham 37
      Isabella Simpson Rodham 31
      Thomas Bell Rodham 12
      Margaret Rodham 10
      Isabella Simpson Rodham 8
      Joseph Rodham 6
      William Robt. Rodham 4
      Jonathan Rodham 3
      Hugh Rodham 1

      This is Hillary Clinton’s Grandfather’s family on the 1900 Census in Pennsylvania. Her Dad is Hugh Clinton.
      Jonathan Rodham 56
      Isabella S Rodham 50
      Margarett Rodham 29
      Joseph Rodham 25
      William R Rodham 24
      Hugh Rodham 20
      Elizabeth Rodham 18
      Robert B Rodham 16
      Wade Rodham 14
      Ethel Rodham 12
      George B Rodham 10

      The 1900 Census tells us that the Grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in 1881.
      “Immigration Year: 1881”

      The 1900 census tells us that the wife and children followed by immigrating in 1882.
      “Immigration Year: 1882”

      The 1900 U.S. Census and the 1881 Census of Engalnd also tells us that Hilllary Clinton’s father
      Hugh Clinton was born in England in 1879.

      This is the ship manifest information for Hillary Clinton’s Dad entering the U.S. in 1882.
      Name: Hugh Rodham
      Arrival Date: 9 Oct 1882
      Birth Date: abt 1880
      Age: 2
      Gender: Male
      Ethnicity/ Nationality: English
      Place of Origin: England
      Port of Departure: Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland
      Destination: United States of America
      Port of Arrival: New York, New York
      Ship Name: Alaska

      Now please show me any documentation that the U.S. government gave permission to the Rodham family to immigrate into the United States. Don’t bother to look there is none because in 1882 the United States had Open Borders and the federal government had no laws controlling immigration into this nation. None-Zero-Nada.

      While we are on the subject. Hugh S. Rodham (Hillary’s Father) married Mary Bynum Jarnagin. She is the daughter of Milton Preston JARNAGIN 1826 – 1895 (born in Jefferson, Tennessee, United States) and Agnes Venable WATKINS 1843 – 1883 (Born in Virginia).

      Milton Preston Jarnagin was the Milton Preston Jarnagin was the first graduate of Maryville College in 1846. He was appointed the Judge Advocate General, Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War. The 1860 Census shows him to be a Lawyer in Tennessee with a personal wealth estimated at $56,500.

      Milton Preston Jarnagin is also the direct descendent of a soldier of the American Revolution.

      U.S., Pardons Under Amnesty Proclamations, 1865-1869 about Milton P Jarnagin

      On July 25, 1865 in Lynchburg, Virgina the former Judge Advocate of the Confederate Army applied for a Presidential Pardon which was granted by then President Andrew Johnson for his role in the War of Rebellion against the United States of America. On the handwritten application for pardon which was submitted to Governor Pierpoint of the State of Virginia on July 17, 1865 is noted $20,000. Eight days later his pardon was issued by the President of the United States.

      So when you read the humble past of Hillary Clinton please note that her Father who arrived here in 1882 married the daughter of a man who was one of the most influential men in southern history and who’s family was one of the most influential families in American history. How did she end up at Yale University to study law? “Through hard work an study of course.” The fact that her mother was the daughter of Milton Preston Jarnagin a lawyer so famous he was appointed the Judge Advocate General of the Army of the Confederacy I am sure had absolutely nothing to do with it!

  3. Magnolia says:

    Racist political hate propaganda aside, how many support an Immigration bill offering amnesty WITHOUT border security first?

    Does anybody realize Congress voted to secure the borders and has not done it? Do you believe that they will?

  4. Jose Caniusi says:

    The kid should take comfort in the fact that while most of the racists’ ancestors were living in caves and eating rats, his ancestors were making strides in science and math.

  5. confidential says:

    This was just a child honoring his homeland and is heritage and with the best he could offer, his voice.
    Most with racist comments against this innocent child, forget that 1/3 of our beloved USA was Mexico Territory until 1848 (California, Texas, Nevada. Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico) and was occupied by us by force and forever during the Mexican-American war.
    Same racist against so called illegals, have a foreign heritage themselves being lucky that their ancestors also came to America without visas as were none granted with open immigration laws then and because of that landed in Ellis Island wating to be processed. Today and estimated 40 % of us citizens are descendants of those immigrants. Many others like Texas Senator Cruz that now lashes at the so called “illegals” has parents that paid bribes in Cuba to be able to get a Visa to the good old USA.
    Our immigration system is broken when we have plain loads of refugees Somalies and other African countries, Middle Easterns, Asians, Eastern Europeans, etc. arriving by plain loads with all expenses paid by us and even positive with TB and other highly contagious deceases imposed on our communities and in our pockets. At the same time we build another Berlin Wall South of the Border. Bias naaah.
    The so called illegals come here on their own dime, risking the only thing they have, their lives, and just looking even for the worst jobs and do not come to place bombs in the Boston Marathon,or masacre students in Virginia Tech, or murder 5 landowner hunters in Mnn or kill shoppers in a Midwest Mall because as Bosnian, Asian or whatever refugee did not adjust to our life style and are full of resentment.
    Yes we need to have a comprehensive immigration system, a system of work visas for the ones South of the Border so when their farm and other contracts arer over, they go home and come back for next season contract, all system sustainned with their taxes that USA will collect.
    Those so called illegal’s come as such, because if they apply for legal even if temporary work visas they are denied! Prejudice at work! We seem to forget that America has been settled by immigrants forcing themselves in our proud native American lands, the only one’s with the undeniable right.
    In the last 11 years unfortunatly the GOP also as used this issue to distract of more serious one’s, attacking those undocumented families and this is why most Latinos will vote to defeat them.

  6. Karma says:

    @Magnolia
    To be fair, 7 miles of the 300 mile fence has been built from the Secure the Border Act of 2006. There is already a law in place that has been ignored for years. What makes you think any new law will be enforced. The American people are being played by both sides.

  7. r&r says:

    He has a lot of talent. You people who object are the same people who have your lawns mowed and any jobs you’re too lazy or not capable of doing.. C’mon the kid was great !!

  8. Magnolia says:

    What I mean to say is that people here do not hate immigrants. But they hurt our country greatly when they are allowed to stream in at will. Why our government is not enforcing our laws is puzzling to most Americans AND immigrants who have come through the legal process.

    If the borders are not secured first, this will continue. And sadly, most of us don’t believe our government when they say they will secure the border.

    What made our country great was the immigrants who came here to become AMERICANS, to achieve and succeed as Americans, not to maintain their own native culture. The country won’t work if we don’t all pull together to do that fairly. Instead the United States will become that third world country you left behind.

    I can’t type worth beans, sorry. This is what I meant to say.

  9. mark says:

    What’s the problem with doing it legally? It worked in the past.

    • I/M/O says:

      What past are you talking about. Until 1892 this nation has completely open borders. Until 1892 the federal government had absolutely nothing to do with immigration.

      By the way after the federal government took control of immigration in n1892 what makes you think immigration was being done legally. The wave of immigration into he U.S. after 1892 was basically Italians and people from southern Italy.

      Have you ever heard of the Passaic, New Jersey Express? That’s where the Italians would collect the passports issued by the Emperor of Italy from those who had arrived “Legally” and send one female back to Italy with the passports concealed on her body. There was no TSA back then. She would go back to Italy and hand the passports out to 10 to 20 others who would then use them.

      U.S. history yells us that except in times of war the Department of Foreign Affairs (Now the Sate Department) seldom issued passports to American citizens. They were basically a luxury the rich applied for for identification when traveling abroad.

      Here is a fact for you: ” Records of the Department of State show that 130,360 passports were issued between 1810 and 1873, and that 369,844 passports were issued between 1877 and 1909. Passports did not become mandatory to travel abroad until 1941.

      So if you are looking for your ancestors “Passport” don’t waste your time searching through the U.S. National Archives. Those passports you ancestors were carrying were being issued by their government not the government of the U.S. You didn’t need permission of, the U.S. Government to come here you needed the permission of the government you were living under to leave your country and come here.

      So if you want to call yourself a descendent of a “Legal Documented Immigrant” you will need to find your documentation in your ancestor’s nation or origin. However expect for their name on a ship manifest you won’t find any other documents in the U.S. National Archives if your ancestors came here before 1892.

      Even after 1892 with federal receiving stations the federal government did not have a clue who was going to step off that ship until that ship arrived here.

      It was WWI and then especially WWII that the federal government got very serious about who was coming and going around here.

      Now how did none apply for citizenship in the past. You stepped off the boat and the male Head of the Family walked into any court in this nation and filled out an index card. 5 years later you were a citizen and your wife and children were also.

  10. I/M/O says:

    Could Flagler Live explain how one determines the political party affiliation of an anonymous poster on a message board or are all anti immigration advocated automatically labeled as conservatives or republicans?

    Then of course there are Trolls on message boards who will post almost anything simply to elicit an emotional reply from others and they should simply be ignored.

    Now I have been around long enough to have lived through a lot of 20th century history in this nation. I seem to recall very large groups of Caucasian residents of Boston throwing rocks at school buses when school busing was first introduced in Boston to integrate Boston schools. I seriously doubt those residents of Boston people were registered republicans or conservatives. I believe I would be pretty safe in assuming most were registered democrats.

    That stated perhaps Flagler Live should be writing about the history of massive immigration into this nation in the past. There have been 3 major immigration waves into this nation. It does not matter if an immigration wave if coming from other nations or is an internal population shift. Reaction to either is always the same. All were met with resistance by those already living here. There were always 3 major fears as to the influx of immigrants. Fear of disease, fear of loss of economic security and fear of crime. Perhaps the use of the word “Fear” would even be incorrect. A better word may be “Anxiety.”

    One thing one should know who has been adequately educated as to waves of immigration into this nation. Politicians always use it as a major issue and are the major contributors to the “Fear” or “Anxiety” above all other entities. In past immigration waves the government and the churches worked together in amassing power. Before 1892 when the federal government first assumed control over immigration the States controlled immigration which was basically into major cities due to the fact the immigrants were arriving by ship. Local control of immigration gave us local political entities such as Tammany Hall in New York one of the most corrupt political entities in this nation’s history. Tammany Hall was democrats by the way.

    So let me try to allay the “Fears” and “Anxiety” of the readers here. It does not matter which group is entering this nation or where they are coming from. It always takes 3 generations for that group to assimilate. It takes at least 3 generations before that group adopts English as their primary language. It takes 3 generations for that group to find it’s political affiliation which is always based on their economic success of failures.

    Take my spouse for instance. Ancestors came here between 1892 and 1910 from Italy and Sicily. The spouses initial immigrants (Grandparents) never learned to speak English. They only spoke Italian. They only lived among other Italians. There Americanism born children were expected to marry only Italian Catholics. Their children spoke both Italian and English. Italian at home and English at school or when outside the home be it in business or in social occasions. But the second generation discovered speaking English was especially important in obtaining work or in business. The spouse who is 3rd generation cannot speak Italian. Odd thing about that is the spouse can usually understand what is being said in Italian although she cannot respond to it in Italian. It was also the 3rd generation that stopped mailing money to relatives in Italy and Sicily who had all died. The 4th generation speaks only English and could care less about anything going on in Italy or Sicily. That’s immigration in a nutshell.

    Every group that has ever migrated into the United States did so for a reason. It was usually not for a good reason. Basically it was their nation or origin had given up on them, no longer wanted them and was persecuting them in some way or as to those sent to Canada to keep a supply of people loyal to the British monarchs in the majority. The revolt in Canada in 1846 scared the heck out the British monarchy. . Actually they did not migrate they were forcibly thrown out of their home countries and sent to Canada or the United States. (or Australia)

    So basically nothing has changed. Mexicans coming across the border are not coming here because they are loved in Mexico. The Mexican government can’t wait to get rid of them. Of course the Mexican government will advise they “Still love them” as long as the money wire transfers to relatives keep being sent. But Grandparents and parents will eventually die and that will stop. Parents and Grandparents will die and the children and grandchildren will stop going back to visit. The 3rd born Mexican generation born in the U.S.. won’t speak Spanish, will be marrying non Mexicans and won’t care a bit about what is going on in Mexico unless they are making money off a business located there.

    The only thing that has changed regarding immigration is instead of Tammany Hall’s at the local level this time the politicians are using immigration at the federal level. So don’t expect the political corruption that comes with every wave of immigrants to change. Just as Boss Tweed counted the
    number of votes coming off the ships at Castle Gardens in the 1840’s the political parties are counting votes coming across the border and trust me it ain’t 11 million votes.

    So keep singing Sebastien de la Cruz “You are home.” But you already knew that. I have no doubt if I asked you “Where are you from?” you would say California. Because that is what your birth certificate says! Born California! Citizen of the United States.

  11. Outsider says:

    Sorry, I don’t see the connection between Republicans wanting laws that are enforced and a few racist comments on Twitter. Yet that never stops the left from linking racism with law abiding citizens, or willing publications such as this one to give the race baiters a platform.

  12. Sherry Epley says:

    Here’s the thing. . . more people than you can imagine actually (unofficially) want the CHEAP labor provided by ILLEGAL Immigrants. They do NOT want to pay minimum wages and payroll taxes for their gardeners, house keepers, nannies, factory and workers, etc. etc. etc. The dirty little secret is that they WANT and “under class”. . . if only to help them feel superior.

    The ones who complain the loudest about the “illegals” are the ones who DON’T really want them to immigrate LEGALLY. If they were legal, they would cost much more. . . and that is the BOTTOM LINE.
    So, over time, our government cut back on funding for the INS and have only “gone through the motions” of incredibly slowly building a security wall along the border with Mexico.

    Oh yes! We want that cheap labor! The greatest monuments in the world were created with slave labor. Yes, please sneak into our country and work hard as indentured servants, BUT how dare you want to strive for a better life, an education for your children. . . a better standard of living! If you want that, then get yourself (expletive deleted) out of OUR country and send in the next batch.

    Folks. . . ya just can’t have it both ways. You cannot keep an “under class” of cheap labor and have them immigrate LEGALLY. . . then, on top of everything, hate them for it!

    • Magnolia says:

      Who is hating anybody? Is it too much to ask people to immigrate legally, to obey the law? Apparently so.

  13. confidential says:

    What part of the word denied you do not get, Magnolia..?
    These people South of the Border apply for visas and are systematically “denied”, they know it and that is why they come across the desert illegally and risking their lives with hundreds dying in their quest…trying to get the lowest paid jobs to make a living in the land their ancestors before 1848, held as Mexico. But while denying to them a legal entry we bring like I said above, plane loads of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern Europe refugees by the millions too, with all expenses paid to be anchored into our pockets some of them forever, or maybe also we are lucky enough to be shoot by some of them..
    What about creating some harvest agricultural temporary work visas for the one’s South of the Border as well? so they can come and do the farm labor at least and then we do not have to pay 10 bucks for a lb of tomatoes? Work done…? they go back home as they know will be contracted and allowed in next season. I guarantee you that given the decent opportunity they do not want to remain among us to be subject to bigotry. They’ll go back home to their families and friends.
    This is what should be envisioned for a comprehensive immigration and the ones already here after so many years with children born in USA, given the chance to eligibility for citizenship, they earn it in as much as yours and my ancestors did. Unless you want to go and do their hard labor back breaking jobs, because sure I don’t and someone has to do it. I may think different as I give our next door neighbors to the South the respect that they deserve as are not creatures of a lesser God, but our neighbors and human beings.

  14. confidential says:

    Also Magnolia…then in your position you object too, that in all the Cultural Heritage celebrations like St.Pa trick’s Day, Columbus Day, etc etc…people stop singing our Anthem and patriotic’s songs while wearing their festive countries of origin clothing, so you and the one’s that think like you do not take offense..?

    Your pseudonymous, Magnolia, speaks of our southern delicate, pure white color fragrant bloom, showing off the branches of extensive towering trees reaching for the sky allover Dixie…makes it difficult to pair your words to Magnolia …unless they are steel one’s.

    I been told that if the Southern forces would have won the Civil War, they were planning to take over all the America’s South of the border at least down to Brazil. Imagine the greatness that our USA could have been today? But the blues won.

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