tv Open Phones with Ray Suarez CSPAN September 13, 2015 7:00am-7:31am EDT
the people have been moving aroundue forces that shape history, you the planet. ow, people came from, people came from france, people came from britain. they were looking for many of the same things in this new content and found people that were here and added wrinkle to the story. really, what i'm trying to do as latino american is remind americans that there's been a spanish trend to this story from the very beginning. >> we just finished talking with erika lee the making of asian american, 6 or 7 of the population. how do you define latino americans and what's the population in the united states? >> if you are a decentant of people who came to what is now the united states from the spanish empire, you probably
identify or often identify as a latino, there are now about 55 million of us -- of them in the united states. >> let me make sure i'm getting the phone numbers right before i send somebody off to another phone number. we are taking texts as well. we are going to put that number up on the screen if you want to send a text message to ray suárez about our topic. in the 1920's immigration laws changed, correct? >> in the 1920's, 1950's and then with stunning results in the 1960's. this is something that we have been revisited. >> what are some of those changes that happened a hundred years ago, 50 years ago? >> well, you know, often
americans say, well when my family came we followed the rules, replayed by the rules. the part that they don't bring up there were almost no rule until 1920's. if you came to the united states as long as you were not obviously ill, obviously insane or known to be fleeing the law you were let in. so to compare it to today where people wait ten, 12, 13 years for a visa, it's just not the same. the system is fundamentally different. american immigration law has often been conscious, race conscious, nationality conscious. we've had quotas from different countries of the world and
history with relatings around the world has changed. of course, american immigration laws changed. the last came in 1965 when the racial and national were basically taken off and at that moment people from asia, africa, and latin american have come in greater numbers. >> how has the latino immigration population changed? >> it used to be a border safe phenomena. so there were large numbers of puerto mexicans all along border states and on the west coast. in the last 50 years we've seen that pattern change substantially, so now there are people from south america,
central america, caribbean and méxico u all over the place. 750,000 in virginia. who thought of virginia as a place of large scale latino settlement. 800,000 in georgia. who thought a place that latinos would go in large numbers. what was used to be an urban phenomena is now a national one. it's going to change politics, the way we think about immigration, and it's going to change the way we think about becoming part of the american mainstreamed. it's already happening today. when you think about a place like northeast arkansas where if you debated education, really the core of the debate was race and the legacy of segregation. now they are having to hire esl teachers in school systems in arkansas, which is something they never had before. there was no in mississippi
where they had to imagine what it would be like to teach children who had been growing up speaking a foreign language. now it's the last place on the america map to have the big immigrant flow and it's changing things there and it's continuing to change things in the interyour where they have no history of large scale immigration from anywhere besides europe. >> michael is coming from skopakne, washington. >> when is everybody going to realize that the united states government always has been, it's just guy that's running down there to set indians are on
reservation, so better for the united states government. the only time they call on people is when they are getting -- lets get people, government -- >> you're right about the involvement of war in the shipping patterns of immigration to the united states. sometimes immigrant should and can say, to america, wait a minute, we are here because you were there, and i -- illustration is flow of central america following final chapters in the cold war in central america. obviously welcomed in people when there was needs for hands and strong backseat-backs and willing workers to build the country. when i went to a shuttered steel
plant in south chicago one day, when i was a young reporter working in chicago, i went into the cold cafeteria and in the stack in six different languages was a request not to throw out your silverware, to please put it in the sink instead of throwing in the garbage. they had workers that spoke six different languages. if you look at the history, pittsburgh, canada, ohio, chicago, and northwest indiana, yes, we brought in people from all over the world to work in those plants including in the early part of the 20th century from méxico, and mexicans fleeing the mexican civil war, revolution heading north and
czechs. >> next call is richard in sacramento. richard, go ahead with question or comment. >> thanks for c-span. this is a great program. i kind of what to ask you who is the basis -- i'm calling from sack -- sa -- >> you know, i mentioned soto briefly in my book because zorro and ricky ricardo, zorro is based on a real person but also on legends that were circumstanculating in in california. aspects of a real guy and also aspects of legends that were
sort of embellished. >> who was the real guy? >> he was swordsman who at the time of great change when california was turning from spanish territory to mexican territory, sat around writing wrong. the california at that time was controlled by huge land owners, the church had been forced from property, took over a lot of what had been church-owned lands. exploitation of labor, mistreatment of native indians who had cristian names. there was a great cultural at
that time in what was changing from spanish to mexican, california. >> can you tell us what happened in the '40's and perception of latinos at the time? >> it is a great question. i used that in the book as a story that's emblematic of how little is understood about latinos in the united states and their long presence here. la at the time was a major port of embarcation. people were coming in and out of southern california from various services, train lines, ships were leaving from long beach and san diego, and at the time, also the defense industry was gearing
to fight world war ii and a lot of mexican naucials -- nationals were working in the war plants, a little extra money, many of them were not in the service and were flouting the laws at the time, were trying to limit the use of fabric in the creation of clothing. you don't go -- it's something with enormous padded shoulder, great big blousy legs and they were very long. the jacket came practically to your knees. a lot of fellows like to dress that up with a long watch chain
that would go down to your knees. young fellows enjoying the freedom of having a couple of bucks in their pocket from working in los angeles and now becoming a wealthier place because of the war effort, in several weeks in the early years of the war servicemen started to just pull sooters off the street and beat them up. they were pulling them out of movie theaters, out of restaurants, even out of cars and beating them up. it's interesting that these confrontations were called the soot suit riot, they were beating up mexican americans. finally they started to fight back in large numbers. you have pitch battles on the street and the lapd was deployed to the streets of los angeles to
bring peace to what was becoming an increasingly out of control situation. very, very interesting episode in history and one that caught the nation's taings. there was a use culture in los angeles that wasn't necessary anglo-saxon in its origin. it wasn't guys from chicago and gone out to los angeles to shape their fortune. it was a latino street culture, latin american culture and america got the first taste of that in the confrontation. >> ray, a text from a latino family in newark. as a latino, what is the best way to communicate or share our experience as a first generation? >> well, as the first person in my family, my generation on the
mainland after my family moved up from puerto rico, this is obviously something that i thought about because .. that ended the spanish mexican, the mexican american war and brought peace to the southwest, but also involve a lot ofug promises from the united states to the former mexican citizens who are living there about the use of their language and land e tenure and other things,was now
promises that were not kept by the new american government that was now in charge in new mexicow arizona, southern california and so on. there's a long history. pilgrims splashedee ashore in plymouth rock. long before virginia fortune seekers started building blockade in jamestown. st. augustine, florida, was already a well-established city. much older than plymouth, much older than jamestown. sta spanish culture has been rooted in what is now the united statee for 500 years, and it's part of the story. story but to understaa in the 21st century you have to understand that part of the story. and that's what i will tell this family of on c-span that knowing our history and being able to explain it well to others also builds down some of the tensions
between san diego and los angeles and not really thinking very much about how san diego and los angeles got to be san diego and los angeles. they began life as spanish settlements, grew up as mexican settlements and are the seedbed for the creation of some of the largest cities in our country. san antonio, san francisco, los angeles, san diego, among the largest cities in the united states now and begun as spanish catholic missions and begun as a place where there was an encounter of cultures between spain and native america. it's an important part of our story but, yes, the caller is right, we learn far more about plymouth rock and jamestown than we ever learned about the origins of los angeles, the second largest city in america. >> host: linda is in phoenix, the tenth largest city in america. >> caller: phoenix is? okay. am i on?
>> host: you're on. >> caller: okay. hi. well, first i want to go back to your comment on immigration, and immigration -- non -- immigration regulations prior to 1920. in fact, not everybody was let in. the immigrants had to prove that they had a job to go to, or someone to vouch for them here in this country. so, no one from the late 18 -- the major immigration wave from europe in the early 19th 19th century, people just were not let in without having to prove support. and also -- >> host: linda, i'm afraid i have to.
>> guest: i have to disagree with you. if you bought a package in place like norway, it would include transit to the interior of the country. there was land there that was waiting for you, nobody had to sponsor you. nobody had to insist you weren't going to be a public charge and you did not have to prove you had a job to go to. when thousands of people from the settlements, the western part of czarist empire, fled out out of light wayney and eastern poland they didn't happen e have anybody to vouch for them. theland at ellis island, the told the immigration authorities who they were, and unless there was a reason to exclude them, they were included. there were times where people had those things that you mentioned, but they were not a prerequisite for getting on a boat in europe and making your way across the atlantic. it's simply not the case. >> host: was it the 1920s that
the immigration laws changed? >> guest: tightened up a great deal. >> host: pretty respective towards eastern europeans, i.e. jewish people and business the southern borders as well. >> guest: absolutely. they were trying to limit the flow of row romanians, eastern european jews, italians, greeks. citizens from the then ottoman empire but now several different countries in the eastern mediterranean, there were limits there. but if you got on a bottom in hampton or holmburg, unless there was a disqualifying factor, you were not given a great deal of scrutiny if you knew where you were going and you had a ticket to get there, you could go. >> host: what if you got on a boat in naples?
>> guest: with naples the law changed from time to time, and after the mid-'3020s, when there was a rising fear of an narkyism and socialism in the united states congress, they were afraid that these ideas would be coming to our shores with unionists and with leftists who were politically active in various european countries. we didn't want them here, and they started to clamp down on those things then. >> host: rocket from alabama, you're on -- robert fromalabama. >> caller: i watch you on jazz jazz. that's how you get the true store in this country. what made europeans think this is their land and they while si our country, rather than saying the country of the people. and when did the europeans start coming here in large numbers?
i'm an african-american and they don't think that some of us -- people of color were here before the europeans new this western hemisphere existed. >> guest: robert, europeans started to come in really large numbers in the 18th century. before that it was very sparse, and the french empire sent very few people, which is why it was so hard for them to hold on to the middle of the country, and they eventually gave it up with the louisiana purchase. look, people have been moving around the globe since people have been able to move. the finns and estonans and hungarians walked into europe from central asia. the world was wide open. there were no nation states there were no borders, and there was nobody to tell them to go back home to central asia. europeans, because of their advanced technology, were able to navigate the globe in way others people were not able to do and managed to build trade
routes that circled the world, and i it was their interest in those trade routes and securing the stop along the way that sent them further and further out from europe, looking for spices, looking for gold and looking for human beings to trade on the world market. they got there first. wasn't because they were the only people interested in doing. so it was because they were the only people who were able to do so. but, yes, they came into a country that compared to europe was very sparsely inhabited and began to push back the people who were already there in part because they could, and that was kind of the way nations rubbed up against each other and pushed each other around at that time in history. history is not a good story and not a bad story. it's just the story of what happened for better or worse, and there's no way for us to give a bill or an indictment to people who have been dead for 300 years. we should be aware of our history and should understand
how it set in motion the forces that give us the hand we have to play today. >> host: ray suarezes the host of al jazeera's inside america, and he the author of this book "latino americans: the 500 year legacy." as you can imagine we have gotten lots of texts about 2016 and the election, and just going to put them all into this one text and you can do what you want with it. how does donald trump's critique of latinos in the u.s. fit into the larger history of latino immigration? this is mario, in new york. >> guest: by noting thieveses and drug dealers and rapists before noting gardeners, bus buoys, pediatricians, taxi
drivers and all the myriad jobs that latinos do for their country every day, he showed a certain attitude towards the 11 million undocumented in the country that i'm sure excited many people who feel that way, and also set a lot of other people's teeth on edge itch guess we'll see how many of both those two different groups there are when the 2016 race is begun in earnest. there are -- the reason those people are here, none of them come without having a good idea where they're going and what they're going to do once they get here. nobody does that kind of trip and risks their lives to get across a hostile border, to just sort of see what is out there. they have a cousin, a friend, a brother, a father, mother, who is already here working, and the jobs they do including take
caring of senior citizens, taking care of our children, picking our crops, processing pigs, chickens and cows in the middle of the country, these are jobs that we want done, jobs that we hire them to do, and so far, the fact that this is an employer-driven problem has not gotten as much attention as the employees who end up coming. this is a problem that was largely created by employers and we should be turning a lot of our ire, if you're someone who is upset about illegal immigration, you should be turning your attention to the people who give all those people jobs. that's how they come here and that's how they stay. they're not eligible for any benefits. they come out of the public purse. they really can't -- they can't go on snap, they can't go on various kinds of housing assistance. they aren't people with their
hand inside the public till as much as they're people working long hours at low wages, just trying to hang in there and do work. am i justifying illegal system let me be really clear i'm not and i don't approve of it or condone it or encourage it. i'm just pointing out the economic forces create that pressure to come here, create those immigrants and create those jobs, and for petitioner or worse that's the challenge that the country is facing in 2016 and what we will have to deal with. >> host: steve ven in decatur, im, you have 30 seconds. >> caller: good day. i thought i would bring up -- i heard a very sad thing about legislature in missouri passing laws to restrict children who are brought here when they were very young from going to college, making their college
cost three to four times more, in other words, saying we need to be less generous, less humane or less democratic. we have to single out mostly singling out latinos. who are here through the dream act and i want to get your opinion on that. it's a sad situation. >> guest: that's a fascinating question, and it's a really important divider because people look at the country and they look at the laws in two different ways. of you have someone who came here at two or three years old and spent the rest of their development as a human being in this country, speak english, been to school here, they know no other home many of them. i you told them to go lack to honduras or mexico, they'd say, don't know that place. i wouldn't know where to go. you have to ask yourself whether that person is really going to go home. if you don't let them or don't encourage them to go to college. if you conclude that they're going to stay and one way or
another try to continue to make their life in missouri, if you're a missourian you have to ask yourself, who is more valuable to my state's future? somebody that i make not go to college because i make it unaffordable for them, or someone who i assume is going to live here and be a worker and be someone who is participating in this economy. if you conclude that there's going to be a way to send them home and that is what you're going to do, then i guess why spend tax money on giving them the in-state tuition? if you recognize that thousands and thousands of them are never going to go back to that place, and they're going to be missourians, they're going to be illinoisans. they're going to be hoosiers, then it's probably makes more sense they be educated and able to add more value to your economy. if you look at it instead of in a punishment model, like what's
going to work for me as a future resident of this state? do i want educated neighbors making a lot of money or neighbors that are going live on the margins of the economy? i guess that's the question everybody has to ask for themselves. and answer for themes. >> host: the book, "latino americans: the 500 year legacy that made the nation." ray suarez. thank you for being >> booktv is on twitter. follow was to get publishing news, schedule updates, author information and to talk directly with authors during our live programs. twitter.com/of tv. >> giuliana barbassa, rio de janeiro correspondent for the ap talks about across the city will pay both financially and socially to host the 2016