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The Sound of Ideas

Hispanic Influence in Northeast Ohio

Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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Hispanic Influence in Northeast Ohio By next year, all ballots in Cuyahoga County will be printed in English and Spanish, illustrating the rise in the number of Hispanics in our region. Tomorrow on the Sound of Ideas, we'll take a snapshot of the Hispanic population in Northeast Ohio, with dense populations on the west side of Cleveland, Lorain and Painesville. We'll talk about culture, immigration, education and we'll explore why the numbers don't seem to translate into political clout. Wednesday at 9:00a.m. on 90.3.


Education, Government/Politics, Health, Other, Community/Human Interest, Immigration


--Jose Feliciano, founder of the Hispanic Roundtable
--Veronica Dahlberg, HOLA (Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula), also secretary of the Latino Business Association of Northeast Ohio
--David Arredondo, co-chair, political action committee, Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues and Progress (CHIP) in Lorain Co.

Additional Information

Hispanic population in Northeast Ohio map (PDF)

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Michelle 8:52 AM 10/20/10

I’m a planning student at Cleveland State University. We recently had Albert Ratner CEO of Forest City Enterprises come and speak in oe of our classrooms. His view was that NorthEast Ohio needs to court MORE hispanic immigrants because immigration is the only to increase our population. If we don’t increase the population in the Cleveland MSA we will soon start to lose representation in the government-which among other issues could put our water rights in jeopardy to states with growing populations and lack of water. We need to get over whatever resistance there is to immigration and actively welcome this community and grow it for the sake of all of our futures.

Betsy 9:26 AM 10/20/10

We are constantly hearing, that our immigration laws are outdated/broken. Have you looked at Mexico’s immigration laws? How Mexico treats illegal aliens? What about the fence on Mexico’s southern border?

Sandra Kornick 9:35 AM 10/20/10

I am second generation born, and cannot remember my father or any of my siblings receiving government help.  My grandparents were so proud to be Americans-- learned the language, and worked jobs similar to those done by immigrants today- legal or illegal.  You seem feel the government (taxpayers) owe ILLEGAL immigrants special services, as in the Dream Act, or bi-lingual education, while our nation is suffering the worst economic pain in two generations.  Nobody forced illegal aliens to take up residence here.  They are free to return to their countries of origin.  I take exception to your claim that these illegal immigrants pay taxes-- how can they legally do that when they work under the table?
I am all for a robust LEGAL immigration policy.  The USA currently has, by a huge stretch, the most generous immigration policy in the world. If the demand for labor required it, I would be in support of raising these current limits.
Germany’s Angela Merkel has raised a valid concern-- assimilation.  That really should be the goal of all immigrants.  It was for my own grandparents.  Assimilation by my grandparents is benefitting a third generation- my children, who are working hard in opportunities my father and grandfather couldn’t dream of, but sacrificed for.  I believe Latino immigrants are hard working, good people, like those who came from Europe last century.  I would be so pleased to see them become good citizens.  They came here for opportunity- we should not bind them to government support. 
I am always suspect of the political aims of those who would institute government programs that redistribute wealth.  It conveniently keeps those in poverty dependent-- and loyal to those who keep them on the dole and in poverty.

James 2:37 PM 10/20/10

The racism part is a significant issue.  I was married to a Mexican-American woman.  She was frequently stopped by State Troopers and escorted out of the state for her own protection along the I-10 corridor.

I also think your choice of panelists sort of skewed the issues.  There is an enormous stratification in Latino culture.  I should say that some Latinos resent the term “Hispanic” which was invented as a catch all term by the Census Bureau.  Lots of people identify with their Puerto Rican or Mexican culture so they resent being lumped into one class.

Having lived in Houston and other areas in Texas, it would be interesting to revisit this topic with a panel of drug gang members and prostitutes from the Barrio.  In Houston I had to join the Mexican Mafia drug gang for protection because the Houston Police would not even go in my neighborhood at night.

Thus there are very successful Latinos in America, but many live in poverty and in neighborhoods where drug gangs and prostitutes are the majority.  I recall when my wife who taught public school in a poor Barrio in Houston had a kid who wore his father’s shirt to school one day.  There was a thousand dollars in cash in the front pocket.  You can imagine where that came from.

Two of my best Latino friends in Houston were a member of the Mexican Mafia who kept an AK-47 next to his front door and a prostitute and both of them dealt drugs.  Thus, the reality for many Latinos is not that painted by your panel.

Furthermore if you talk to ICE enforcers, they regularly rearrest the same people they just deported a few months ago.  I think your panelists have a very skewed view which I often found in Houston among Mexican-American business and civic leaders who had a deep resentment of what they called “wetbacks.” Thus there was class prejudice even within the Latino community.

I think you should revisit this topic from a more street level approach.  I am sure a lot of gang leaders and prostitutes would be willing to talk to you, so maybe you should do the Jerry Springer version of this topic (without the fighting) and see it from a new perspective as I have from experience.

James W. Adams
Columbus, OH

Karen 2:39 PM 10/20/10

I have no issue with denying education or any other government programs, as well as denying citizenship to undocumented persons in the United States.  There is a legal process for immigrating to the United States.  Why should these undocumented / illegal immigrants be ENTITLED to citizenship ahead of those that are going thru the legal channels for citizenship.  Part of the process in coming to this country is maintaining your visa.  If a person goes thru the proper channels and maintains their paperwork in accordance with the laws of the United States I have no issues for them getting citizenship. 

Similarly those that come to the United States need to learn to speak and read English which is the language of the United States.  Why do we continue to spend government money on issues like bilingual ballots?  If you are here legally you need to read and speak the language.

Karen, Middleburg Heights

Doug 2:41 PM 10/20/10

Four thoughts on immigration:

Has anyone asked if all the 10 million or more illegals even want citizenship?  Many have much stronger cultural and political ties to another country and the money they make here affords them to live well in their home countries when they return.

If you taxed 10 million individuals $10,000 each, it would raise 100 billion to pay off part of the national debt.

What should the population of the United States be?  We are the third most populous nation in the world.  The second largest, India, is a mess and China is actively lowering its population growth.  Rapid immigration has the double negative effect of raising the price of housing but driving down the price of labor.

Who is racist?  Opposing immigration because it is primarily Hispanic is no more racist than favoring it for the same reason.

Doug on East Side

Susan 2:42 PM 10/20/10

Just a general comment. I am as about as white bread as they get (German and French decent). I am so thankful for the diversity of Greater Cleveland as it creates a wonderful diverse community. I cannot imagine how boring life would be if everyone were just like me. People need to embrace the differences between us. The Hispanic community is an added value to this region.



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