A comment made in a Mexican newspaper that Latinos in the U.S. have no civil rights has drawn criticism. (Photo : Reuters)
According to one of Mexico's most influential newspapers, Latinos in the United States have no civil rights whatsoever.
In an analysis that was also printed in other Latin American media outlets, reporter Jose Jaime Hernandez of El Universal, which claims to be one of the most visited places regarding Hispanic news, claimed that Hispanics living in the U.S. had lacked civil rights to the degree that they could be considered almost in slavery.
"For more than half a century, the civil rights of the immigrants of Latino origin have been non-existent, which has made them the slaves of the modern era," reported Hernandez in an article reprinted in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.
The story was primarily reporting on how Latinos were emerging as a powerful electoral force in the United States following their record turnout at the polls in November.
However, Hernandez's analysis did not draw approval from everyone.
Jerry Kammer, a senior research fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies and an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience, strongly disagreed with Hernandez's statement.
Kammer noted that the aforementioned article did not give any specific examples of abuses, made no distinction between 1962 and 2012 and ignored federal programs that protect the rights of Hispanics and other ethnic minorities.
"It reminded me of the observation by Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, that a reflexive anti-Americanism was a common feature of Mexican political life," Kammer wrote in his blog on the Center for Immigration Studies Wednesday. "It also brought to mind the comment by Mexican political commentator and university professor Denise Dresser that, "nothing unites Mexicans more than a good dose of anti-Americanism."
The issue of civil rights and Latinos has one that has been under greater scrutiny since the presidential election in November, which saw President Obama draw a record number of Latino voters.
Civil rights groups such as the Advancement Project blasted the polling practices in Arizona's Maricopa County, which they accused of subjecting Hispanic voters to racial profiling.
The county's controversial sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who prides himself on cracking down on illegal immigration, is under investigation by the federal Department of Justice under accusations of having police in Maricopa County use racial profiling tactics.
"In our democracy, every vote by every citizen is supposed to count. We all have an equal voice in the voting booth, and our elections must follow this fundamental American principle," the group wrote on Nov. 8, when the ballot counting in Arizona was still going on, due to the slow-counting of thousands of provisional votes.
Latinos and civil rights groups in the county said that the voting system in the state was deliberately set up as a way to discourage new voters, particularly Latinos, from casting their ballots.