I was given Geraldo Rivera's book, His Panic, as a gift. I have to admit when I picked up the book I expected to find a screed filled with hyperbole and rancorous comments about people who are concerned about the immigration issue. Instead I found a well thought out, passionate but not overly emotional argument about why Hispanic immigration is good for America not bad. It is an outstanding treatment of the issue.
Geraldo's main point in this book is that Hispanic immigration is a good thing not a bad thing. He points out that Hispanic immigrants integrate into American society much like other immigrants in the past have done, such as the Irish and other European immigrants in the last century. Successive generations become more educated, more successful, and more "American" in their outlook and attitudes. The key difference being that Hispanics have another language, Spanish, which is the main tongue of early immigrants, and that Hispanics are readily identifiable ethnically. While Geraldo never explicitly states it in this book, underlying racism certainly seems to play a role in Americans' fear of Hispanic immigrants coming to this country.
Throughout the book Geraldo deftly, using facts, undermines the myths of Hispanic immigration, such as that immigration increases the crime rate, that they steal jobs, that it's an avenue for importing terrorism, or that they import disease. He also talks about the fear mongers in the media hyping up isolated events, such as an illegal immigrant killing innocent Americans in a drunk driving accident, to paint all immigrants, illegal or not, as creating a crime wave, when in fact, Hispanic immigrants have a crime rate that is no different than other ethnic groups.
The book also highlights many immigrant success stories, while lamenting Hispanic gangs. And it provides harrowing, personal accounts of many illegal immigrants. It ends with Geraldo's own policy preferences for addressing Hispanic immigration.
This is a very well done treatise on the immigration issue. Even those who have a different point of view than Geraldo's would benefit from reading the book for a different perspective.
As the 2008 presidential election draws near what to do about illegal immigration has become one of the hottest issues on the campaign trail. Conservative talk show hosts all over America have been fueling much of the hysteria surrounding this issue and as a result reasonable solutions to the problem appear to be more elusive than ever. Earlier this year Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera released "His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S". Being of Puerto … more