Posted on May 1, 2006

Immigration Debaters Trade Barbs at UTA

Patrick McGee, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 28, 2006

ARLINGTON — A University of Texas at Arlington professor who has advocated for illegal immigrants took on a conservative commentator on Friday who argued that immigration of a large number of Hispanics, especially from Mexico, is bad for America.

Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, founder of UT-Arlington’s Center for Mexican-American Studies, and Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a conservative publication that advocates for Anglos squared off in a campus debate sponsored by the College Republicans.

About 375 people who arrived to watch the debate waited to be scanned by police with metal-detecting wands. University spokesman Bob Wright said the extra security steps were taken because UT-Arlington police received reports from other agencies of threats against Gutierrez.

With a police officer stationed at each end of the stage, Gutierrez and Taylor traded barbs, found no common ground and sometimes elicited applause from supporters in the crowd.

Taylor said Mexican immigration is bad for the United States and cited statistics detailing high crime and school dropout rates among Hispanics. Gutierrez said those statistics are an ugly reality because whites have been in charge and have discriminated so harshly against Hispanics.

Taylor said even though Hispanics are in charge of everything south of America’s borders, residents are fleeing those failed societies. He said he hopes a wall is built along the border to keep illegal Hispanic immigrants out.

Gutierrez said walls separating people have always failed. He argued that Mexicans have a right to move throughout the Americas because they were here before white settlers and because much of their land was “stolen” from them in the Mexican-American war.

Taylor pointed to that sentiment as deep disloyalty to the United States.

“Mexicans in particular are the worst candidates for U.S. citizenship,” he said. “They don’t respect our sovereignty.”

Gutierrez said he served in the military as have many other Hispanics.

“I think I have a right to criticize my country, my society,” he said.

Taylor read a quote allegedly attributed to Gutierrez that says “the gringo” should be killed. Gutierrez has denied making that statement, but it has been repeated on conservative talk shows in recent weeks.

Gutierrez invited the audience to come to the stage to get a copy of a two-page text that quoted him saying decades ago that a youth movement he was leading would work toward eliminating Anglos’ “economic, political and social” base of support.