State Representative John Litz: "Every Hispanic that you see out here on the street is not an illegal alien. We’ve got to get past that."
75% of Hispanic Tennesseans are either U.S. citizens or legal immigrantsThe Kingsport Times-News reported here on a TV appearance of their state Representative John Litz, and his defense of local Hispanics*.
Representative Litz commented that "Every Hispanic that you see out here on the street is not an illegal alien. We’ve got to get past that. If we don’t, we’re breeding racism."
Litz is right. Roughly 75% of Hispanic Tennesseans are either U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. (About half of Tennessee's Hispanic population was born in the U.S., and among Hispanics in America who are foreign-born, about half have valid visas.)
The Times-News article points to a recent New York Times feature on the economy's impact on immigrant and non-immigrant workers in Hamblen County:
The faithful stand and hold their hands high, raising a crescendo of prayer for abundance and grace. In the evangelical church where they are gathered, the folding chairs are filled with immigrants from Latin America.Read the article in its entirety, complete with graphs and an audio slideshow, here.
The 1960 census did not record a single immigrant in Hamblen County, of which Morristown is the seat. By 2007, Hispanic immigrants and their families made up almost 10 percent of the county population of 61,829, having nearly doubled their numbers since 2000, census data show.
*Aunt B. questions the Times-News' use of the word "local" in a way that doesn't include Hamblen County's local Hispanic residents.
Photo by Rakka. Licensed under Creative Commons.