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"They were here first"

[UPDATE: The link doesn't work anymore, here's an archive, full quote below.]

KCET's Life & Times did a report a while back featuring California State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who created a bill to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. "For public safety." Yeah, right.

In the piece, Cedillo uttered the line "they were here first." I've always wondered exactly how to parse that sentence.

Let me restate it first: "A was here before B." So, who is "A", and who is "B?" Is Gil a member of "A?" And, the more important question, does Gil, a citizen of the United States and an elected politician, consider himself a member of "B?"

Does "A" include the Gabrielino Indians, or the original settlers of Los Angeles, or the settlers and their descendents?

Or, does it include all current residents of Mexico and Central America and just about anyone else who might end up using their new driver's license to vote for Cedillo regardless of how factually incorrect the supposition that "they were here first" may be in their particular case?

I think it's the latter.

Gil's former page is here. Earlier this month, he was elected to the CA State Senate.

Here's some legislation that Cedillo (and Jackie Goldberg) voted against.

UPDATE: Quote in context:

PHILIP BRUCE>> IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL [note: the debate over driver's licenses for illegal aliens] IS GOVERNOR GRAY DAVIS WHO HAS SHOWN NO GREAT LOVE FOR CEDILLO'S BILL, YET AS A DEMOCRAT, HE'S INDEBTED TO LATINO LAWMAKERS WHO ARE BACKING IT. AND DAVIS OWES A LOT TO CEDILLO. HE WAS THE FIRST MAJOR LATINO DEMOCRAT IN LOS ANGELES TO ENDORSE IT.

PHILIP BRUCE>> REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOUR BILL PASSES, THE PEOPLE AREN'T GOING AWAY. THEY'RE HERE TO STAY.

GILBERT CEDILLO>> THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THEY WERE HERE FIRST, THEY'RE HERE NOW, THEY'RE FULLY INTEGRATED INTO THE ECONOMY. I DON'T THINK WE WANT THEM TO LEAVE. WHO'S GOING TO COOK? FIRST OF ALL, WHO'S GOING TO PICK OUR FOOD AND THEN WHO'S GOING TO GET IT TO MARKET, WHO'S GOING TO DISPLAY IT, THEN WHO'S GOING TO COOK IT?

PHILIP BRUCE>> BUT DON'T TRY TELLING THE FOLKS AT F.A.I.R. THAT CALIFORNIA'S ECONOMY NEEDS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO KEEP ON CHURNING.

GILBERT CEDILLO>> WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE SOUTHERN ECONOMY WAS DEPENDENT ON SLAVERY. IT DIDN'T MAKE IT RIGHT AND IT DIDN'T MEAN THAT IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABOLISHED. IN FACT, WE HAVE USED THIS AS A CRUTCH. RATHER THAN PAYING PEOPLE WHO HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO BE HERE A DECENT LIVING WAGE, WE HAVE ALLOWED EMPLOYERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS SUBSIDIZED LABOR.

Other tags: reconquista

Thu, 11/21/2002 - 12:16 · Importance: 4