Hofstra University’s Center for Civic Engagement presented a series of events on Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013 for the Day of Dialogue. “I came from Cuba in 1980 off the Mariel boatlift,” said newspaper reporter Mirta Ojito, as she began her event on immigration.
During the event, the Pulitzer Prize Winner discussed her book Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town. Her book revealed the controversial issue of the Marcelo Lucero murder, an Ecuadorian immigrant of Patchogue, Long Island who was the victim of a hate crime.
Ojito said hate crimes have increased against Hispanic males in 2003 and 2007. These crimes are typically committed by young men travelling in groups and labeled as ‘thrill seekers’. The attackers’ actions were described as ‘hunting beaners’; a racial slur associated with Latinos derived from the Hispanic dish, rice and beans. Lucero’s aggressors admitted that attacking Latinos was a weekly source of entertainment for them. Lucero’s death symbolizes how broken the immigration system is; some immigrants have limited opportunities, and are dependent on cheap labor to survive.
“The term ‘illegal alien’ is used and abused” said Ojito, after explaining the connection of hate crime and the economy. “Immigration impacts everyone everywhere, no matter where you live,” she added.
“Immigration actually helps the flow of the economy and being that America is filled with immigrants, not just of Hispanic descent; we should be able to embrace all of them.”