By Isaac Garrido
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire
WASHINGTON - TV star Eva Longoria said she can’t solve the immigration debate but hopes the new U.S. Congress represents opportunity for the Latino community.
“I will never have the solution or pretend to know what the solution is,” she said in a speech Wednesday. “All Americans, white, black or brown. We have hope.”
Longoria, who has been in the spotlight because of her role as Gabrielle Solis in “Desperate Housewives,” the ABC hit show, said that although she will not run for office she has a passion for politics.
“Desperate Housewives is my job, but this is what I do,” Longoria said about her activities with Latino community.
“I want you guys not to think of me as your keynote speaker, just think of me as your temporary guest worker,” Longoria joked at the Latino Luncheon Series.
The quarterly event aims to provide a platform for networking and an exchange of views on issues important to the Hispanic community. The focus Wednesday was the participation of Latinos in the media industry.
The Golden Globe nominated actress, born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, criticized the 700 mile fence planned for the Mexico-U.S. border.
“It won’t stop those who want to come in, and it has no effect whatsoever on the millions of immigrants already here,” Longoria said.
“The people cross the border and they work hard for this country. And this country becomes their home. And they learn the language, they do everything they can to be a member of the society. They should not be deported just because they are Canadian,” she said as the audience laughed.
But stardom has not made Longoria forget where she comes from.
Her commitment to Latino community, she said, has been inspired by her mother, a teacher; the late Tex-Mex singer Selena and Dolores Huerta, United Farmer Workers founder.
Gabrielle Solis might be the greedy Latina neighbor of Wisteria Lane. But Longoria worries about education, health care and protecting the environment.
She said she worked closely with ex-president Bill Clinton on his energy resources proposal that California recently adopted. She campaigned among Latinos for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in 2004 and works with the United Farm Workers.
But Longoria also said she is proud of her TV character: “She’s making television history because she is the first Latino to have a white gardener.”
The actress also pointed out that Latinos have gone from portraying criminals in TV and movies to roles as corporate leaders and members of Congress.
She said that, regardless of skin color, in Hollywood “they care about the color of the money” and as the market grows, Latinos will have a major impact.
Longoria was awarded The Nambe Eagle Leadership Award for her service and commitment to the Latino Community. The award is presented by the Latino Leaders Network, a non-profit that provides a network for Latino leaders.