Politics is not his thing. Actually, he is a well-known banda singer with several released albums and 793,000 followers on Twitter.
But he burst into the political scene on Tuesday when he found himself in the middle of a protest that made national headlines.
Lupillo Rivera, brother of late megastar Jenni Rivera, was simply driving down the avenue on Tuesday afternoon when he ran into a protest. At first he thought it was something regarding Home Depot or one of the other big warehouses nearby. When he found out it was about undocumented immigrants, like he once was, he decided to get out of the car.
Dozens of Murrieta, Calif. residents were there to protest the expected arrival of 136 immigrants, mostly minors, who had been flown in from Texas after crossing the U.S.- Mexico border illegally. It was one of many such loads of people making their way around the country these days, as the U.S. Border Patrol struggles to contain the growing influx of undocumented immigrants from Central America.
Rivera, 42, has been a Murrieta resident for five years now. He is no activist, he is not even up to date with immigration reform’s comings and goings in Washington. But he became a part of the story when he decided to find out more about the protest.
“It doesn’t matter where the children are from. Children automatically deserve respect. I cannot kick out a child from anywhere. I think that is inhumane,” Rivera told Fox News Latino.
So he got out of the car, asked a couple of questions to the people gathered there and soon saw himself involved in a screaming match that made front pages across the nation. The protesters were shouting at him, a Mexican immigrant: “Go home.” And then someone even spit on him, he said.
That’s when he fought back.
“I don’t speak only for the Mexicans,” he told FNL. “The Mexican is not Mexican, the Guatemalan is not Guatemalan, the Salvadoran is not Salvadoran, the Puerto Rican is not Puerto Rican. Here we all are Hispanics.”
The protesters were there because they feared that dozens of undocumented immigrants being sent to their town were going to further strain municipal and federal resources.
“The only thing I am asking is to give them the opportunity to become legal,” Rivera said.
Rivera, who came to the U.S. illegally at the age of 4 but is now in the country legally, doesn’t really have a plan in mind for the thousands of undocumented immigrants making their way to the U.S. All he knows is that reform is needed.
“I understand there are a lot of undocumented, I understand that the Americans are worried. But I understand too that 90 percent of them come to work, to build, to clean houses. Never in my life have I seen an American picking aguacates, or grapes for their wines,” he said.
Rivera is unsure if he will pursue this newfound skill as an outspoken advocate. As it happens, the protest incident took place the same day his latest album, El Rey de los Borrachos (Mariachi), was being released and he has a sizable number of fans he doesn’t plan to forsake.
In the meantime, he has come up with an idea he is feeling very optimistic about. The voice of Latinos is loud – he said – but a lot of undocumented are not raising their voice.
“I want everybody to go to my Twitter account. I don’t want ‘Likes,’ I want them to copy what I say - MR.OBAMA WHERE IS OUR REFORM YOU PROMISED US !!! - and retweet it from their account to the president.”
Because, he says, he has a dream that one day President Obama will hear that 10 million Hispanics are asking ‘Where is The Reform?’
“And he will do something about it,” he said.