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Wherein I Refuse to Recognize Arizona as a State April 30, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Loathin'.
Tags: , , , , ,

Have you people seen this?  Today, the Arizona legislature passed a bill that would require police officers to ask for documentation if they suspect you are illegal, and it makes being in the United States illegally a state crime.  Additionally, it invests citizens with an inordinate amount of power

Other provisions [in the bill] allow citizen lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.

Holy God, Arizona.  Have you lost your ever-lovin’ minds?

The issue of illegal immigration is a conflicted subject for me.  On the one hand, it’s illegal to come into this country without proper documentation for various reasons.  First, and foremost, is the effort to keep out the riff-raff, like criminals who are trying to evade charges in their own countries.  I get that.  I don’t want murderers waltzing into the United States for safety.  Then there’s that whole thing about taxation and job loss, not to mention the vaccination scare.  In El Paso I had to get all sorts of additional vaccines because–obviously–I would be coming into contact with people who would not be inoculated.  So yeah, I get that you need papers for a reason.  On a personal level, my family was able to come into the country legally, so I think that everyone else should do it the right way, too.  Elitist?  Maybe.  Honest?  Yes.

On the other hand, have you seen what daily life is like in Mexico?  I can’t blame anyone for wanting a better life than that.  The problem is that trying to get entrance into the United States is incredibly difficult.  The tests you have to take are in English, and this predicates two things: that you know how to read and write English, and that you know all about the history of the U.S.  I mean, the last isn’t so hard, right?  Oh wait, except that the poor who are running the border haven’t had any education to speak of.  The tests themselves create a barrier that keep out the people who want to come in.

But all of this is sort of beside the point.  The fact is that there are illegal immigrants in the United States, and under current immigration law, they should be arrested and deported.

In theory, Arizona’s law seems like a good idea.  The only real way to catch illegal immigrants is to figure out that they’re illegal, and unless they have contact with the police or a health care professional, that’s awfully hard.  The issue with Arizona’s law is really very small, really…nothing more than BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.

Case in point: this morning on Good Morning America, political pundit Lou Dobbs was defending the Arizona bill.  When asked what an illegal immigrant looked like, this was his response: “Well, an illegal immigrant looks like someone with no legal documentation.”  (This is a paraphrase, but you can see the full video on the GMA website).  HOW do you know someone has no legal documentation, exactly?  Do those people have flatter pockets than others?  Perhaps your left eye turns green when you don’t have your license on you?  No.  People with no documentation look like poor, dirty, uneducated MEXICANS who have poor English skills.

This is racial profiling at its best.  All of you guys who might look like Mexicans better watch out–I’m talking to you, Native Americans.  Oh, and you Middle Easterners better wear headgear or burkhas or whatever to distinguish yourselves (and so you can be discriminated against in a completely different way.  Lucky you).  Even more terrifying is the power that the bill invests in the citizenry.  Under the bill, citizens can make “citizen arrests” of illegals.  Except…wait!  How will they know who is illegal?  The same way Lou Dobbs does, obviously.  I can’t wait for all of those “wrongful arrest” lawsuits to start piling up.

This law is terrifying, and it scares me that there are people in legislatures that think that this kind of categorization and violation is in any way justified.  I sincerely hope that one day they feel persecuted for something out of their control, and made to feel like an outcast in their own country.  May THEY be afraid to look underprivileged, have a certain color skin, or speak with a specific accent.

In conclusion: screw you, Arizona.

EDIT:  I just found this addendum to the Arizona bill:
“HB2281 states that any course, class, instruction, or material may not be primarily designed for pupils of particular ethnic group as determined by the state superintendent of instruction. State aid will be withheld from any school district or charter school that does not comply.”
This directly attacks Chicano studies programs.  Ummmm.  Really?  I’d like to see that bill get passed about African-American heritage classes.  This place would burn there would be so much outrage.  I dare you to tell me this isn’t racial profiling.


1. Guillaume - April 30, 2010

Per the WSJ, the education department over there also pretty much brought in a new rule banning anyone with “an heavy accent” from teaching english.

Geez, I wonder who that’s supposed to mean.

dorianagraye - May 3, 2010

That means you couldn’t teach ESL in Arizona. The bill doesn’t state what KIND of accent, of course, though we all assume it’s certainly a Spanish one.

There are very few people in the United States who have non-regional dialect. Arizona has effectively snookered itself out of a large portion of the teaching population.

2. Lindsey - May 3, 2010

Sweetie, I love you. I love you for posting all of this.

Also, I’m glad that although your family came legally you understand the urge to come illegally. Hell, just the long-ass process itself is enough to motivate some to take their chances.

F Arizona.

Ugh, today someone on Facebook–who is now a reporter–was talking about how the law was the right move to keep illegal immigrants from being a drain on our country. I wanted to punch her in the face. Supposedly, there won’t be profiling. You’ll get pulled over, you should have a driver’s license, etc. But it all seems so unlikely to me that such a law could be carried out without profiling. And if you’re visiting you better keep your stuff on you at all times for fear of your trip ending early.

Putting this power in the hands of police officers does not strike me as particularly intelligent.

Guillaume - May 3, 2010

“You’ll get pulled over, you’ll have a driver license”.

Right, because police will only ever check up on you while you’re driving. It’s not like people ever use anything other than a car when they’re out of their home.

*rolls eyes*

dorianagraye - May 3, 2010

Awwww. I love you too. This is such a hot-button issue for me, especially because of all of the misinformation that circulates about immigration.

The truth of the matter is that most people in Mexico make $7 A WEEK for backbreaking, menial labor. Malaria is still prevalent there because they don’t have access to sanitary drinking water. The education system is laughable at best, and though most children who live in cities graduate from “high school,” their education level is much below global standards. Rural children…well, they’re just screwed.

I can vividly remember driving along I-10 in El Paso every morning and looking over the border at all of the shanties. The houses are normally cinder block with a tin roof, no insulation, no windows. Many people die of respiratory illnesses related to cooking indoors with no ventilation. People sleep on the ground, which is tough considering that there are often multiple families living in these boxes. It’s horrible, Lindsey.

I totally understand the urge to come illegally. If I lived in Mexico, I would certainly make the run for the border, if for no other reason than to support my children. Now, coupled with the drug war, living in Mexico is more deadly than ever. Seriously. Give these people a break; I understand why they’d risk everything for one chance at a better life.

That reporter needs to be hit upside the mouth. Here’s the thing: illegal immigrants DO contribute to the economy. Even if they don’t pay federal taxes, they still pay taxes on their food, clothing, and car purchases. Yeah, so they might not be paying income tax. I bet that you’d be hard pressed to find an illegal immigrant in a middle- to high-end tax bracket. Again, I do understand the anger, specifically in terms of state educational and health systems. Illegals really CAN be a drain in those two areas. You can fix this, but racial profiling is not the answer. Neither is denial of care, in terms of hospitals.

It scares me to think that there’s a state that could arrest me because I’m in the car with John/walking on a sidewalk/eating at a restaurant and don’t have a driver’s license on me.

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