I've been thinking of how to write my thoughts on the whole Arizona illegal immigration law. I'm adamantly opposed to my tax dollars being spent to house, clothe, feed, and medicate those who are in the United States illegally. Period. We have our own citizens struggling to survive. My tax money should be spent helping them.
Frankly, I don't buy the whole, "they're stealing jobs from Americans" line of bullshit. Honestly I don't know of one person (American that is) that is willing to work for slave wages mowing yards, cleaning toilets, toiling in 100+ degree heat planting and harvesting crops, etc. Do you? The majority of these jobs are filled by immigrants here legally. Yes, there are some out there who will hire those who enter our country illegally, because they can get away with paying them next to nothing - or in some cases - nothing at all; the wages are garnished to pay for the workers' "room and board." Slavery folks, that's what that is.
Arizona passed a law that is to go into effect in August that states:
FOR ANY LAWFUL STOP, DETENTION OR ARREST MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE
PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373.
My question is what constitutes, "reasonable suspicion"?
Now since this is Arizona I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this law is aimed at illegal aliens from Mexico. Granted, our country is full of illegal aliens from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, etc. I'm guessing Arizona hasn't attracted any of those groups, right?
So, a peace officer can stop ANYONE they suspect of being here illegally. That could be me, you, Chun-Ling, Anastasia, Humberto, Mehtap, etc. and ask to see proof of citizenship.
I don't carry my birth certificate. Do you? I have a driver's license. That doesn't prove I'm a citizen. It just proves I passed a driving test. I also have a passport, but like my birth certificate, it's not something I carry with me. (And for some unknown reason, here in Boulder County, Colorado, my passport does not prove my citizenship anyway; although, the Social Security Administration says it does.)
I find it appalling that any state in our country would go to such extremes. Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens coming into our country and draining citizen resources. Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens bringing drugs into our country. Yes, we do have a problem with illegal aliens coming into our country and committing atrocious and horrific crimes. Guess what folks? We have citizens doing the same thing. Do I condone this behavior? Not at all. It is a problem that needs to be addressed, I agree.
I don't agree that any state can make it open season on Hispanics. And that folks is in my opinion, what this law is all about.
The majority of those who work in any of our law enforcement agencies are honest, hard working, non-racist people. They have a hard job, and I give them kudos for doing what they do to keep the rest of us safe. However, having lived in various parts of the country, I'm only too aware of the things that can happen when someone who is not honest or is a racist pins on a badge.
Does anyone remember the civil rights movement? Anyone? Does anyone remember "law enforcement" kidnapping and killing civil rights workers?
How about the policeman helping violent criminals in New York?
Or the accused child molester in Miami?
All it takes is one "rogue" cop to decide he's tired of "Mexicans coming over here and stealing our jobs" to cause a major uprising.
Yes, we need immigration reform. Yes, we need to stop the influx of those entering the country illegally.
I don't think giving law enforcement Carte Blanche to stop any brown skinned person with a Hispanic accent and request proof of citizenship is the way to do it. And it will be the brown skinned people with the Hispanic accent who will bear the brunt of this. I know it. And you know it.
As an aside, Arizona has also passed legislation that will curb how certain courses are taught. Arizona HB 2281 makes it illegal to teach courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group, advocate ethnic solidarity, or promote resentment toward a race or class of people.
The only problem with this is that technically teachers could be barred from teaching about the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the attack on Pearl Harbor, etc. All of these examples could potentially promote hatred of various races or classes of people. (There are certain exceptions to the law, such as courses or classes for Native Americans that are required to comply with federal laws.)
According to the Associated Press, Tom Horne, state superintendent of public institution, has pushed this legislation to limit a program in the Tucson Unified School District since he learned that Hispanic civil right activist Delores Herta told Tucson students that "Republicans hate Latinos." (Frankly based on what I've seen so far, she doesn't seem to be too far off the mark...)
Shouldn't we be teaching our children about all cultures? And yes, the teachings should include the good and the bad.
I'm hopeful future generations will learn tolerance and empathy and throw off our society's growing narrow-minded, insular tactics.