Arizonans: We Are Not Them

Yeah, the good people of Maine are outraged by illegal immigration. Way to speak on behalf of more than 300 million Americans, gentleman from Arizona.

I don’t live in Arizona, but I have friends who do. I’ve never lived farther south than Sioux Falls, S.D. I’ve been to Arizona — Scottsdale and Tempe — but I spent most of four days holed up in a friend’s house, celebrating and then recovering from New Year’s Eve.

What I mean to say is it’s possible Arizona has a serious immigration problem. National news headlines wouldn’t dispute that. It seems the locals are legitimately concerned about border control. I sense the anger and frustration is less about people of another country illegally entering ours and more about preventing theft, violence and drugs from bubbling up in American border towns. I get that.

I don’t live in Mexico, but I know people who have. I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, two cities that are as authentic to Mexican culture as Taco Bell is to Mexican food.

I can’t imagine living in Mexico. I just don’t get it. Warm weather is great, yeah, don’t get me wrong, but that’s hardly a reason to stay when the economy is broken, there’s a raging drug war and corruption in law enforcement and legislation. What is Mexico trying to be? How is Mexico trying to get better?

If I were Mexican, I would do everything in my power to move to America. If I could afford it, I would go through the correct streams and respect the legal process. If I couldn’t, I would find someone who knows a way and pray for my safety.

On a level, I understand the intent behind Arizona’s new illegal immigration bill. If the governor and state legislators feel the federal government is not looking out for their constituents, it’s their job to act. (It’s their ability, anyway.) According to the New York Times:

“The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.”

Here’s where I — and many others — stray from the pack: There’s an overwhelming and justified fear American-born Hispanics will be targeted by Arizona police because they may “look like” an illegal immigrant. That’s not the country we want to live in. Luckily, the law in limited to just one state, and I don’t live there.

There’s been rampant protest since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill in April. Rightfully so. Arizona has become a hotbed for debate in the lead up to midterm elections. In fact, former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin showed support for Brewer and bill on Saturday as she continues to rally support for her imminent 2012 presidential campaign:

It’s 3,313 miles from Juárez to Juneau. I wonder if Palin ever dealt with illegal immigrants from Mexico in her two years as Alaska’s governor.

In her diatribe, Palin said, “We’re all Arizonans now.” Actually, no. I’m not. Unless you live in Arizona, you’re not. This is a state law, impacting only Arizonans. The rest of us are impacted only by the sad fact we live in the same country that would allow a state to create such an asinine law. Arizona is not a cause. Arizona is not a belief. Arizona is one confused, frustrated, fed-up state that allowed its lawmakers to shuck the basic rights of many of its citizens to make people feel safer.

Illegal immigration is no scarier to Mexicans now than it was before the bill. You can’t make something that’s illegal more illegal (or “illegaler” as Palin might say). This does more to hurt American-born Hispanics than help the immigration problem. It’s punishing our own people for others’ offenses.

That’s not America. That’s Arizona. And I am certainly not one of them.


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5 thoughts on “Arizonans: We Are Not Them

  1. I don’t see any specific references in your entry to the Arizona law. Have you read the law? I’m sure that Palin’s time as AK governor was not consumed by Mexican illegal immigration and you imply that that means she doesn’t know anything about what is happening in AZ. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on the other hand, I assume, know all about Mexican illegal immigration? Or former residents of Sioux Falls? Have you ever been to a European country? Do you think that if you were pulled over for a ticket in Italy and you showed them your Oregon driver’s license that they would ask you for a passport?

  2. It is safe to say that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton know more about racial profiling based on skin color than Palin does… You do not need to put a question mark behind that.

  3. This is funny because this law really is only giving the state the right to do what the Federal Government is supposed to be doing. Also, it specifically states in the law that there cannot be any racial profiling. A person must commit or be suspected of a crime before being asked for their papers…and by law, Federal law, they’re supposed to have them on them anyways. If these Hispanic Americans are worried about being profiled, A) don’t commit a crime that would cause you to get pulled over and B) have your drivers license on you! You show them your license and it’s all done. I think it’s more of a good law than an asinine one.

    • The problem, guys, is Section 2, Article 8 of Senate Bill 1070, which states: “FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT 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(c).26″

      The bill later states: “The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.” My interpretation is no, someone who looks Mexican cannot be asked for an ID based on their appearance alone. But their race can be factored in conjunction with something else. Say you drive an Econoline. Does that give law enforcement reason to believe you’re running aliens across the border?

      The point is you can be asked for identification without having broken a law. That’s the facts, guys.

  4. I understand what you’re saying, but your answer supports my point. “FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE” In order for there to be lawful contact with someone and ask for their papers they must have been suspected of a crime. So no, driving an Econoline wouldn’t not make them guilty and they could not be pulled over for driving that car, but if they’re speeding or have committed some sort of crime, then they better have some identification, as the law states. Remember this is only a reinforcement of the Federal Laws. This isn’t some sort of sweeping 2,000 page violation of people’s rights…this is already a law. Carry your papers and you’ll be fine.

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