Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sad Day for Arizona

Arizona has long rested in my mind as utopia - a state with blissfully dry heat, majestic cacti, howling coyotes, juicy citrus, and the cavernous and breath-taking Grand Canyon. Arizona can bathe you in warm sun, or you can drive into the mountains near Flagstaff and it can immerse you in chilly mountain air. Arizona has it all - temperature on both sides of the spectrum, silly birds that run around, orange trees in the backyard, and gorgeous scenery. Sure there is a serious lack of grass, but you can get used to a gravel lawn; you can even paint your gravel green and you have your own field!

Yesterday Governor Brewer signed a ridiculous immigration bill which will allow for blatant racial profiling. I am really hoping Obama acts on his negative opinion of the bill and uses some of his executive power to reverse it, because there is no way this bill can act without racism.

The bill orders immigrant to carry their papers at all times and allows police to request papers when someone looks like an illegal immigrant. What exactly does an illegal immigrant look like? What is the largest immigrant population in Arizona?

The US has some odd obsession with policing its borders, but goes haywire over keeping undocumented Latinos out. This bill will not be able to resist racial profiling because the immigrants they are concerned about are the Spanish-speaking Mexicans who make it past the border police. Therefore, any individual who looks Latino or speaks Spanish, or more importantly "broken English" will be suspected and thus asked for documentation. How is that not racial profiling? How does that not go against civil rights?

Thousands of students are protesting the passing of this bill and I applaud them for standing up against this atrocity, and hope that the criticism of this bill will be echoed by other states.

The US has a history of choosing an immigration population it wants to limit whether that be Chinese (1882-1943) , Eastern Europeans, or East Asians. The US privileges Western European immigrants as the "founders" of America, and by limiting immigration to certain population perpetuates the idea that certain races, ethnicities, and nations are inherently inferior.

Furthermore, the US benefits from undocumented workers and thrives on the cheap, exploitable labor. Corporations can exploit an undocumented worker to a higher extent than a citizen. Immigrants do not take jobs from Americans because they take the jobs no American wants; they work in food services, care work, domestic labor, and janitorial services. The do the crappy jobs Americans don't want, and they do it for cheaper because there are not proper protective services set up because their mere presence in this country has be criminalized.

This bill reveals antiquated ideologies of race and immigration. It goes against American civil rights by encouraging racial profiling. Arizona has passed the most stringent anti-immigration law throughout the United States and by doing so has created a hostile and racist environment under the guise of "protecting the people." The claim that illegal immigrants are causing traffic incidents and harming the natural-born citizens of America is as ridiculous as the claim that immodestly dressed women are causing and uproar in earthquakes. (I wish I could get into that as well, but I only allow myself so many tangents) People need a scapegoat but their suggestions are getting more and more absurd. Immigration is not the problem people make it out to be and does not deserve perpetuating racism.

Evidently, Arizona is not the paradise I always imagined it to be.

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