Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Day Off For Fred

Even though I have friends and family living in Arizona, I still think that state has a skewed vision of America, and not just because of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his thuggery. The state legislature is currently considering a bill which puts anyone brown who speaks with an accent under suspicion:

Here are key provisions of SB 1070 and HB 2632:

-- Would require law enforcement officials to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.

-- Would make being in the country illegally a trespassing offense in Arizona.

-- Would make it illegal for undocumented workers to seek work in public places.

-- Would make it illegal to stop at a street to pick up and knowingly hire undocumented workers.

-- Would make it illegal to transport or conceal undocumented immigrants.

Turning all state law enforcement personnel into ICE agents isn't sitting well with local police officers for obvious reasons. Dealing with real crime is a full-time and very difficult job which would now become even more difficult if the police lose the confidence and cooperation of the Hispanic community. Even the Washington Post recognizes the viciousness behind the bill offered Republican state lawmakers:

IN ARIZONA, where the official malice directed at immigrants who came to the United States illegally is unsurpassed, Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would criminalize every such immigrant just for being in the state. It's the latest attempt to harass, intimidate and hound the state's several hundred thousand undocumented residents.

Until now, only police departments that have entered into deals with the federal government have been empowered to arrest people on suspicion that they lack proper documentation. The bill, which is expected to clear the legislature in the near future, would broaden that authority and allow such arrests statewide by expanding the definition of trespassing to include the immigrants' mere presence in the state. (In Arizona, misdemeanor trespassing is punishable by up to six months in jail.) It would circumvent the Obama administration's policy of focusing enforcement efforts on undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes and who pose a danger to the community. ...

Inevitably, the bill would mean more arrests based exclusively on factors such as skin color, accent and clothing. That doesn't seem to bother the bill's backers; nor does it bother them that the state's large population of legal U.S. citizens of Hispanic origin is likely to suffer from increased racial profiling if the legislation is enacted. ...

Apparently Republicans (at least in Arizona) are willing to drop the charade they've been playing about reaching out to Hispanic voters, which I think is a very stupid thing to do when the Hispanic population of this country is growing. Those who are citizens, and that sector is also growing, can hardly be happy about the proposed bill and the party sponsoring it because it affects many of their parents and other relatives. It also indirectly affects them as the racial profiling kicks in.

In other words, the Republican party has just handed the Democratic Party a nice gift.

More importantly, however, it isn't hard to see where such a law will lead. I don't want to live in a society where I have to show my "papers" on demand because of my ethnic background or my beliefs. I prefer the ideals of Emma Lazarus:

..."Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



Blogger A Tabla Rasa said...

She was such a commie!

5:52 PM  

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