News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Monday, April 26, 2010

A new Civil Rights Era?

Arizona is looking more and more like the Alabama of the 1960s Civil Rights era, a state where long-simmering tensions are surfacing to become the national symbol of a widespread cultural conflict. Arizona already has its own Sheriff Bull Connor in Joe Arpaio. Is Jan Brewer the next George Wallace?
The article below from El Diario in New York city echoes one of the tactics of that struggle ... a boycott.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Say ‘No’ to Arizona
| 2010-04-25 | El Diario NY

We call on those who believe in the U.S. Constitution to boycott the state of Arizona. The anti-immigrant bill signed yesterday in Arizona is a violation of our right to be free from police harassment based on the way we look.

SB 1070 requires the police to question people about their immigration status if they suspect they are in the U.S. illegally, without any objective basis for that suspicion. This gives free reign to racial profiling and the discriminatory actions that will ensue for being —or appearing to be— Latino.

The law is a violation of basic civil rights. It also wrongfully asserts that states can set their own immigration policy when that is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.

The Arizona law is based on inflammatory depictions of the undocumented —repeated by Governor Jan Brewer when she signed the executive order— to justify such a repressive piece of legislation.

There are two ways to fight this law: one is in the courts and the other is through direct action. As for the first, lawyers will be filing lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. The latter, direct action, is a call to boycott the state of Arizona.
We express our outrage in the face of this abuse of power. We call for a boycott of all goods and services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well. Let's send a signal of our disgust with an arrogant state government that asserts powers it does not have in order to persecute a minority population.

In the name of protecting the people, this law puts the public’s safety in jeopardy. The undocumented will be too afraid to report a crime for fear of being deported. Police departments across the country (who incidentally oppose this law) understand the need for the public to have trust in authorities so they can fulfill their mission.

Racial profiling is unacceptable. It is a serious mistake to think that you can tell an undocumented person by the way he or she looks. This law is a product of ignorance and an act of irresponsibility. Say "No" to Arizona.


Wally said...

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

This is the problem with our liberal immigration policy, compared to societies with tougher immigration laws, such as, say, Japan.

Give little, and you're hated little.

Give a lot, and you're hated a lot.

See the pattern?

The solution? Give nothing.

We'll be hated less.

Don't believe me?

Hey, I haven't read any books lately slandering the Japanese as bigoted neo-Nazis who kill women and children in drive-by shootings on the sidewalks.

Or, more to the point, why is it that immigration champion Ted Kennedy's ethnic group is singled out for purely negative treatment in "America Libre"?

Machiavelli once wrote that it's better to be feared than loved. Ironically, if you're a little feared, you're often hated less, too.

Okay, enough of the devil's advocate act.

Now is the time for everyone to keep our heads.

I'll start: we're going to see a lot of people trying to portray the protests against Arizona's immigration law as violent, seditious, and racist.

None of that is true.

I don't expect anyone here to say the same of the Teat Party protests.

However, it's no less true that anyone who portays them as violent, seditious, and racist is simply wrong-headed.

Wrong-headed and dangerous, frankly.

Robert said...

If Arizona is 1960s Alabama, then Mexico is Nazi Germany.

– The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?
– If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own health care.
– Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country (see, for example, President Obama’s illegal alien aunt — a fugitive from deportation for eight years who is awaiting a second decision on her previously rejected asylum claim).
– Law enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens’ arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.
– Ready to show your papers? Mexico’s National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

Wally said...

Well, lookey who just came down like a ton of bricks on Mexico for the way it treats migrants?

Yeah, that's right: Amnesty International.

The stuff detailed in their report makes Arizona look like freaking Candyland.

Can the United Stated improve on human rights?

We can ALWAYS improve on human rights.

We should ALWAYS be self-critical.

We should ALWAYS do better.

And yeah, Arizona needs to do better.

But is it worse than, say, Mexico? Not. even. close.