Razing Arizona / American Apartheid

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Anger – even fury – over Arizona’s new immigration law has been spreading through the United States, with President Obama, a number of Congressmen, and various state and local officials and public figures issuing stern denunciations.

A movement to enact a boycott of the state – as was done before, when Arizona rejected the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday – is also spreading, with city officials in San Francisco now banned from travel to the state (except for law enforcement and public health matters).

I’m still waiting for a comprehensive boycott site to appear – a web site listing products and services from Arizona, to facilitate individuals and companies who want to participate in the boycott.

Meanwhile, another reaction to Arizona’s move is also spreading. Officials in other states are expressing concern that they will be flooded with undocumented immigrants fleeing Arizona in the wake of the new law, and are suggesting that they may be forced to enact similar laws to prevent such an outcome. This seems pretty bizarre and craven to me – and unlikely.

How many undocumented immigrants really stay in Arizona anyway, rather than just transiting through it to farms?

I feel a particularly personal connection to this issue, as for most of my childhood I was an undocumented immigrant – an illegal alien – in the United States, and living in a neighborhood that was predominantly Hispanic. But of course I’m white and a native English speaker, so I never had to worry about la migra.

It would be great to see a demonstration, protest, march in the Arizona capital of thousands, 10s of thousands of similar illegals – white, English-speaking sin papeles standing up against the law. Of course, they’d likely all get arrested and deported so I’m not going to hold my breath, but it would highlight the racist dimension of Arizona’s law – since I doubt any of them would be asked for their papers on the way to the demo – and would also draw attention to the fact that undocumented immigrants are not just Hispanic.

Below is a roundup of recent news item and blog entries from around the web on the situation…

California politicians fume over Arizona law: “Anger over Arizona’s illegal-immigration law spread throughout California Tuesday as a prominent state leader called for ending contracts between the state and Arizona government, and businesses and city leaders in San Francisco and Los Angeles backed sanctions.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom barred city employees from official travel to Arizona, except for public health and law enforcement reasons. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors took the first step to boycotting Arizona and businesses there. And a resolution calling on Los Angeles to boycott Arizona was co-authored by council members Ed Reyes and Janice Hahn, who like Newsom is running for lieutenant governor.

“I think we have a moral obligation to deliver an unequivocal message to lawmakers in Arizona that California does not condone its conduct,” state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, wrote in a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday.

(via San Francisco Chronicle.)

Holder: U.S. May Fight Arizona Immigration Law: “Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were critical Tuesday of Arizona’s new law on immigration and Holder said the federal government may challenge it.

Napolitano said the new state law could siphon federal money and staff from hunting down dangerous immigrants.

(via CBS News.

Democrats lead Arizona boycott calls: “Calls grew across the US today for a boycott of Arizona over its new law giving the police the most draconian powers in the country to deal with illegal immigration.

Democratic members of Congress, religious leaders and leftwing activists urged a boycott of hotels, convention centres and other economic targets in the state. At least one nationwide group has responded by cancelling a convention planned for the autumn. Scores of lorry drivers were reported in the US media to have threatened to stop carrying loads to and from the state.

The calls are being made spontaneously by individuals and an array of groups, but leftwing activists predict they will soon coalesce into a single campaign”

(Via guardian.co.uk.)

Arizona Alienates World as “Hate State”: “It is eerie and ugly, coming home to a state of the union that now incites cops to roust fourth-generation Americans on the simple evidence of a suntan. That smacks of what evil empires do.”

(Via digg.com: Stories / Popular.)

Rep. Grijalva Calls for Federal Non-Cooperation with Controversial AZ Immigration Bill: “Democracy Now – By Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Amy Goodman – Apr. 27 (News Report) – Outrage is growing over the passage of a controversial new measure in Arizona that forces police officers to determine the immigration status of someone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. We speak with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), who is urging federal non-cooperation with the new law and is calling for a targeted economic boycott of Arizona. We also speak with Sunita Patel, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is filing a lawsuit demanding records related to ICE’s little known ‘Secure Communities’ program.”

(Via NewsTrust – Today’s Picks.)

Calls to boycott Arizona grow over new immigration law: “Pressure continued to mount Tuesday against Arizona’s tough new immigration law, with the Obama administration considering a legal challenge and political leaders calling for economic boycotts. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she had ‘deep concerns’ with the law and said it could siphon resources needed to target criminals. U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said he was considering ‘the possibility of a court challenge.'”

(Via NewsTrust – Today’s Picks.)

Immigration Advocates Rise Up in Anger Over Arizona Law: “‘Public furor is mounting across the nation over Arizona’s new ‘show me your papers or go to jail’ immigration law,’ writes Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez in his New York Daily News column. ‘Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder said he may step in to challenge the new law, which permits police to stop residents merely on the ‘reasonable suspicion’ that they are unlawfully in the country.'”

(Via NewsTrust – Today’s Picks.)

Arizona “Papers, Please” Law May Hit Tech Workers: “‘H-1B workers and foreign students may think twice about attending school or working in Arizona as a result of the state’s new immigration law. If a police officer has a ‘reasonable suspicion’ about the immigration status of someone, the officer may ask to see proof of legal status. Federal immigration law requires all non-US citizens, including H-1B workers, to carry documentation, but ‘no state until Arizona has made it a crime to not have that paperwork on your person,’ said immigration lawyer Sarah Hawk. It means that an H-1B holder risks detention every time they make a 7-11 run if they don’t have their papers, or if their paperwork is out of date because US immigration authorities are behind in processing (which condition does not make them illegal). The potential tech backlash over the law may have begun yesterday with a call by San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera ‘to adopt and implement a sweeping boycott of the State of Arizona and Arizona-based businesses.'”

(Via Slashdot.)

Arizona’s Immigration Law and Racial Profiling: “The measure bars officers from ‘solely’ considering race in deciding whose immigration status to check, but no one’s quite sure what else they should take into account.”

(Via Newsweek.)

A Police State: “A Police State: Via Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union.

(Originally posted on the New York Times’ s Room for Debate blog.)

Arizona’s new law is a watershed moment for its blatant disregard of America’s most fundamental values of fairness and equality. While there’s been no shortage of discriminatory anti-immigrant laws across the country in recent years, this one is in a league of its own.

SB 1070 does nothing short of making all of Arizona’s Latino residents, and other presumed immigrants, potential criminal suspects in the eyes of the law. It authorizes police officers to stop and ask people for their immigration papers based only on some undefined ”reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally. Given that Latinos comprise an estimated 30 percent of Arizona’s population, the law presents a pretty big target.

How do you know people are unauthorized to be in the United States just by looking at them?”

(Via Privacy Digest.)

A Call to Attack SB1070 and Prisons everywhere, on and beyond May Day 2010: “Let us not be melodramatic or ironic, SB1070 is some fascist shit. For years now ICE has been rounding up our fellow workers, stealing them from their families, children, and communities, often regardless of their immigration status. In 2009, 380,000 people were detained in 350 facilities, and the roundups continue. Detainees are held for months, even years, in conditions often worse than prisons built for ‘citizens’ (although many who are ‘legally’ in the US end up there anyway). Along the US-Mexico border, defense contractors have built massive walls at the safest crossing points, forcing migrant workers to make perilous desert crossings. Many will not make it alive.

This was all true before next week, and now matters are significantly worse. SB1070 will require this Gestapo-like behavior from all law enforcement in Arizona. It gives racist pigs the opportunity to round up whomever they please, for any reason, whenever they want, and turn them over to ICE where they will be, essentially, disappeared.”

(Via Anarchist news dot org – News for anarchists and their friends.)

2 responses to “Razing Arizona / American Apartheid

  1. I will tell you what I have seen these last few days I saw our beloved Stars and Stripes flag, the flag from Mexico and some flags from other countries. I saw children, parents and grand parents together in solidarity, my people the working class, they may not be sophisticated but they got the message heard. From publish reports the demonstrations included both US citizens and undocumented workers. This brought me a smile because I always enjoy seeing brothers helping brothers.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    As I see it, we should stand-up against a law is passed in anger and is against our Constitution/ Bill of Rights/ Declaration of Independence and is targets a specific group.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need. When our judgment comes I know God will not discriminate by country of origin as men do.

    • Thank you for that moving comment, with which I heartily agree. I would only add that the Good Samaritan perhaps also thought “If I do not help this man, what will happen to me?” because I think we do harm to ourselves if we walk by. Perhaps some people have become so hardened that they are like sociopaths and it doesn’t affect them at all. But I never want to lose the part of me that feels compassion every time I see someone in need, and would be damaged – and would damage me – if I never reacted, responded, helped.

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