I wrote the post below on April 28th, 2010 on my old blog. Reading it today, my feelings are still similar, though being two years outside of it, I can now see that the intentions of the bill were not necessarily similar to those of the Stalin/Hitler/Mussolini type (rather the “I’ll be a pawn to my political party” type *ahem-Jan Brewer-ahem*), I still stand by the notion that a state does not have the authority to pass immigration reform. To put it simply, I am a RESIDENT of the state of Arizona, not a citizen. I am a CITIZEN of the United States of America. Therefore the territory in which I hold residency but not citizenship can not and should not create laws regarding said citizenship.
I also personally think Jan Brewer is a horrible representation of the people of Arizona, and Lord knows I can not wait until her term as governor is over.
P.S- the “founding father” of this bill, Russell Pearce, lost his senate seat in a recall election by his constituents… if that’s not telling, I don’t know what is.
So, you knew this post was coming. Let me be clear in saying, I’m really not trying to start a debate, just clearly state my feelings on the bill. Let me also say, that while I may not support this bill, I do support individuals doing something. Clearly this is something the Federal Government has not made priority, and while it is effecting this state drastically, I appreciate that law makers decided to do something instead of just complain.
“Arizona is the Meth Lab for Democracy”. This was stated by John Stewart because in one week 3 borderline (if not completely) radical bills were passed in Arizona, the obvious one being SB1070.
I feel deep compassion for those seeking a new life in our country. I’ve personally experienced not only the extreme poverty in Mexico, but the extreme conditions in which these people face daily to survive. I support the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and if I were in their situation, I’d do all I could to get away from it. That being said- I am not in favor of illegal immigration.
My Great Grandparents came here illegally, through Canada during WW1, after being rejected by Ellis Island, while I’m grateful they did, I don’t condone their actions. However, a state deciding that being in this country illegally is a crime, while it is not at the federal level punishable by jail time, is not within a states jurisdiction. I support the constitution as it was written, and believe that this is to be left at the Federal level (please note, I understand that they are sluggish (at best) in their actions on this issue).
Being of Czech decent, and further, of a Jewish family, the term, “Show me your papers” sends chills through my entire body. While yes, 37 state senators approved this bill, of those 37 there are a few radical fundamentalists, whom I do sincerely wonder where their motives lie. Think Hitler, McCarthy, Mussolini, and Stalin. These radical fundamentalists quickly grew to power because they were able to sell their ideas in a package people bought into. (Think “illegal immigrants are a drain on our society and taking from you and me”) Let’s be frank folks, I know several LEGAL citizens who are a drain on our society and taking from you and me- and we’re not throwing them in jail.
My issues with this bill do not stem from my fear of racial profiling, though I do believe this will occur. Let’s be honest, no one is going to ask me- the fair-skinned, Blondie with no accent for my papers. My deepest issue has to do with the constitutional violation of the state thinking they have the jurisdiction to pass such a law. (Think Texas and the Alamo folks). Additionally, my irrational fear, though I believe history has taught us in the past that these irrational fears should be at least kept near to the heart, is what more these radical fundamentalists in the state house are looking for.
I believe that the national backlash could have been less harmful to the state and our image if 1) the citizens of Arizona knew more about it prior to it being sent to Jan Brewer, and 2) if the state did a better job of speaking out about whats going on. Let’s be honest, Joe Apairo is the only one who’s gone national, and he’s really not the best representation of our state- seeing as how he’s under federal investigation himself. Additionally, had we not passed 3 semi-radical bills in one week, people may not have thought we were the Alabama of the 1960’s.
I’m not looking to sway anyone or even say I’m write- these are simply my thoughts on the issue. I leave you with one parting thought- that a dear friend posted on their social media page. Regardless of your thoughts on this bill, for or against it, I encourage everyone to be informed. Knowledge is power- and the more you know, the less likely we are to see history repeat itself into horrific acts that define humanity.
“Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better. In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience. “- Alex Steffen”