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Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Arizona’s immigration law means real federal reform needed

On April 23, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into effect a controversial new immigration law. The law requires that immigrants carry proof of their immigration status at all times. Furthermore, the legislation directs law enforcement officers to verify a person’s immigration status when possible, and requires officers to arrest people who are unable to prove that they are in the country legally. Opponents argue that Hispanic people will be far more likely to be asked to prove their immigration status than others. Thus, critics say, the bill will encourage racial profiling.

Simply put, the Arizona law is unjust, and its passage ignited a firestorm of protest. President Obama declared the legislation “misguided.” On May 1, hundreds of thousands marched in protest at rallies across the country. In California, the Archbishop of Los Angeles led the protesters in chants of “sí, se puede!” Congressman Raúl Grijalva called for a limited boycott of Arizona in protest of the law, marking the first time in recent memory that a politician urged visitors to avoid his home state. White House police arrested U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois after he and about 35 supporters staged an unauthorized sit-in against the law in front of the White House lawn.

Even Major League Baseball got dragged into the fray, as many baseball players are Latin American immigrants. In Chicago, protesters marched in front of Wrigley Field as the Cubs played the Arizona Diamondbacks. Some critics called on fans to boycott the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled to be held in Phoenix. Outspoken Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen declared that if Arizona police asked for his immigration documents, he “might say go [expletive] yourself.” Guillen promised to skip the All Star game if the law is not repealed by 2011.

The controversial Arizona law makes passing comprehensive federal immigration reform even more important. Without reform on a national level, states might enact a patchwork of laws in a desperate attempt to address undocumented immigration. As shown by the Arizona law, such legislation could encourage racial profiling and would do little to slow undocumented immigration.

The March murder of rancher Robert Krentz near the U.S.-Mexico border by drug traffickers fueled debate over the Arizona law. Critics argue that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than U.S. citizens and are a threat to public safety. Arizona Senator John McCain made the bizarre claim: on national TV, no less: that undocumented immigrants intentionally ram unsuspecting citizens on his state’s freeways.

But the reality is that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens. The vast majority of “illegal” immigrants are not vicious criminals, but come to the United States in search of jobs and a better life for their families. Their hard labor provides substantial benefits to the U.S. economy. Immigration reform should include a guest worker program that would allow foreign nationals to work in the United States for a specified period of time. A guest worker program would eliminate much of the human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol agents would then be able to focus on fighting violent drug trafficking rather than chasing peaceful job-seekers.

Furthermore, immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Many undocumented immigrants have been in the United States for years, and their children have often spent more of their lives in the United States than in their home countries. Their only crime is crossing an arbitrary line in search of a better living. It’s a pity that such a trivial crime generates so much animosity, irrationality and hate.

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    petoireJun 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    “It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened”

    Hey Benito, last time I checked, entry to, much less citizenship, the USA is not a right and your allusion to the majority of whites being pro-slavery during the civil war era is offensive, unfounded and, frankly, utter rubbish. I don’t need to tell you that character is not defined by color. Anyone who aspouses such nonsense is a racist. Yeah, I’m calling you out. You talk about freedom like it’s an eternal boundless sea for all to partake of being guarded by evil whitey to keep out “undesirables”. Allow me to welcome you to reality where the freedom in America is a tiny blip on the long timeline of brutally oppresive conditions and poverty throughout world history. This little stint of bliss that’s so desirable for outsiders was paid for through the toil, treasure, and blood of generations before us. It was not given freely to us, it is not permanent or guaranteed. Rights are only as good as the laws that uphold them and the simple common-sense laws that allowed this country to become great are daily being evolved, contorted, or simply ignored on all levels. Unfortunately, it seems most people today are digging in their heels on sides, choosing conflict and pushing for confrontation rather than looking for middle ground.

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    petoireJun 30, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    You’ve completely discredited yourself up front with the statement “Simply put, the Arizona law is unjust”. There is no way to simply put the complex issues surrounding this nations immigration policy and enforcement of said policy which, ironically, and something you completely fail to point out (or realize?) are completley at odds. You idealistic folks who attempt to over-simplify this and approach it only from your bleeding hearts with no critical thought are the ones who are “misguided”. There are REAL issues at hand and you are doing us all a grave disservice by taking the easiest path and towing a straight pre-defined cookie cutter political line rather than bringing real workable ideas to the table. It’s always the cure-all “give them citizenship” with you people, even though it’s been done twice in history already and the issues. It’s only gotten worse and is now approaching a rolling boil due to the lack of any past sensible action. Look, myself, I wouldn’t rule out a path to citicenship for honest workers but that, in itself is only a solution to THEIR problems and no relief for our suffering cities’, states’, or nations’. And blanket amnesty? Seriously? Are you proposing to give citizenship to drug cartels and human trafficers just because they made it across the border? Idiocy…I know you can think bigger than that. Come on, let’s think critically and come up with real solutions that work for both sides of the issue. And no, you won’t be able to please everyone on both sides. By their nature, REAL solutions never do. The longer we put off the real solutions, though, the more poeple will be hurt, on both sides, by this luming monster of a problem. By the way, why don’t you try illegally immigrating to Mexico and see if THEY feel it’s a “trivial crime”. Mexico has a bigger immigration problem than us on their southern border and a much more aggressive approach to their issue, to say the least. I’d ask you to let me know how it goes but I’ll just go ahead and assume you won’t be doing any blogging from a Mexican prison.

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  • B

    BenitoMay 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    “All Men are created equal”! The founders had it right, when attempting to form a perfect union and they also knew that they were not there yet but knew we one day would get there. Lincoln moved us forward as did JFK and LBJ. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

    It is my contention that this AZ law is not constitutional and will fail when challenged (unless they add more amendments), pretty funny for this so called perfect law. Why hitch your wagon to this dead white elephant? I do not understand.

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  • A

    AreYouHighOrWhatMay 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    1) Americans don’t reward criminals and “Amnesty” is never going to happen. I don’t care if they’re smart criminals that figured out how to be here for years, or if they just snuck in, No “amnesty” and nobody is going to get “Fast Tracked Citizenship” by line jumping in front of the people willing to patiently observe our laws, it’s simply not fair to reward criminals no matter how sad their little story. Ask any of the other generations of immigrants how they feel about this fringe group expecting special treatment for JUST THEM? The obvious racism of the pro-illegal immigration people is appalling, and their radical ideas on property ownership in the southwestern U.S. are frightening.

    2) Any article referencing Luis Gutierrez isn’t worth reading. Who cares what that treasonous communist snake in Democratic clothing says? Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) almost cost 306 million American citizens “Healthcare Insurance Reform” because he was going to vote no if it didn’t include benefits to people here illegally. The man is scum, and cares more about people that might vote for him one day, rather than the people he was elected to represent. Until Illinois starts electing people that represent Americans I’m boycotting the entire state. Sorry Lollapalooza, I’ll miss you, but that man should be charged with treason and so should his accomplices. Forever and always, all I’ll ever remember is how he almost screwed America for his political gain.

    Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) = Anti-American Shmuck

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    • S

      shaktinahMay 14, 2010 at 11:34 am

      “1) Americans don’t reward criminals and “Amnesty” is never going to happen.” Criminals? The Southwest was forcibly taken from Mexico. Read your history. There are families who have been living in Arizona for far longer than any white family who are now going to be harassed by the police because they “look” like they might be “illegal.”

      2) “Any article referencing Luis Gutierrez isn’t worth reading. Who cares what that treasonous communist snake in Democratic clothing says?” Any comment that resorts to name-calling isn’t worth reading.

      Reply
  • B

    BenitoMay 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

    Reply
  • B

    BenitoMay 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

    Reply
  • S

    stephWGBHMay 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Interested in continuing the discussion on how the new Arizona immigration law is affecting communities of color across the nation? This week on Basic Black, we’ll take a look at the recent passage of a controversial immigration law in Arizona: the impact of the law on communities of color, the potential for racial profiling, and the moves towards immigration law reform on the federal level. We’ll also discuss the current state of African American & Latino relations. Join our panel: Latoyia Edwards, New England Cable News; Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter, WGBH Radio; Kim McLarin, writer-in-residence, Emerson College; Marcela Garcia, editor, El Planeta; and Patricia Montes, Executive Director, Centro Presente, tonight at 7:30 on LIVE on Channel 2 in Boston or streaming on the web at http://www.basicblack.org!

    Reply