What if Immigration Enforcement Affected YOU?

 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus – 1883[1]

 

There is fierce debate on immigration reform and enforcement in wake of Arizona’s passing of SB 1070[3] a few weeks ago. There are daily newspaper articles, weekly essays in periodicals and numerous blog posts on the subject (this is my third.) 

The “for” Arizona group is playing the strict enforcement angle – the federal government should enforce the laws that are on the books with no exceptions. I would like to ask this group what they would do in the situation where the child is legal and the parents are illegal (can happen when a child is born here to aliens)? Do you support breaking up the family? This seems hypocritical to the same family values that are supported by many who support SB 1070 enforcement. If you are a strict interpreter and enforcer of the law do you feel this way about every law? Would you pull over every speeder? Hire more police to enforce every rule on the book 100 %? While we are on the subject of  enforcement, states are not allowed to enact laws in areas that are under federal jurisdiction. States cannot override OSHA, eliminate abortion, sign treaties with other nations, impede interstate commerce or enact immigration and naturalization laws. If we are going to be strict interpreters of the law we will have to arrest Governor Brewer and the legislators who enacted this bill into law – a law that is clearly against the law. 

The “anti” group – whom I count myself a member of also believe in reform and favor a comprehensive plan so aliens can have a workable plan to become a citizen of the United States. We also believe that the marketplace that exists for workers to work in substandard conditions at less than a fair wage needs to be eliminated. Businesses that support politicians need, or at least want these workers in place to save money and keep the costs of goods sold down. As I heard last week – “no one wants to pay $10 for a tomato.” A major issue on the “anti” side is fairness and equal protection. How can a law that states it aims to remove illegal aliens be fair if it is only going to be used to eliminate illegal immigration from Mexico? Two million legal people of Latino descent reside in Arizona (about one-third of the population.) These are the only people (to some extent African-Americans and Native Americans are likely to be harassed as well) that will be considered to be “under reasonable suspicion” and that will be asked to present documentation when apprehended by law enforcement. Caucasians will never be asked to present any documentation. I can see how people support this law, but I do not understand how they can support it and not be concerned about how it will be enforced and which United States citizens will be harassed and discriminated against. There is a strong belief that the United States has a moral and civic duty to welcome non-criminal aliens into our nation.[4] 

And of course there is the race card. This subject has become taboo from either side – if you state that there may be racist thought in the support of SB 1070 you are chided for playing the race card. Obviously, on the other side of the coin is racism. In the modern United States no one will ever admit to being racist, and any reason why you dislike someone, want to discriminate against them or if you want to deport them this must be based on some other unexplainable, unknown reason – but of course it could never be racism. 

So I ask all of my readers to follow along with this little mind exercise – indulge me – and be honest. Picture this: 

  • Europe has been run over by something – could be a natural disaster, could be tyranny running rampant.
  • No matter what the cause tens of thousands of educated Europeans from everywhere from Spain to Ireland to Greece to Scandinavia suddenly find themselves in a place where they cannot stay – either due to natural disaster or to possible imprisonment and potential death if they do not escape.
  • These refugees end up on the shores of the United States.
  • These people speak multiple languages – most can speak more than a little English.
  • Most of these people are educated and have some skills – but many do not.
  • These people look like white America – they resemble parts of our great melting pot.
  • Many of these people could be from where your ancestors came from. 

Still following? Let’s review – we have a great many people falling on our shores, they are illegal immigrants but they differ from many of the Mexicans who cross over illegally now to work in that they have some education, speak English, possess some skills and look more like white Americans. Would you still support arresting these people with a law that says that law enforcement should question and pull over anyone who looks like they are likely an illegal immigrant? What would happen when they pull over and interrogate your significant other, parents, children and friends who for some reason cannot produce their papers that day? Do you still feel that the 14th Amendments Equal Protection clause is unimportant? Is discrimination OK with you now? It is easy to look the other way and not see the problems with Arizona SB 1070 if there is no chance that you or your family could be falsely charged or improperly apprehended and harassed. 

The United States has come a long way since the days of slavery, the failed Reconstruction Laws, and Dred Scott. We have been a haven to those who need a place to live and value the Constitution and Bill of the Rights that we value so much. We have grown since the 1954 Brown v. The Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court and the massive 1964 Civil Rights Act to attempt to leave our discriminatory past behind us. The nation must honor these decisions and the rights of all of our citizens and we also owe it to our ancestor’s memories and the ideals that our nation was founded upon to welcome new citizens to our way of life.

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse. 

George Washington 

_____________________________________________________________________

Thank you all for your continued readership – I am approaching a staggering 1500 individual reads in my first 6 weeks – the feedback and comments have been great. You can easily subscribe(hell – it’s free!) to Symptom of the Universe by submitting your e-mail in the box on the right of this page. Thanks again! Mike


[1] Inscription on the Statue of Liberty – “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Colossus

[3] http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

[4] Ken Schoolland penned an excellent article, “Are Illegal Immigrants Criminals? Not!” can be found here: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0503h.asp The Boston Globe letter to the editor shows another side of the morality issue: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2010/04/27/illegal_immigrants_have_moral_claim_on_us_citizenship_rights/

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22 Responses to “What if Immigration Enforcement Affected YOU?”

  1. josieg6 Says:

    http://www.immigrationdetaineestories.wordpress.com

    • MARIA Says:

      hey i loved this it was grt…..you sound like very profound and just person….and you are by the way a grt writter,,,,, i feel proud of people like you…..it is what makes the world a better place to be

  2. josieg6 Says:

    it already did. They spent about 750k to deport me, then more for me to come home. Now what? I am a second class citizen…denied every benefit that I have contributed to for 20 years…while my citizen husband took everything I worked for.

  3. sapblatt Says:

    Josie – Thank you so much for writing and reading my post – thanks for sharing the link – I will post a link to your blog on Facebook.
    Hope things look up for you – take care – Mike

  4. josieg6 Says:

    I was a witness as people who have lived and worked as greencard holders for 30 years, were jailed, abused and nearly killed. Then dumped at a foreign airport….to die pretty much. Guarded by junior US born nazis, who didnt even know why they were holding us, other than the govt paycheck…Ive seen Us born citizens lose the power of speech while held in these jails…dying from stress and mistreatment and malnutrition…

  5. jim Says:

    ok, here is a scenario for you, lets say i rob a bank in 1954, i am a law abiding citizen for the next 20 years, then i get caught, are they supposed to say ok we’ll for get the bank robbery? No I go to prison, my family now has no support. who’s fault is it? mine. the same goes for illegals in this country. Sorry but the buck has to stop somewhere.

    • josieg6 Says:

      and if you never robbed a bank, or broke a law, (while everyone around you did? 🙂

      I worked in Banking….I honestly wondered if my deportation was becuase i am aware of some things that were signed off in the executive suite..damn that confidentiality agreement! I posted it all on the UK Telegraph News, then I was given a visa to come home…so they can watch me!! I was just a secretary…never had a parking ticket…I coulda been your wife…)

  6. jim Says:

    this law is not aimed at just hispanics, it is aimed at any illegal immigrants. However, some none reading hispanic decided to claim it was anti hispanic, and racist. Read the law. it says if under a lawful stop, arrest, or detainment, there is a reasonable suspicion of illegal imm. this could be any person white, black, hispanic, anyone. YOU ALL NEED TO READ THE LAW. don’t just listen the people who are stating this and that. read the law!

  7. sapblatt Says:

    Jim –
    First and foremost thank you for reading and entering the discussion – I vowed when I started this up I would not censor critics.
    I appreciate your position – and I have read the law quite a few times. (I am employed as a law librarian -and I did post a link to the law on this blog post.)
    MY argument is not as much that we do not need immigration reform or enforcement, it is that this law will in effect be used to profile – (how can it not? Are they going to ask for English speaking Caucasians to present their documents?) My concern is for the legal Latinos that will be harassed by this law – and I am quite sure that this will eventually be squashed by the federal courts because it will by its nature have unequal enforcement. Again – thanks for participating. – Mike

  8. T Donovan Says:

    Very well said, Mike! I think much anti-immigration sentiment is based on racism, but this is nothing new. Like you said, if half of Europe needed to suddenly relocate to the US, I’m sure there would not be this level of anger directed towards white, educated people who were suddenly living next door.
    The AZ law may be setting a dangerous precedent here and the possibility for abuse and discrimination is huge. I honestly don’t see how this will be of any benefit to anyone. It’s like the random security checks on the MBTA…….it’s designed to make certain people feel better but in reality has nothing to do with actual security. This new law is the same way with the added danger of racial profiling and abuse. It’s almost impossible to fairly and effectively enforce something like this due to the very nature of the problem. The problem is hundreds of Mexican nationals illegally crossing the border and entering the US. Are you going to randomly stop someone who is tall, blond with blue eyes or are you going to check the person who has a dark complexion and “looks” like they are from Latin American? If they try to “play fair” and check everyone at random, then you are wasting everyone’s time and if you only select those individuals who fit the profile, then you run the risk of racial profiling and lawsuits.

  9. josieg6 Says:

    face it, its progress of sort – probably cause in America has gone from ‘being Black’ to ‘being Brown’

    Ever faced prejudice right in your face? I did, for being white, when I lived in the West Indies…it took a while to dawn on me, cos, as a white person…It was Not something I was aware of…unlike my brown and black friends.

  10. josieg6 Says:

    sorry it should say ‘Probable Cause’
    The father of every black kid knows how it is to find that ten kids did something stupid, but his kid spent the nigth in jail and faces charges, for that college prank…
    and now, its about ‘Brown’…in case they take your job…
    i had to laugh at the CNN program about the guy who is now willing to clean toilets to support his family – WHO DO YOU THINK DID THAT BEFORE??

    Its just creating race hate, which America doesnt need, on top of the current economic problems….which were caused by the enormous wall st greed, and the mentality of get rich quick any way you can, which led to the dotcom crashes, then the real estate bubble…etc…

  11. Ann Lavigne Says:

    Extremely well-written, Mike. Thank you!

  12. Carolina Krawarik Says:

    Excellent! Thank you!

    I’m throwing it into our FB feed and with any luck, it’ll be viral by the end of the day!

  13. sapblatt Says:

    Carolina – thank you so much! Where did you post it? The readership is staggering – thank you – much appreciated!
    Take care and keep up the good fight – Mike

  14. Rev. Brenda Fletchall Says:

    Mike, thank you for this thoughtful blog entry.

    Because we have the power:
    We can continue to harras those who do make it to our shores. We can continue to build and arm walls of defense. We have the money and technology. But unless we stop contributing to the core factors which drive migration born of desperation, folks will continue on the move.

    There are other and more effective means to use our power. One is debt cancellation, for countries that qualify, infused with accountability measures which do not grind at the population with the harsh stipulations of current IMF and World Bank loans. Debt cancellation and release from harsh loan stipulations help address one of the core needs that drive migration based on desperation. I invite everyone who is willing to review and support the legislative efforts underway by the Jubilee USA Network. http://www.jubileeusa.org/index.php

    • sapblatt Says:

      Hi Brenda –
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting – it is good to find so many like minded folks that want change – but the right kind of change. Your info on IMF is great – some may think colonialism is long dead – but it really has just taken another form.
      Take care
      Mike

  15. SylphSong Says:

    Again – *standing ovation*

  16. Don Says:

    Read your blog. Nicely written, but I do have a few questions:

    1. Do you live in AZ, or a border state of Mexico?

    2. You stated the following:

    “The “anti” group – whom I count myself a member of also believe in reform and favor a comprehensive plan so aliens can have a workable plan to become a citizen of the United States. We also believe that the marketplace that exists for workers to work in substandard conditions at less than a fair wage needs to be eliminated. Businesses that support politicians need, or at least want these workers in place to save money and keep the costs of goods sold down.”

    Why don’t you think the ‘pro’ crowd also want this? In other words, how are SB1070 and immigration reform mutually exclusive? I’m pro 1070 ONLY because it has FINALLY forced the Feds to even consider what you’re proposing [and I do live in AZ.]

    3. Your European natural disaster scenario is so vague it is pointless. Don’t you think if Europe had such a disaster the US would be the first there with relief aid? Are you saying all Europeans look white? How would “tens of thousands” of refugees suddenly get here? Planes? Boats? Kayaks? Do you think the US would let them in without processing them?

    You and I are in TOTAL agreement that racial profiling is bad, as is any violation of human rights. Having said that, I have two final questions:

    Have you read AZ SB1070?

    And…

    Have you read Mexico’s immigration laws?

    Thanks,
    Don.

    • sapblatt Says:

      Don –
      Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments.
      I live in MA (I know…it figures…)
      I have read SB 1070 a few times – no I have not read the Mexican laws – if you have a link I would love to see it.
      I do think that the pro 1070 wants these changes too – but I think that they are willing to look the other way on racial-profiling and it does not bother them if legal Latinos get harrassed. I could be wrong – but that is my opinion. – thanks again for contributing – Mike

    • Kate Says:

      1. One does not have to live in AZ to see the potential disasters with this bill, from breaking up the Union, to International Treaties that the US signed and this bill violates

      2.Yes they are exclusive, because AZ does not have any way to legalize this people, because they can not handle the immigration process, unless they declare independence… and then my friend… AZ will have a whole new head ache to deal with.

      3.disaster is so vague, well have you read the news latelly, from volcaneos to economic meltdown, from Greece to Germany and counting… it is alrady here.

      Yes I read SB1070, and yes I am familiar with Mexico laws, (I am not mexican) and the ones in Central America, and the ones in South America and in Europe, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. I laso explored South Africa’s Immigration laws and conditions to immigrate,
      But again, we are talking about America, not any other country, so do not try to change the subject.

  17. Arizona Immigration Reform 60 Days Later « Symptom of the Universe Says:

    […] https://sapblatt.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/what-if-immigration-enforcement-affected-you/ […]

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