Sunday, May 02, 2010

Arizona's Show Me Your Papers Law

Every time I hear or read about the Arizona's Show Me Your Papers Law (aka Arizona Senate Bill 1070), I think of the Nazis requiring the Jews to wear a Star of David and carry their "papers." Then I remember the Republicans' vociferous opposition to a national identity card - I guess that is for people who "look like they don't need papers, i.e. white." Then, I think about Arizona being the land of Mexicans and Native Americans long before any white folks showed up to annex it to the United States, creating an artificial dividing line between families and communities that had existed on land that straddled the border for hundreds of years. Then, I think about all the Midwesterners who have moved, lock, stock, grass, trees, flowers and shrubs to Arizona's desert, creating all-white enclaves with water-guzzling golf courses, and home lawns and gardens with pollen producers where none previously existed. We white folks just have a way about us, don't we - bullying our way in, then demanding that everything fit our neat little idea of how things should be.

Why don't we ask what is the root cause of the crime problem in Arizona, and the other border States, that is blamed on immigrants who, for the most part, are just trying to create a decent life and feed their families? There are 2 root causes: one is the U.S.'s hypocrisy called the "War on Drugs," a 'war" that has created - or not done anything to stop - a gigantic Mexican money-making, people-killing business based on growing, transporting and selling illegal drugs; and on incarcerating Americans who buy, sell and use these illegal drugs. Our "War on Drugs" has not done a thing to stem the flow of drugs, but it has created a multi-billion dollar prison system in the USA, helped ruin Mexico's tourist business, and blocked the ability of average northern Mexicans to make a decent living, or to keep their families safe.

Number two is the U.S.'s hypocrisy in allowing businesses to hire and underpay illegal immigrants on a seasonal or business-cycle basis, then to discard them when the work slows or runs out, or the building booms burst. Both are issues of supply and demand: better known as the Free Market, of which certain politicians think so highly. The Free Market always considers humans a disposable resource. Just look what happens to a company's stock price when it announces a lay-off: the price invariably rises. So, we come down to the question of who benefits from the status-quo, and from blaming immigrants for our woes, and from creating divisions among Americans by inspiring and promoting the immigrant-enemy myth. Immigrants actually contribute to the wealth of our country - unlike the raping and pillaging being done by Goldman-Sachs and the Wall Street mortgage-banker crowd, who have stolen our retirements and our homes and given themselves billion-dollar bonuses for doing so.

In order to fix a problem, we have to know what the problem is, not just what the symptoms of the problem are. We can put bandages on as many symptoms as we want, but never cure the problem. On the other hand, we can put on our thinking caps (which haven't seen much use lately), face the root causes of our problems, then make the tough decisions that will confront, and solve, our problems without eroding our civil liberties.

1 comment:

Jim and Brian said...

Great letter! Thanks for "speaking out"! Looking forward to more letters!