Events in Arizona
The American people learned Tuesday that the state of Arizona has passed a bill, now sitting on Governor Janice Brewer’s desk. This bill, should it become law, would result in the racial profiling of all Hispanics and Amerindians in the state of Arizona because it only specifies that the local authorities check the documentation of any person that they “reasonably suspect” to be an “illegal” migrant. The result of course, will be that any person who is not obviously a white Arizonian will be accosted, demanded to present papers, and subject to jail and even possibly deportation for committing simple infractions like Driving While Hispanic and Working While Native American.
“I believe handcuffs are a wonderful tool when they’re on the right people,” said Russell Pearce, the Republican State Senator who wrote the bill. “We want to get them off law enforcement and get them on the bad guys,” he told Reuters.
According to State Senator Russell, any so-called “bad guy” would be any man or woman who is conducting their daily affairs. Russel Pearce is not just some right-wing politician. He has confirmed ties to Neo-Nazis and their organizations, according to Phoenix local media.
Furthermore, this bill makes it a crime to hire day laborers, or to transport “illegal aliens,” either actual undocumented migrants or simply Hispanics or Native Americans assumed to be “illegal aliens.” This will result in the harassment of not only Hispanics and Latinos on the basis of their accent or skin tone for simply looking for work, any work they can find to feed themselves and their families, but also any person hiring them without regard to their class. Even though the law does require some other legal reason to stop and question the persons—we all know how good the police are at making up reasons, no matter how ridiculous.
Myth About Immigration
Immigrants do not “take jobs,” as some would argue. Jobs are not set aside for Americans, and they do not belong to American workers, precisely because we live in a capitalist system. That means that the jobs actually belong to the owners of property and means of production. They are free to offer them to whomever they please. The irony never ends with the right-wingers and libertarians who decry government intervention in the private sector, yet wish to deprive business owners, even small business owners (or as we call them petty-bourgeoisie) the right to hire whomever they wish.
The Issue of Race
While there are some who argue that this law would not result in profiling on the basis of race and national origin, they are simply wrong. The bill is far too broad in language to require that there be an actual violation of the law already in progress before the demand for papers.
Yes, immigration is about race. The typical anti-immigrant activist always screams to the high heavens about how their anger is only about “law-breakers.” Crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor. Breaking the speed limit is a crime that not only most Americans break at one time or another, but it is also responsible for the majority of car accidents, responsible for a great deal of deaths in America every year. If these people were so concerned about the law being followed to the letter, they would be protesting against breaking the speed limit, among other laws which are commonly broken.
The other problem with the “I’m just supporting the law” argument is that if that were the real problem, there is a simple, efficient way to fix the problem, one which is far easier to implement at a much lower cost than idiotic ideas such as border fences or mobilizing the National Guard. It’s called a guest-worker program, with more easily obtainable work/residency permits for workers who are citizens of Latin American countries.This would eliminate the need for such workers to break that “sacred” law which has unusual importance for some people. Of course do we see the defenders of the law screaming themselves hoarse for such a measure? Of course not. They don’t want to make legal immigration, which they usually claim to support, easier. They just want to keep the brown people out, plain and simple.
Yes, it is about race!
On the off chance that the reader is a “conservative” or anti-immigration activist and is offended by the insinuation that this is about race, I offer the following challenge. Organize some of your friends, or attempt to organize within existing anti-immigration organizations, a project to protest in favor of a guest-worker program and easier paths to legal immigration.
Call to Action
The American Party of Labor calls on Governor Janice Brewer to veto this bill and throw it on the rubbish bin where it belongs. We stand in solidarity with our Amerindian, Hispanic & Latino brothers and sisters against this hateful and bigoted legislation. The American Party of Labor calls on the Administration to enforce existing laws and pass Immigration Reform allowing easier access for guest workers to obtain legal residency and legal employment. Illegal immigration is more a problem for the immigrants themselves than the residents and citizens of this country—by being illegally here they are subject to even more gross forms of exploitation than the normal exploitations experienced by all working class Americans—immigrant and “natural born.”
Finally, if this law passes, it may have a silver lining, albeit one which will be far more bitter than sweet. For many years now, Arizona and many other border states have played host to large groups of people who seriously believe that illegal immigration is either the most or one of the most pressing issues of their time. A great deal of them believe that illegal immigration is somehow connected to high crime rates, or that illegal immigrants are a drag on the economy and perhaps that their own economic situation would be improved were it not for the presence of illegal immigrants. These are the people who would be most likely to believe that this new legal measure will lead to some kind of improvement, even more sorely desired due to the economic crisis which has hit Arizona especially hard.
What will the real results be? Police will be bogged down with nuisance calls, searches and arrests of innocent workers. Jails will become even more overcrowded. Illegal immigrants will fear police and not report crimes. The economy will not improve, and nor will the crime rate. If anything the economy will take and even bigger hit, starting with agriculture which is heavily reliant on migrant labor to process crops at low wages. The anti-immigrant mob will be forced to confront the fact that a measure they wholeheartedly supported, and in fact worked hard to get on paper in the first place, utterly failed to improve their lives. A few will be forced to ask themselves whether their problems were truly due to illegal immigration. We should all hope this law would not pass, but if suffering is what it takes to make these people see reality, then let them hang themselves with this repressive measure.