Saturday, June 12, 2010

Congress Conducts Hearings from Those Impacted by Arpaio's Racial Profiling Tactics & How More Families will be Impacted with the Enactment of sb1070

Last Thursday afternoon, five Arizonans testified before a congressional panel on the likely effects of SB 1070, the Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration. U.S. Rep Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona) co-hosted the hearing. It focused in part on the controversial immigration sweeps conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, thereby presenting the curious spectacle of a Tucson-area congressman investigating a Phoenix-area sheriff. The panel heard testimony from Catherine Figueroa (in video). The young girl told the panel that Arpaio's deputies arrested and jailed her parents for three months. "I would also have bad dreams that the deputies would take my aunt and family and me to jail. I'm still afraid of deputies." Figeuroa went on to say, tearfully, "Please help us. Children don't know what to do without their parents."

Phoenix area businesswoman and immigration activist Alma Mendoza testified SB 1070 would discourage women from reporting crimes. She's a former victim of domestic violence. Celia Alejandra, a working mother of three, testified about a workplace raid carried out by Arpaio's deputies. Her jaw was broken in the raid. Alejandra told them, "Please don't close your ears. Don't close your eyes. Don't close your mouth. It's true what's happening in Arizona. We are being discriminated against."

Silvia Rodriguez also spoke to the panel about the effects of Arpaio's (and his masked goons) controversial racial profiling suppression sweeps. Rodriguez was only two years old when her parents brought her to Phoenix, legally; however they overstayed their visa. Her parents, fearing they would be caught in one of the arpaio's raids, left the state, leaving Rodriguez to finish her college education by herself. She is a straight A student who has been accepted for an advance degree by Harvard. She is pushing for passage of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for students in her situation.

Sylvia Herrera, who has a Ph.D. in education, submitted several videos and written testimonies from people who have had their civil and human rights violated during Arpaio's (and his goons) suppression sweeps. Herrera called on the Department of Justice to complete its 15-month long investigation of Arpaio (and his goons) for their outrageous racial profiling.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Arpaio told local news affiliates that while the effects of immigration enforcement on families are sad, the same can be said about enforcement of other laws. He pointed out that his jail is filled with people separated from their families for breaking laws other than those related to immigration. Apparently he doesn't care about the heartbreak he causes so many families, as can be attested to in the fact he has lost Maricopa County over $40M in lost civil suits for wrongful deaths and other violations in his tent city facilities.

Heartless Governor Brewer, up for her 1st election as Governor, said the potential effects on families are no reason to back down on immigration enforcement. She advocates that (Latino) citizens concerned about being separated from their families should return with them together.

Representative Raul Grijalva graciously co-hosted Thursday's Congressional hearing along with fellow Democrats Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin.


Vicente Duque said...

Long Term Future, all this Hate and Racism is going to devolve on Republicans - Arpaio is a miserable clown - He won't be nothing in 10 years. - Analysis of Arizona Politics - SB1070 i a crafty weapon to maintain power, keep the base hysterical and intensely involved, sow fear and defeatism among Mexican-Americans and put Dems on the spot
Analysis of Arizona Politics - The Arizona syndrome
The Rogue Columnist
June 09, 2010

Some Excerpts :

The big weapon against the Dems is, of course, SB 1070, the Jim Crow anti-immigrant bill.

Gov. Jan Brewer was facing primary trouble and Goddard was leading the field before she signed state Sen. Russell Pearce's bill into law. Now, if the polls are to be trusted, she's soaring ahead and most Arizonans support 1070. This leaves Goddard in a no-win situation, which is just what the white-right wanted. The measure was always a crafty weapon to maintain power, keep the base hysterical and intensely involved, sow fear and defeatism among Mexican-Americans and put Dems on the spot. As I've written, the bill was never intended to shut down illegal immigration — the state economy and not a few of the businesses that support the white-right would collapse. It is a brilliant tactic, like guns, God, gays and abortion — a faux existential threat that must never be really solved because it is so politically profitable. If no small dose of cruelty and hypocrisy are involved welcome to Arizona.

Phoenix is America's least educated, least literate major metro area. Arizona is a case study for What's the Matter With Kansas? author Thomas Frank. Low information voters caught up in an economy that has been withering for decades, stuck in low-wage jobs, seeing their future become more bleak need someone to blame. Because of the effectiveness of the "conservative" machine, they never vote against the right-wing, corporate oligarchy policies that cause their plight. They don't go after the Anglo elite that has created Arizona's basket-case economy. They seem incapable of connecting the state's problems to the "conservatives" that have been in power for decades. Instead, they blame "liberals," the other, and in Arizona, "the Mexicans." It's pointless to attempt to engage them in the complexities of the immigration issue. What part of illegal don't you understand??

Additionally, Arizona seems to be more and more a case of the Big Sort, with like-minded (white) people gathering there, especially retirees, while progressives are ever more marginalized. In recent years, the Arizona Republican Party has been purged of its historic soul, as has happened to the GOP around the country; the tea party is merely the latest incarnation of this ever-more-nihilistic ideological (and theocratic) trend. Barry Goldwater's party has lost all its virtues, while its vices have been taken to steroidal extremes. Also, as commenter Soleri has pointed out, the urban form of Phoenix encourages the kind of disconnectedness that plays to Republicans. In any event, Arizona politics is usually small ball, primaries and even general elections that are decided by a small turnout, where the intense enthusiasm of the white-right and tea party will be decisive. Arizona lacks any leftward balance to the extreme right, and neither the left nor the center have foot soldiers to offset the Mormon vote. As for Hispanics, they tend to have very low turnout.

Youth, Minorities, Demography and Politics :

Vicente Duque

ultima said...

It is heart-wrenching to hear about the fears of these children when their parents are arrested and when their parents choose to leave them in the U.S. when they are under a removal order. The parents chose to put their children in this situation when they brought them to the U.S. and then overstayed their visas. What is missing in this story is why visas were issued in the first place and why the parents chose to overstay.

It sounds like visa overstays are very common if they really do represent 40% of the illegals in this country. That suggests to me that overstaying a visa was part of the plan from the beginning. In other words, let me in your country and then, for the privilege of entering your country on a visa, I will ignore any requirement for me to leave when my visa expires. I will willfully violate the law that requires me to leave. I will take full advantage of your laxity in keeping track of visa overstays and your failure to have a system for doing so. My objective will be to create situations like those described here so I can play on the heartstrings of generous and forgiving American people, congressmen, and immigration judges to convert my temporary entry into your country into permanent residency. If arrested and our children are frightened, all the better for the achievement of our objective.

How does one solve the problem of illegals without arresting those who have violated the law?

Were any of those arrested here legally? If not, Joe should be commended for doing a good job. Families have fair warning and plenty of time before the new law goes into effect to get right with the law. If they are not authorized to be here, they need to return with their families to their homelands immediately. Those who are authorized to be here should be careful who they harbor, aid or abet. Until the problem is solved they need to part of the solution.

Vicente Duque said...

CNS Catholic News Service : Catholic Leaders strongly oppose Arizona laws : U. S. Cardinals and Bishops in strong opposition to Arizona : New York, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Utah - Dioceses of Arizona against the Racist Laws

Catholic Leaders call for opposition to Arizona immigration law

By Patricia Zapor/CNS Catholic News Service

Some excerpts :

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration, the archbishop of New York and the bishops of New Mexico have joined a growing chorus of opposition to Arizona's new immigration bill.

Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City said he would like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support an expected legal challenge to the law, noting that the bishops' first concern is for the well-being of the people who will be affected if the law takes effect. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., earlier in the week called for the USCCB to become involved in a legal challenge.

"A law like this has a great capacity for hurting people who are just going about their business, getting an ice cream," he told Catholic News Service April 28 in a phone interview, paraphrasing President Barack Obama's comment a day earlier to an audience in Iowa.

"Now, suddenly, if you don't have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to get harassed -- that's something that could potentially happen," Obama said. "That's not the right way to go."

Bishop Wester said although the U.S. immigration system is broken, the Arizona law is not necessary.

"Instead of putting energy into that, why not put your energy into pushing federal legislators to pass comprehensive immigration reform?" he asked. Comprehensive reform legislation has been introduced in the House and is in the drafting stages in the Senate. Such bills typically include mechanisms for enforcement at the border and in the workplace, a path to legalization and citizenship for people already in the country, and changes to the system for work- and family-related immigration visas.

Bishop Wester said an antagonistic, fractured political climate in Washington makes for dim prospects for a comprehensive reform bill, especially in an election year. But as was shown at a pro-reform immigration rally in Washington in March that drew more than 200,000 people, he said, people are becoming energized about calling for reform quickly.

Religious leaders of many denominations around the country criticized the legislation. The Catholic bishops of New Mexico called the law "wrongheaded" and said they are concerned that "legal immigrants and U.S. citizens would probably be interrogated by the police if they look Hispanic, or in any other way, foreign." They said they hope the law's implementation will be stopped.

In New Mexico, Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces and Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup, whose diocese includes part of northern Arizona, said they believe the law "would lead to racial profiling, community distrust and a pervasive fear among immigrants." As with all the statements from church leaders and most of those from political leaders, the New Mexico bishops laid the responsibility for fixing immigration problems with the federal government.

"It is clear that we need immigration reform at the national level in order to deal with the disparities in the present immigration law," they wrote. "We bishops are concerned that other states might try to initiate such a wrongheaded law as well."

They added that the law "is not in keeping with the best traditions of our nation."

In New York, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan on his website blog echoed Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in decrying the Arizona law.

ultima said...

Yep, the bishops love those full collection plates no matter who the money come from illegals, the mafia, or ordinary citizens.

Maybe someone should remind them about the separation of church and state. I suggest they are getting near the ragged edge and should be put on notice that any further political activity will cost them their tax exemption.

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