Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guest Voz: Ruben Navarrette: Rename sb1070 "The Mexican Removal Act" or "Operation Wetback 2010"

Guest Voz: Ruben Navarrette:
A reader demands that the media stop pussyfooting around and call the new Arizona immigration law what it is: "The Mexican Removal Act." (Or Operation Wetback 2010) Too harsh? Not if you saw a recent story by a Phoenix television station that examined hundreds of e-mails exchanged between supporters of the legislation and its sponsor, state Sen. Russell Pearce. Here is how one constituent described the bill's purpose: "I think it is about time we take our state and country back from the Mexicans." Many others offered similar comments. The truth can be ugly. But we shouldn't turn a blind eye to it. And here is the reality: There is a segment of the U.S. population that would like to turn back the demographic clock to a Beaver Cleaver era when a headline declaring "Whites to be U.S. minority by 2050" was inconceivable. Yet according to Census Bureau estimates, the U.S. Latino population is expected to triple in the next 40 years.

Not if Arizona has anything to say about it. No sir. Why? Because "it is about time what we take our state and country back from the Mexicans." This isn't to say that the new law is inherently racist , or that everyone who supports it is racist. But one would have to be naive to run off in the opposite direction and label the measure, or the passions fueling it, race-neutral - as if intimidating, offending, inconveniencing and scaring off as many Latinos as possible was an unintended consequence instead of the prime objective.

There is no shortage of naivete. Faced with a law that turns local and state police into makeshift immigration agents - without the additional training that real federal immigration agents must complete - many Americans have decided that racial profiling is harmless as long as some other group is profiled. What is in short supply is empathy. Some identify with those who feel that their state is being invaded, its services abused and resources depleted. Others align themselves with those who worry about being treated as second-class citizens because of ethnicity, skin color, accent or another characteristic that makes them appear "foreign" in their own country. Neither camp seems interested in the other's point of view.

I'm getting an earful from both sides. In the last few weeks, I've received dozens of e-mails from people who assure me that Latinos who are U.S. citizens or have a legal right to be in the United States have no reason to be offended by the new law and nothing to worry about. And I've received dozens of e-mails from Latinos who fall into those categories and who tell me they're offended and worried. Some of them either live in Arizona or travel there often and are concerned about being accosted by police relying on a flimsy excuse. This simply would never happen, the first group assures me with the absolute confidence of those who have nothing to lose if their assumptions are wrong. Besides pining away for Beaver Cleaver, their image of police is stuck on squeaky clean Joe Friday. "Just the facts, ma'am."

Here are the facts: (1) Arizona lawmakers have boxed police officers in with a law that requires them - under threat of litigation - to check the citizenship of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally once they make contact due to an alleged infraction; (2) the list of "infractions" is broad enough to include everything from trespassing to vagrancy to soliciting work to attending a party where the music is too loud; and (3) police officers are going to do everything they can to fulfill their obligations under the law.

And, as human beings, those officers will find it difficult not to give in to their prejudices. Take it from the experts. Among the critics of the Arizona law I heard from is a Latino police sergeant in a major U.S. city who, after more than 25 years on the job, knows how this game is going to play out. "You're right," he wrote, "in the real world of policing as a peace officer on the street, any tool will be used to gain an advantage during any contact. It's our nature to be proactive." Which is why the rest of us have to be just as proactive in pointing out what an indefensible law this is - especially to those who are determined to defend it.


Anonymous said...

Answer this question. What will happen if a Latino citizen or legal immigrant gets stopped by the law? They will most likely have valid I.D., right? Sure mistakes are made but that is true of anyone who is stopped by the law not just Latinos. Are you going to dwell on a few mistakes or "some" cops who might be prejudiced or are you going to go with the majority of mistakes not made and the majority of cops who do follow the rules? What say you? Answer the first question if you dare. You can't answer it honestly though because that would blow your "Operation Wetback" out of the water in regards to legal citizens.

When the statement is made they want Mexicans out of this country they mean the illegal kind so don't try to spin it your way.

No country wants its demographics changed by illegal immigration. Mexico would not want to become a Chinese country though illegal immigration. You think that is racist? Or is it only racist for Americans to feel that way?

Dee said...

As I have said numerous times, all anyone has to do to determine whether sb1070 will racially profile latinos is look at the antics of one of the bill's lead proponents, Sheriff Arpaio. Arpaio and his masked goons have routinely racially profiled latino neighborhoods with his suppression sweeps. These are lawful stops. He is rubbing his hands together awaiting the day sb1070 is enacted so he can increase his power in these latino neighborhoods. He will stop every car in latino neighborhoods, as is his practice, and ask all for id. Anyone who may have lapsed papers in the car will result in the drivers car being confiscated, charged a $1000 fine and charged a misdemeanor. You call them a FEW mistakes.. nope! with arpaio and his masked goons, it is the norm.

Kobach, the author of the bill, has even said. His mission is to make the latino communities lives hell so he can attain his purpose of "attrition through enforcement" which equals Mass Deportation of the 12M here.

BTW, Mexico has a high rate of all ethncities immigrate there. There is a high rate of Chinese, German, etc. as well as Latin.

What is happening is, we are evolving to a beautiful multi cultural society. Logical Americans understand this. Only the extremists, white nationalists and neo nazis are attempting to ethnically cleanse our society.

ultima said...

Believe it or not, the vast majority of citizens have no interest in harassing Hispanics. Joe didn't seem to need the new law to do that. The counterfeit-proof, machine-readable biometric ID is the answer to the potential for racial profiling.

Those whose papers have lapsed better get with it and fix them before July. What does that mean anyway? Does that mean they are a part of the 40% who are visa overstays? In that case, they are just like other illegals. If your visa has lapsed, you need to return to your homeland forthwith before Joe catches up with you.

ultima said...

There is an element of truth in Ruben's column but on balance it clearly tilts toward his ethnic brethren. He does bring up the question of visitors and how they should be credentialed to avoid being harassed. Some visitors probably would not want to have to produce all of the proof of citizenship documents necessary to obtain a biometric ID. Some might have a good reason for not wanting to identified so thoroughly -- you know the drug runners, dealers, coyotes, etc. Some probably don't like the idea of having to have a passport to enter neighboring countries as well as those farther away but that is a legitimate requirement. A passport issued by the U.S. should be adequate to enable visitors to avoid harassment. But I suspect the crux of the matter is that this is not the real issue. The real issue is whether Hispanic citizens support the apprehension and repatriation of illegal aliens. If they don't, then they will base their objections on something else altogether not on their lack of support of repatriation but on other unrelated issues like profiling, lapsed papers, confiscation of autos, potential law suits against the police, etc. In other words, they are not being honest about their objections. In actuality, they want open borders and amnesty for the 12-20 million illegals. The noise about profiling is just that, noise. If that was their real concern, they would be lobbying for a good way for everyone to prove their bona fides. That would make them part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

pcorn54 said...

Listen to Mother, Anonymous malo. She knows what she's talking about.

Vicente Duque said...

Calexico California City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to condemn Arizona for Racist Laws - It seems that Bloomington Indiana joins the Boycott - Chicago one hair away from Boycott - My Super List

After Cook County ( comprising Chicago ) has boycotted Arizona, and Los Angeles County, and Santa Monica California ( in these week ) ....

My Growing list of City Boycotters and City Condemners of Arizona : Austin, Berkeley, Boston, Boulder, Columbus , El Paso, Gallup, Hartford, Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond CA, San Pablo, St. Paul, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Seattle, West Hollywood, etc ...

In danger of Boycotting Arizona : New York and Washington DC - This is suspense

From Wikipedia :

Calexico is a city in Imperial County, California, United States. The population was 27,109 at the 2000 census. Calexico is about 122 miles (196 km) east of San Diego and 62 miles (100 km) west of Yuma, Arizona. The name “Calexico” is a portmanteau of California “Cal~” and Mexico “~exico”, which like that of the adjacent city of Mexicali, emphasizes its importance as a border city.

More than 60,000 people pass through Calexico per day. The Police Department of Calexico consists of about 8 patrol cars on duty at any one time. However, their traffic department has about 25 employees that patrol and control traffic and intersections often clogged by border commuters.[citation needed]

Major events every year are the Mariachi festival on March 25 followed by the SDSU "Perspective of the Latino Race" art exhibition on April 3.

Vicente Duque

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