Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Not Discrimination...It Just Looks That Way

"Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..." A timeless sentiment that has encouraged, calmed, and comforted the weary souls of many immigrants into this nation seems to be forgotten...almost.


Recently the state of Arizona passed a law to battle their increasing issue of illegal immigrants. Gov-Jan Brewer of AZ has met much scrutiny for this aggressive and deemed somewhat discriminatory act. The law states that it is a crime to live in or travel through the state of Arizona if you are an undocumented alien. Law enforcement has not only the right, but the obligation to ask for documentation of someone suspected of being in this country illegally or risk prosecution themselves.

A few of the arguments are that undocumented workers take jobs away from American citizens. Also they weigh down our resources through social programs, hospital debts, and crime. In this double digit unemployement era and recession, these things are vital to this nation's recovery.

The other side, illegal immigrants do help the economy. They spend money, pay taxes, and the work they do allows smaller businesses to remain open.

This being said, the state of Arizona has over 500,000 illegal immigrants. Gov. Brewer stated the law,"represents another tool for the state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix."

President Obama criticized it,"to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."

Now I agree there is an immigration issue in this country, and if this is the first of a nationwide movement, let's really talk about the problem. All illegal immigrants are not Mexican. In this country we have this tendency to group people together. If the issue is undocumented aliens then let's address all the undocumented aliens.

All the Asians that come over and stay after their visas expire. All the Eastern Europeans that migrate into this nation. All the African immigrants that call this their new home. All the Canadians that start a new chapter here without paperwork...My point is, no one is talking about them. Is immigration and border control an issue? Yes. But until we address it completely this will be nothing more than racial profiling and harassment.

Or maybe not. Let's see if the good folk of AZ really stand behind this law. Let's see if they care when the police detain Juan, Miguel, and Ramon for being "suspected" immigrants when stopped or approached. Let's see if they care when Kim, Bo, and Nga are detained. How about when it's Raj, Neetu, or Amjad? I want to see the reaction when Olga, Andre, and Vitaly are in cuffs. But the true test will be when it's Becky, Tiffany or Johnny...or will it ever be? Will the police take the same attitude and aggression towards European or Canadian immigrants? Let's see.

Now i've traveled around the world, when stopped or even passing law enforcement in some countries the first thing they asked for was my passport, and I did it with no question. It's the law. If that's the direction we're going, fine. Just make it universal.

This issue is dividing up the state of AZ and soon will make other states choose a side. There has been a question for years about "what does an American look like?" Well ladies and gentlemen...we're about to find out.

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