Monday, May 31, 2010

Shades of Patriotism

On Memorial Day I saw a biker on a noisy chopper riding the downtown Portland streets with a huge U.S. flag extending from his motorcycle. If I were one to profile from his appearance, I might otherwise assume he was an unsavory dude. But wrapped in the red, white, and blue, onlookers no doubt regarded him as a patriot.

Compare the furor that results when pro-immigrant activists march with the Mexican or the United Farm Workers’ flag in U.S. rallies. When media broadcast these images during 1990s protests against California’s Proposition 187, one of the drafters of that hateful initiative warned of La Reconquista in which the “militant arm of the pro-illegal activists . . . have vowed to take over first California, then the Western states and then the rest of the nation.” Similar outcry accompanied pro-immigrant rallies in 2006 when flying the Mexican flag was seen as disloyal and treasonous. That same year, Pahrump, Nevada, home to the closest legal brothels that service Las Vegas, passed an ordinance targeting displays of the Mexican flag. Flying another country's flag by itself was punishable by a $50 fine and 30 hours' community service, unless it was flown below a U.S. flag. For good measure Pahrump also declared English the town’s official language, but repealed the flag ordinance in early 2007 when apparently someone read the Constitution.

California poet Francisco X. Alarcón once called flags “stupid rags soaked in blood.” Francisco X. Alarcón, No Golden Gate for Us (1993). I consider him a patriot for his revolutionary poetry, now targeting Arizona’s anti-immigrant and anti-American law. For proof and clarity, check out the facebook page Francisco created, Poets Responding to SB 1070.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thousands Protest SB 1070 in Phoenix, Arizona

Despite the intense heat of the Arizona desert, more than 10,000 persons walked five miles to protest the Arizona immigration statute-- SB 1070. Opponents of the draconian legislation came from around the country and some called for President Obama to intervene and resolve the matter. Four persons had to be hospitalized because of the heat. (Thousands March in Phoenix to Protest Immigration Law, The Arizona Republic, May 29, 2010; Nicholas Riccardi, Thousands in Phoenix Protest Arizona's Immigration Law, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2010).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Borders, Dollars, and Persons

Even as the census ends and nativism erupts in Arizona, federal immigration policy remains in the background. Recent events sure do help to bring the recent past into sharp relief. For example, many Latinas/os recall President Obama speaking with dignity about the needs of undocumented immigrants, but the number of deportations since he assumed power has increased to an all-time high. In the meantime, the economic stimulus package and the healthcare reform debate seemed to have consumed all the political oxygen. However, neither of those efforts provided any specific or significant relief for brown or black people in the United States. Moreover, when President Obama decided to allocate a single sentence in his first State of the Union address to immigration, some Latinas/os began to express openly their sense that a pattern of neglect had become all too real—then Arizona erupted.

During all this time, the current problems with borders, dollars and persons are being addressed directly by wealthy folks abroad taking advantage of current U.S. immigration law. Under current law, wealthy immigrants can obtain visas (like EB-5, E-1 or E-2) for themselves and their families if they invest between $500,000 and one-million dollars in a U.S. business. In 2008, nearly 2,000 such visas were issued, nearly triple the level of a decade before. This option is dandy for millionaires, but leaves the rest of us wondering about the justice of a policy regime so nakedly mercenary.

The upside, of course, is that these wealthy immigrants generate “jobs” for whichever local economy they join. Perhaps those from the Global South will create some jobs that benefit some of their countrymen in the U.S. who remain without resources or opportunities. But that is only a hope, naturally. In the meantime, will nativism continue while the federal government does nothing?


By Frank Valdes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Litigation Begins to Unfold In Lawsuit Against SB 1070: Motion to Transfer

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations who are challenging the constitutionality of the new Arizona immigration statute -- SB 1070 -- have requested that their case be transferred from Federal Magistrate Mark Aspey to Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton. (Groups Seek New Judge in Immigration Challenge,, May 25, 2010). Judge Bolton is already handling one of the federal lawsuits pending against the new Arizona immigration legislation. Judge Bolton was nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 2000.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Blogger.....

Nuestas Voces welcomes Charles Venator! Charles is a terrific scholar and I am sure he will add important contributions to this blog. Here is Charles professional info:

Charles R. Venator-Santiago
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies
341 Mansfield Rd. Unit 1024
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269

We also welcome guest bloggers from different fields.
Saludos Ediberto and others, let me just affirm that this blog has been posting very useful and insightful materials. Folks on my end of the map are starting to appreciate these materials. I would like to start adding additional demographic information that may help to contextualize debates. For example in the case of Arizona, if the state chose to not count the undocumented residents of the state, they would loose at least one congressional seat, possibly two. The following link provides an interesting, albeit polemical, analysis of the impact of undocumented populations in the states. (See generally Orlando Rodriguez's work:,+undocumented+census&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjddyqBnH0DJ6NGP5dFlbF27k2R-aIlrJXLswnu-vsUJna72vZSuc2SiHxMx8DMrrbITjfF7t6igoLu4gHdEk4GmimLpO_9LE-2XbzwtPm-u-9vbs7UdMn_XU8u_svZvmlU8WmL&sig=AHIEtbSo-kNMPJR-FcnzGcftP6_3iicTyw). It is important to note that the benefits of the migrant populations in Arizona far outweigh the negative impact. There is readily available evidence to substantiate this claim in other areas such as the economy. In any event, I look forward to sharing more data in the future. CRVS

Monday, May 24, 2010

Latino Identity (Sub)Culture Explored in an Independent Film Noir

Last month a new Latino film entitled La Mission created in the film noir genre of film making, which explores the deeper, grittier, darker side of our culture or sub culture, as some may say, was released. According to the trailer, La Mission pays homage to the neighborhood and people we grew up around, and captures the vibrancy, cultural pride, flavor and sound of the ever-evolving Barrio. At the center of the story is Che, an old school reformed bad boy and single father who has dedicated his life to raising his 18 year-old son. Jess is a UCLA-bound honors student who is hiding a deeply-held secret from his macho father-- he's gay.

La Mission takes a hard look at some of the prevailing attitudes that still thrive and creates major divisions within our community regarding identity, machismo, acceptance, and unconditional love. La Mission also celebrates the humor, the sense of pride, and the passion for life that exists alongside the everyday struggles of our lives. La Mission was created, directed and produced by Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order) and his brother Peter. The website for the movie is available here. There is a La Mission Facebook page which provides details regarding the cities and theaters at which the film will be playing as well as photos and information on the film and its crew. Members of the cast were interviewed at the premiere in San Francisco. Clips from their interviews are available here. The film also has an AMAZING soundtrack with a really sensual Afro-Latin beat and lyrics that take us way way back. Surprisingly, I cannot find the album on iTunes.

Lydie Nadia Cabrera Pierre-Louis

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Opposing SB 1070 With Direct Action: From Alabama to Arizona

Recently, a coalition consisting of Native Americans, immigrants and Anglo supporters stepped up the opposition to Arizona's new immigration statute -- SB 1070-- by taking "direct action." The activists took over the border patrol offices at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in a "lock box" maneuver. (Billy Wharton, Rights Activists Seize Air Force Base in Bold SB 1070 Protest, Bronx County Independent, May 21, 2010). The coalition said that they were seeking to "bring back indigenous forms of freedom of movement across borders" and that "border militarization destroys indigenous communities." (Id.) The protesters further called SB 1070 "an attack on all communities of color in the state." (Id.) Martin Luther King Jr. described the theory and practice behind such "direct action" in his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail" as follows: "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to dramatize the issue so that it can no longer be ignored."

A bit of legislative hstory on SB 1070...



Forty-ninth Legislature, Second Regular Session


immigration; law enforcement; safe neighborhoods


Requires officials and agencies of the state and political subdivisions to fully comply with and assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and gives county attorneys subpoena power in certain investigations of employers. Establishes crimes involving trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens, and their respective penalties.


Federal law provides that any alien who 1) enters or attempts to enter the U.S. at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, 2) eludes examination by immigration officers, or 3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the U.S. by a willfully false or misleading representation is guilty of improper entry by an alien. For the first commission of the offense, the person is fined, imprisoned up to six months, or both, and for a subsequent offense, is fined, imprisoned up to 2 years, or both (8 U.S.C. § 1325).

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the primary authority for enforcing immigration laws. ICE was created in March 2003 as an investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE was the result of combining the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service.

Current statute defines criminal trespass in the first degree as a person knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in areas related to residential structures, residential yards, real property subject to a valid mineral claim or lease under certain circumstances, property if the person defaces religious symbols or religious property, or critical public service facilities. Depending on the circumstances, criminal trespass in the first degree provides penalties ranging from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony (A.R.S. § 13-1504).

In 2007, Arizona enacted the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA), prohibiting an employer from knowingly or intentionally employing an unauthorized alien and establishing penalties for employers in violation. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office administers the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program. The SAVE Program, together with the Social Security Administration (SSA), administers E-Verify, which allows employers to electronically confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. LAWA requires all Arizona employers to use E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. Proof of verifying the employment authorization of an employee through E-Verify creates a rebuttable presumption that an employer did not intentionally or knowingly employ an unauthorized alien.

The fiscal impact is unknown; however, there may be additional costs associated with criminal prosecution and detention of persons who are accused and convicted of the crimes established in this legislation. Additionally, the addition of new fines associated with this measure may also have an impact.



1. Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.

2. Requires the person’s immigration status to be verified with the federal government pursuant to federal law.

3. Requires an alien unlawfully present in the U.S. who is convicted of a violation of state or local law to be transferred immediately to the custody of ICE or Customs and Border Protection, on discharge from imprisonment or assessment of any fine that is imposed.

4. Allows a law enforcement agency to securely transport an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S. and who is in the agency’s custody to:

a) a federal facility in this state or

b) any other point of transfer into federal custody that is outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency.

5. Allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.

6. Prohibits officials or agencies of the state and political subdivisions from being prevented or restricted from sending, receiving or maintaining an individual’s immigration status information or exchanging that information with any other governmental entity for the following official purposes:

a) determining eligibility for any public benefit, service or license provided by any federal, state, local or other political subdivision of this state;

b) verifying any claim of residence or domicile if that verification is required under state law or a judicial order issued pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in the state;

c) confirming a detainee’s identity; and

d) if the person is an alien, determining whether the person is in compliance with federal alien registration laws.

7. Disallows officials or agencies of the state or political subdivisions from adopting or implementing policies that limit immigration enforcement to less than the full extent permitted by federal law, and allows a person to bring an action in superior court to challenge an official or agency that does so.

8. Requires the court, if there is a judicial finding that an entity has committed a violation, to order any of the following:

a) that the plaintiff recover court costs and attorney fees;

b) that the defendant pay a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 for each day that the policy has remained in effect after the filing of the action.

9. Requires the court to collect and remit the civil penalty to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which must establish a special subaccount for the monies in the account established for the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) appropriation.

10. Specifies that law enforcement officers are indemnified by their agencies against reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred by the officer in connection with any action, suit or proceeding brought pursuant to this statute to which the officer may be a party by reason of the officer being or having been a member of the law enforcement agency, except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith.

Trespassing by Illegal Aliens

11. Specifies that, in addition to any violation of federal law, a person is guilty of trespassing if the person is:

a) present on any public or private land in the state and

b) is not carrying his or her alien registration card or has willfully failed to register.

12. Requires, in the enforcement of this statute, the final determination of an alien’s immigration status to be determined by:

a) a law enforcement officer who is authorized to verify or ascertain an alien’s immigration status or

b) a law enforcement officer or agency communicating with ICE or the U.S. Border Protection.

13. Stipulates that a person is not eligible for suspension or commutation of sentence or release on any basis until the sentence imposed is served.

14. Directs the person to pay jail costs and an additional assessment of at least $500 for the first violation or at least $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

15. Requires the court to collect and remit the assessments to DPS for the special GIITEM subaccount.

16. Specifies that the trespassing statute does not apply to a person who maintains authorization from the federal government to remain in the U.S.

17. Classifies the violation as follows:

a) a class 2 felony if the person commits the violation while in possession of a dangerous drug, precursor chemicals used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or property that is used for committing an act of terrorism;

b) a class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense or if the person, within 60 months before the violation, accepted a voluntary removal from the U.S. or has been deported;

c) a class 1 misdemeanor in all other cases.

Unlawful Stopping and Solicitation of Work

18. Specifies that it is unlawful, if a motor vehicle is stopped on a street, roadway or highway and blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic:

a) for a motor vehicle occupant to attempt to hire or hire and pick up passengers for work at a different location;

b) for a person to enter the motor vehicle in order to be hired by a motor vehicle occupant and to be transported to work at a different location.

19. Stipulates that it is unlawful for a person who is unlawfully present in the U.S. and who is an unauthorized alien to knowingly apply for work, solicit work in a public place or perform work as an employee or independent contractor in Arizona.

20. Classifies these offenses as class 1 misdemeanors.

21. Defines solicit and unauthorized alien.

Unlawful Transporting

22. Specifies that it is unlawful for a person to do or attempt to do the following if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the U.S. in violation of law:

a) transport or move an alien in Arizona in a means of transportation;

b) conceal, harbor or shield an alien from detection in any place in Arizona, including any building or means of transportation.

23. Stipulates it is unlawful to encourage or induce an alien to come to or reside in Arizona if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that such coming to, entering or residing in this state is or will be in violation of law.

24. Subjects a means of transportation used in the commission of a violation to mandatory vehicle immobilization or impoundment.

25. Classifies these offenses as class 1 misdemeanors and subjects offenders to fines of at least $1,000, except that a violation that involves 10 or more illegal aliens is a class 6 felony with a fine of at least $1,000 for each alien who is involved.

Investigations of Employers

26. Allows the county attorney, in investigations of employers who are alleged to have knowingly or intentionally hired unauthorized aliens, to take evidence, administer oaths or affirmations, issue subpoenas requiring attendance and testimony of witnesses and cause depositions to be taken.

27. Exempts proceedings held during the course of a confidential investigation from open meeting laws.

28. Stipulates that an employer is not entrapped in an investigation if the employer was predisposed to knowingly or intentionally employ an unauthorized alien and law enforcement officers or their agents merely provided the employer with an opportunity to do so.

29. States that it is not entrapment for law enforcement officers or their agents merely to use a ruse or to conceal their identities.

30. Directs employers to keep verification records of their employees’ work eligibility through E-Verify.

31. Establishes a class 3 felony for failing to:

a) verify employment eligibility through E-Verify or

b) keep records of verifications.


32. Specifies that monies in the special GIITEM subaccount are subject to legislative appropriation for distribution for gang and immigration enforcement and for county jail reimbursement costs relating to immigration.

33. Stipulates that the terms of the act regarding immigration have the meanings given to them under federal immigration law.

34. Requires the act to be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens.

35. Contains intent and severability clauses.

36. Titles the legislation the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”

37. Makes conforming changes.

38. Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Prepared by Senate Research

January 15, 2010


Homeland Security reports state police inadequately trained to address immigration! So how the heck are Arizona police going to follow federal law?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, saying local officers inadequately trained, overseen

08:50 AM CDT on Monday, April 5, 2010

By Julia Preston,

State and local police officers who enforce federal immigration laws are not adequately screened, trained or supervised, and the civil rights of the immigrants they deal with are not consistently protected, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general.
The report by the department's internal watchdog was a sweeping review of a program run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Through agreements signed with about 60 county and state police forces, the program allows local officers to question immigrants about their legal status and detain them for deportation.
The inspector general's report describes the program as haphazardly administered, with local agencies detaining and prosecuting immigrants with little oversight from federal agents and significant inconsistencies from place to place.
Top officials at ICE have said the program's priority is to deport immigrants with serious criminal records. But the inspector general found that the program lacked measures to determine whether immigrants detained by local officers were serious offenders.
Without those measures, the report says, ICE cannot be assured "that resources are being appropriately targeted" toward immigrants "who pose the greatest risk to public safety and community."
The report is based on field inspections in the first six months of last year. In July, ICE officials acknowledged widespread criticism of the program, and asked all participating law enforcement agencies to sign new agreements that clarified its goals.
In addition, ICE officials said Friday that they had been aware of the inspector general's findings since last year and had taken an array of steps to address them.
"Since the audit was conducted, ICE has fundamentally reformed the program," said an agency spokesman, Richard Rocha, "strengthening public safety and ensuring consistency in immigration enforcement across the country by prioritizing the arrest and detention of criminal aliens, fulfilling many of the report's recommendations."
The inspector general acknowledged many of the program's improvements. But, the report said, many of the most serious problems remained unresolved.
Based on the report, several immigrant advocate groups on Friday called for the termination of the program, which is commonly known as 287(g), after the clause in immigration law that established it.
The report found that the performance records of local officers were not thoroughly examined before they were allowed to join the program.
Without adequate background checks, the report says, the program exposes Department of Homeland Security intelligence systems to "inappropriate or unauthorized access."

Aizona's over-reaching prior to SB 1070 led the federal government to act. Now, the feds must once again restrain abuse...

Prior to the enactment of SB 1070 by the Arizona legislature, the federal government stepped in and stripped state officials of any pretense of power over immigration because of the history of abuse. Instead of abiding by federal mandate, the Arizona responded by flying in the face of the federal government and enacted SB 1070. Now the federal government must act and put a stop to this latest example of defying federal law. Below is a story of Arizona's zeal prior to SB 1070:

Sweeps led ICE to limit Arpaio power

Tactic out of line with migrant enforcement program, feds say
by Daniel González - Oct. 17, 2009 12:00 AMThe Arizona Republic

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the only law-enforcement agency in the country to lose its authority to enforce federal immigration laws on the street under a revamped and controversial program that lets local and state agencies act as immigration officers.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday that they limited the ability of the Sheriff's Office to enforce federal immigration laws because of the office's record of conducting wide-ranging crime sweeps intended to identify illegal immigrants. Those sweeps - the Sheriff's Office has conducted 11 in the past year and a half - have led primarily to arrests of people who have not committed serious crimes. The revamped federal program places a priority on going after dangerous criminals, not illegal immigrants encountered as the result of minor offenses like traffic violations.
"At the end of the day I determined the sweeps and immigration enforcement of Maricopa County was not consistent with new priorities, which is removing severe criminal offenders who pose a danger to society," said John Morton, assistant Homeland Security director in charge of ICE.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched another crime sweep, his 12th, on Friday.
About 200 sworn deputies and volunteer posse personnel fanned out in the northwest Valley starting at noon. By press time, they had arrested 19 people.
Eight people were arrested in connection with a human-smuggling ring, and ICE officials accepted them for processing as illegal-immigrant suspects. Officials did not provide details on the 11 others arrested.
The main issue now is what will happen if deputies detain someone suspected of being in the country illegally but not connected to any other crime. If ICE refuses to accept people arrested under such circumstances, Arpaio has proposed handing them over to the Border Patrol.
The Sheriff's Office plans to continue its sweep today.
In the past, ICE's agreement with the Sheriff's Office allowed deputies to arrest immigration violators in the community and to screen the immigration status of people booked into the jail. The new agreement limits the sheriff's authority to the jail.
Morton said that, from now on, ICE will treat the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office the same as any law-enforcement agency that is not a part of the federal enforcement program known as 287(g). When deputies contact ICE to turn over suspected illegal immigrants, ICE officials will evaluate each case on its merits before deciding whether to take them into custody, he said.
"We do that every day now in Arizona" with other law-enforcement agencies when officers encounter people they suspect of being in the country illegally, Morton said.
He said the new ICE agreement does not prevent Arpaio from conducting crime sweeps to enforce state laws, but his deputies will no longer be allowed to arrest immigration violators who have committed no other crimes.
"His federal authority to make administrative arrests under 287(g) does not exist anymore," Morton said.
Illegal immigrants who commit crimes of any type, dangerous or not, can still be booked into jail, where officials trained by ICE have the authority to place an ICE hold on them for possible deportation. Authorities will be required to pursue all criminal charges in court before ICE will deport illegal immigrants.
ICE announced Friday that it had signed contracts with 55 local and state agencies across the country, including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, as part of the revamped program, known as 287(g). ICE also announced that it had approved an additional 12 contracts but was waiting for the local and state agencies to sign them.
The program was revamped following criticism that the lack of oversight had led local officers to look for illegal immigrants based on appearance, an illegal practice known as profiling. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is under a federal probe investigating allegations of civil-rights violations in connection with the sweeps.
Of the 67 agreements, 28 are jail-only contracts, 27 are community-only agreements and 12 are both jail and community contracts.
In Arizona, nine other agencies besides the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have signed contracts or have contracts pending under the revamped program.
The Pima, Pinal and Yavapai county sheriff's offices have both jail and community contracts; the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety have jail contracts. The Mesa, Florence and Phoenix police departments have community contracts.
Morton said agencies with community agreements will primarily use their authority to combat gang members in the country illegally. Read more:

From the other side...

Opposition to Arizona law often based on faulty facts
May 20, 2010, 7:59PM

An article in the Chronicle Wednesday (“Arizona law hanging over Calderon visit,” Page A7) erroneously said that Arizona's new law “allows police to stop and question anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.” This statement is flatly untrue. It's not even close to being true. And it's the kind of statement that does a disservice to people who are trying to make reasoned arguments either way about the Arizona law.
The Arizona law makes it clear that there must first be a valid “lawful stop, detention or arrest” before any investigation of immigration status can begin. The valid “stop, detention or arrest” cannot involve immigration status; it has to be independent, based upon an “other law or ordinance.” These are quotations from the text of the law.
A stop, detention or arrest can't be justified by merely suspecting someone's immigration status. It is only after a valid arrest, stop or detention has been established — only at that point — that a police officer can even consider investigating immigration status, under the Arizona law. And at that point, the officer still can't investigate, unless there are “reasonable” grounds to suspect illegal entry. And even then, he can only make a “reasonable effort ... to determine the person's immigration status.”
More importantly, the officer can't begin to make an arrest, unless the inquiry produces a solid basis, or in other words, probable cause for arrest. And the Arizona law says that ethnicity — a person's appearance — cannot be considered as the basis of the reasonable grounds. It doesn't have to say this, because it's already the law, but it's a good thing for Arizona to restate it explicitly.
As an example, consider the case of the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. This terrorist was apprehended as the result of a routine traffic stop. The officer who stopped him didn't know McVeigh was a capital murderer. He had no license plates, and that is why he was pulled over. The traffic stop disclosed that McVeigh had no vehicle registration and was carrying a handgun without a permit. But the reason for McVeigh's apprehension certainly was not because he was “someone suspected of being a terrorist,” although that kind of reasoning might seem analogous to the erroneous statements about the law that have been made in the media.
It was only after he was detained in a valid, lawful traffic stop, based on independent grounds, after the facts prompted the police to undertake an investigation, that they developed evidence that McVeigh was the bomber who had killed more than a hundred people in a federal building. That's the way it should be done. And that's what the Arizona law does, in the case of immigration violations.
In fact, ordinary vehicle stops result in a large percentage of lawful arrests. For misdemeanors, felonies, and even capital crimes like McVeigh's. This is so because traffic violations frequently bring officers into positions to witness evidence of minor crimes or very serious crimes that they did not suspect when they signaled the vehicle to pull over. We ought to appreciate it when a police officer is alert and curious during a traffic stop. That's what the Arizona law is about. If an officer sees indications of a crime, he should ask questions and look for further evidence. That is what the police did in Timothy McVeigh's case, and it is what they should do in other cases when they have made a lawful arrest, stop, or detention. Including investigating immigration crimes. But that doesn't mean, as erroneously reported, that officers can “stop anyone suspected” of a crime, and the Arizona law doesn't authorize that at all.
Part of the opposition to the Arizona law comes from people who simply don't know what the law says. And that includes some people in high places.
A few days ago, under questioning by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, admitted that he hadn't read the Arizona law. That's amazing, since Holder had called for consideration of a lawsuit to declare unconstitutional the law he hadn't read.
And a part of the opposition to the Arizona law, I think, comes from people who don't want us to follow the rule of law in immigration matters. This includes so-called sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, whose officials have criticized the law.
There are legitimate questions about the Arizona law. Will it result in a tendency toward pretextual stops because officers are motivated to find immigration violations? I doubt it, but others are sure of it, and the answer is that it's speculation either way. We'll have to see how it works. Will individuals who are in the country illegally decline to report crimes, more so than they do now, as a result of the Arizona law? I doubt it, since a valid apprehension is required first, and since such people already are reluctant; but others are sure they know the opposite. And again, we'll have to find out.
Meanwhile, the media's erroneous characterization of the Arizona law doesn't help anyone answer these serious questions at all.

Crump is the John B. Neibel Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhode Island follows Arizona....

My friend and colleague Bill Hing, a law professor at University of California Davis recently provided us with the sad news that the state of Rhode Island may be following Arizona's approach towards immigration. In the immigration professors blog Hing notes: "Rhode Island Becomes Arizona Part II....Rhode Island State Rep. Palumbo has gone ahead and introduced the AZ bill!! It went in yesterday:

We need to stand together against this!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Polls May Reflect Bias More Than the Law...

Law Professor Sherrilyn Ifill, University of Maryland, recently cogently reflected:

This new habit of "polling" in place of a focus on legality has become a dangerous habit. If a nationwide poll were conducted in 1953, no doubt a majority of Americans would have supported segregated schools. It's doubtful that many of the provisions of our Bill of Rights would survive an up or down vote in most of the country. That's why we have a Constitution - something that can survive the prejudices, exigencies and ignorance of the day and set the parameters of legality for our country.

Polls like this are irrelevant to the question of whether the Arizona immigration law (and Arizona's latest attack on ethnic studies) is legal or even whether it's offensive to minorities. I shudder to think where this country would be if questions of civil rights and constitutional legality were decided by public opinion poll. This poll only shows how far off the grid many Americans are when they think that a president who advances health care reform is "shredding the Constitution," but have no problem with a state law that gives law enforcement officers blanket discretion to stop individuals anywhere and demand proof of legitimacy.

A New Era of Nativism....

Please take a look at a recent television ad that evidently over-confidently targets immigrant and non-native English speakers:

As the above ad demonstrates, it seems the anti-immigrant lobby is feeling empowered. Perhaps it is long overdue for the Latina/o community as well as other members of this society to express their views at the ballot box? Much like the very first post on the blog, now is the moment for the silent majority, along with the largest minority group in this country, to proclaim "Basta Ya." In other words, to proudly state "enough already" and respond to hateful laws such as Arizona's SB 1070with our voices, votes, and pocketbooks. We must be prepared to quickly respond when we witness bold anti-immigrant statements such as the one above. We must use the rights this great land provides us and challenge narrow-minded and hateful rhetoric. This great land has benefited much by the promise of the beautiful and welcoming words of THE NEW COLOSSUS by Emma Lazarus, which are embedded on the Statute of Liberty.

The powerful words are reprinted here to remind us of the promise of this land and not the hate we all-too-often hear:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Instead, these new nativists, obviously sons and daughters of immigrants, must be shamed here and elsewhere, and eventually voted out. We must exclaim "Presente," asserting "we are present, we write (indeed, many of us are prolific), we vote, and we control significant economic power. We must not continue to live in shame or with mistreatment. We will no longer be made to feel like outsiders in our own homes. I applaud the attorneys, activists, students, and other like-minded souls that are not-so-quietly creating a civil rights revolution of this era. No matter how much the nativists try, their math simply doesn't add up. Let's continue to be heard in Alabama, Arizona, and everywhere else.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Litigation Coalition Against SB 1070 Emerges

In an impressive showing of litigation strength, the nation's leading civil rights organizations filed a legal action seeking to strike down SB 1070--the Arizona immigration law--as unconstitutional. (Nicholas Riccardi, Civil Rights Groups Sue to Stop Arizona's Immigration Law, Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2010). The litigators include the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the American Civil Liberties Union. The lawsuit alleges that the new immigration statute will necessarily involve racial profiling and is unconstitutional on a number of grounds.

The Brains Behind Arizona's SB 1070....

By Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times, Sunday, May. 16 2010 @ 12:04PM

In an effort to un-muddle the debate around SB 1070, Dan Nowicki's article in this Sunday's Arizona Republic further muddles it when he quotes the law's author, nativist attorney Kris Kobach, in a section titled "papers, please."
Kobach -- the guy being paid $300 per hour to tutor Sheriff Joe Arpaio's boys in beige in immigration law -- once again offers the shibboleth that SB 1070 simply "mirrors" federal law, citing the federal requirement that all registered (read, "legal") aliens carry with them their alien registration documents.

Now, if this was all the law did, Kobach might have a point. But of course the law is far broader than that, and it forces local cops to enforce federal immigration law, contrary to the plenary power the federal government has over immigration via the U.S. Constitution.
"Arizona's law, which makes it a state crime for immigrants to be without certain documents, mirrors a federal requirement that has been around since the Alien Registration Act of 1940, said Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law who helped write the Arizona law.
"Moreover, Arizona's law does not require U.S. citizens to carry an Arizona driver's license or any other papers, he said."
This last line is particularly deceptive. If during any police investigation, a cop has "reasonable suspicion" to think you're in the country illegally, he or she can presume you're an undocumented alien unless you provide one of several forms of ID.
Indeed, SB 1070 plainly states:
Subsequently, even U.S. citizens could be held until someone from Immigration and Customs Enforcement is called to sort them out.
Keep in mind that a cop can stop someone and begin the process during the "enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state." That's so broad as to include weed abatement and barking dogs.
(I should mention that none of this claptrap is "mirrored" in federal law, nor are the provisions dealing with day laborers and traffic, nor -- more importantly -- is allowing a state the privilege of writing its own immigration statutes.)
If there's a crime or ordinance being broken nearby where you are, and a cop stops you to question you about it, it opens the door for this process to begin.
Even if you are a U.S. citizen, you will be presumed to be an alien "unlawfully present" unless you have one of the above stated IDs -- assuming a cop has "reasonable suspicion" to think you're undocumented.
Kobach and his pawns in the state legislature later changed the law, which originally stated that a cop cannot "solely consider race, color or national origin." They've since taken the "solely" out, and they claim this means there will be no racial profiling.
This is highly disingenuous to say the least, when the "intent" of the law is to make "attrition through enforcement" the policy of the state. As the nativist Center for Immigration Studies has defined this loaded term, it means making life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they will self-deport.
Since the vast majority of Arizona's estimated 500,000 unauthorized aliens are from Mexico or Central America, it is reasonable to conclude that Latinos in Arizona will bear the brunt of police scrutiny.
So when someone slaps the "ethnic cleansing" label on the law, a label Nowicki is uncomfortable with, they are essentially correct.

And the Earth Trembled—Fifth Largest Earthquake in Puerto Rico’s History Strikes Like a Thief in the Night and Raises Issues of Our Collective Purpose

Silently, quietly, early Sunday morning when party goers were still partying, and the more pious were sleeping, an earthquake struck in the rural town of Moca, which is a mere 60 miles west of San Juan. The powerful tremors were felt throughout the island of Puerto Rico. The vibrations were felt as far as the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands. The earthquake measured approximately 5.6 on the Richter scale, according to U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake occurred very deep below the surface of the earth, approximately 70.2 miles below the surface of the earth. As a result, the effects of the earthquake were limited. The earthquake forced people out of their homes to seek safety, and resulted in a tsunami warning to be raised in the region. Surprisingly although there were many confused, panicked, and injured individuals, there were no casualties. However, various structures throughout the island have been damaged. The estimated cost is quickly tallying into the millions of millions. A phone video interview with a Puerto Rican resident and a Telemundo affiliate station, describing the earthquake event almost in real time as the earthquake was occurring is available here.

This earthquake is the latest in a string of world-wide earthquakes. There have been several earthquakes in Baja California, Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite the fact that there have been serious earthquakes this year, experts say that seismic activity is normal and not cause for alarm. However, several have commented that the earthquakes began to occur after the movie 2012 was released and the prophetic Mayan calendar that the end of the Fourth Cycle of Life will end in December 2012, became part of the popular culture of our time. The idea that we are living in the last days before the “end of the world” has begun to create a sense of panic for many, as we try to make sense of the recent natural disasters, and our place in the universe. It has also to so some extent, created a spiritual rebirth, a reconnection with a higher source, and higher sense of purpose. I suppose natural catastrophes, random "Acts of God," if you will, that shake us to our very core, can call in to question our own mortality, and our role in history.

Historically, Puerto Rico has not experienced many earthquakes. Jose Molinelli Freytes, in his book entitled "Terremoto," wrote that only four strong earthquakes have affected Puerto Rico since the beginning of its colonization by Spain through today. The last earthquake occurred on October 11, 1918. The epicenter was located northwest of Aguadilla in the Mona Canyon (between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic). The 1918 earthquake had an approximate magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale and was accompanied by a tsunami which was approximately 19.5 feet high. Damage was concentrated in the western area of the Island because this was the closest zone to the earthquake. The earthquake killed about 116people and caused more than 4 million dollars of damage. Numerous houses, factories, public buildings, chimneys, bridges and other structures suffered severe damage.

On November 18, 1867, 20 days after the Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane San Narciso, a strong earthquake occurred with an approximate magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter was located in the Anegada Passage, between Puerto Rico and St. Croix, Virgin Islands. The earthquake produced a tsunami that rushed inland into the island approximately 490 feet in the low parts of the coast of Yabucoa.

Arguably the most severe earthquake that has affected Puerto Rico occurred on May 2, 1787. The 1787 earthquake was felt strongly throughout the Island, and may have been as large as magnitude 8.0 on the Richter Scale. Its epicenter was possibly to the north, in the Puerto Rico Trench. The earthquake was felt very strongly all across the Island. It demolished the Arecibo church along with the El Rosario, the La Concepcion monasteries, and damaged the churches at Bayamon, Toa Baja and Mayaguez. It also caused considerable damage to the castles of San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal, breaking cisterns, walls and guard houses. The fourth strong earthquake, whose magnitude has not been determined, occurred in 1670, significantly affecting the area of San German District.

Some commentators believe that the wave of recent earthquake activity this past year starting with the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti, and followed by the subsequent earthquakes that struck Guatemala, Chile, Los Angeles, China, Greenland, Japan, Indonesia, South Africa, Fiji Islands, Oregon Coast, Iran, Algeria, India, and now Puerto Rico is a sign of catastrophic natural disasters to come. Christa von Hillebrandt, Tsunami Warning Program director, stated that “[W]hat happened today is just a sign of activity on faults in the region of Puerto Rico. The earth is saying I’m alive and I’m moving.” Perhaps we should be re-thinking our impact on the earth's fragile equilibrium. More careful analysis of issues that have not been viewed as popular or important such as climate change, oil exploration in the oceans, testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific Ocean, clean drinking water, breathable air, deforestation et cetera. The delicate "circle of life" of which we are all apart needs immediate attention, care, and protection. Perhaps that is our higher purpose in the earth's history.

Lydie Nadia Cabrera Pierre-Louis

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Arizona

With much thanks to Professor George Martinez’s urging and reminder, his post on international law also brings to mind the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, its linkages to Arizona and the Governor of Arizona’s oath of office.

As an international peace agreement the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo terminated the United States war against Mexico in 1848.[i] Aside from the innumerable treaties signed between Indian nations and the United States, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the only treaty specific to individuals of Mexican, Indian and Spanish descent. Accordingly the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo encompasses the United States formally establishing a legal relationship with them including protection of the Black Mexican citizens who also resided in the former Mexican territories.

The Treaty remains a living document into the present with the United States Constitution declaring all treaties not unlike federal law as “the supreme Law of the Land.” Comprised of several covenants the Treaty promised to those remaining in the annexed territories inter alia the right to the protection of their property interests, the right to all the protections of the United States Constitution, with yet additional covenants expediting the termination of the war.[ii] In sum, the Treaty comprises a contractual agreement between the two nations with the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution directing judges to effectuate the Treaty’s promises.[iii]

The Governor of Arizona migrated to the State in 1970 and thus it is unknown whether her education ever included the study of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Indigenous Nations that have resided in the Arizona region since time immemorial.[iv] Out of respect and just in case, this post as a basic educational tool serves to remind supporters of SB 1070 and those seeking to wipe out Arizona’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural history that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also applies to Arizona.[v]

Even more specifically, if the State’s oath of office for Governors is typical of the oaths of office applicable to other states and holders of public offices, the present Governor has sworn to uphold the United States Constitution. Curiously, even if giving the Governor the benefit of the doubt, the signing of SB 1070 and elimination of ethnic studies in the State breaches the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Perhaps it will ultimately be announced that it was all an “unintentional breach” of the oath of office?

For those that were not fortunate enough to study the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo— and here the author offers mil gracias to the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota for her education of the Treaty— the document also provides an answer to the dilemma of the present. Article XXI as contractually signed by both the United States and the Republic of Mexico boldly states in part:

If unhappily any disagreement should hereafter arise between the Governments of the two Republics, whether with respect to the interpretation of any stipulation in this treaty, or with respect to any other particular concerning the political or commercial relationships of the two Nations, the said Governments, in the name of those Nations, do promise to each other, that they will endeavour in the most sincere and earnest manner, to settle the differences so arising, and to preserve the state of peace and friendship, in which the two countries are now placing themselves: using, for this end, mutual representations and pacific negotiations.”

Article XXI also declares that the nations “. . . shall have maturely considered, in the spirit of peace and good neighbourship. . .” a resolution.

In contrast the restrictionist legislation of the present is generating a firestorm of boycotts with much harm and injury to the State and its constituents that could also prove irreparable long into the future. While the Treaty addresses a relationship between the two nations, perhaps Arizona's narrow approach to the complexities of migration to the State will facilitate the Treaty's application in the present.

[i]Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement with the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico, Feb. 2, 1848, U.S.-Mexico. 9 Stat. 922.

[ii]The Treaty also contains some racist language as to Indians not assimilated within its territories but it is beyond the limitations of this post. See Article XI of the Treaty.

[iii]U.S. Const. art, VI, cl 2.

[iv]The breach of particular covenants fall outside the limitations of this post.

[v]Arizona is also tethered to the Gadsden Purchase.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Rule of (International) Law and Arizona

Can Arizona escape the reach of international law? In a statement issued from Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations human rights experts questioned whether Arizona's new immigration statute -- SB 1070 -- and other recent Arizona legislation targeting ethnic studies programs are in compliance with international human rights treaties, which the United States has entered into. (Independent Human Rights Experts Speak Out Against Arizona Immigration Law, UN News Centre, May 11, 2010). These treaties outlaw racial discrimination and give people the right to knowledge about one's culture. The experts warned that SB 1070 could lead to racial profiling and that the legislation dealing with ethnic studies programs could undermine the right to learn about one's culture. The experts characterized the new Arizona legislative scheme as a "disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants." (Id.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another story about a local immigration law—in Spain!

Spain, a new country of immigration, has experienced for over a decade now a large scale migrant influx from Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. At the national level, the Spanish government has enacted various measures to address its immigrant population, ranging from regularizaciones or amnesties a few years ago to voluntary return plans most recently, following the economic downturn.

Despite these efforts, subnational and local governments in Spain have also gotten involved in immigration law and policy as well. The latest version of this phenomenon took place in Catalonia just last month. On April 29th, the Parlament de Catalunya, which is the unicameral legislature of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, approved a new measure regarding immigrants. Entitled “Ley de Acogida de Inmigrantes,” (Law to Welcome Immigrants), it sets up an Catalonian Agency of Migration and a standardized process by which immigrants can earn their “certificado de arraigo” (literally “certificate of having taken root.”) These certificates are essential for obtaining work permits and legal residency. In the past, the issuance of these certificates had been left up to each locality, and local officials often issued these arbitrarily. The law also includes voluntary educational opportunities for immigrants to learn the Catalan language and other subjects, to show their arraigo, or that they have taken root in their new country.

It is refreshing to see an example of an immigration law that actually addresses the needs of immigrants and recognizes the contributions they can make, even in these difficult economic times.

See if you can tell which one is different/Adivina cual no es igual

Guest Post by Pedro Malavet, University of Florida, Levin College of Law

Imagine the following scene: You are being addressed by a student, a secretary or someone who works in the mailroom at the law school at which you work as a professor while you are in the company of colleagues. The students walk by and say, “hello professor Smith,” “hello professor Johnson,” “hello Mr. Malavet.” The secretaries and other staff will address the same group of faculty by saying, “hello professor Smith,” “hello professor Johnson,” “hello Pedro.” At the doctor’s office in the university’s home town, the receptionist calls out the names of the next patient that the doctor will see: “Ms. Johnson,” “Mrs. Smith,” “Mr. Jones,” “Mr. Brown,” “Pedro.” Even at Sam’s Club, where cashiers are clearly trained to address people by their last name, the same thing happens. “Malavet” becomes unpronounceable when preceded by “Pedro.”

It happened again today! I got a call from a pharmacy that wished to confirm an order. The receptionist asked “What is you last name sir.” I responded “Malavet”. “Can you spell that for me please,” she said. “M-A-L-A-V-E-T.” “First name?” “Pedro.” “Yes. Hello Pedro, we are calling about your prescription…”

These daily micro-aggressions are merely an illustration of the racialization —the process of becoming the “other”— faced by a Latino law professor in a small southern college town, and by Latinas and Latinos more generally. In general, as used herein, “Other” and “othering,” i.e., to be “othered,” mean to be socially constructed as “not normative.” (See, e.g., Cathy J. Cohen, Straight Gay Politics: The Limits of an Ethnic Model of Inclusion, in Ethnicity And Group Rights 580 (Will Kymlicka & Ian Shapiro eds., 1997) “Much of the material exclusion experienced by marginal groups is based on, or justified by, ideological processes that define these groups as ‘other.’ Thus, marginalization occurs, in part, when some observable characteristic or distinguishing behavior shared by a group of individuals is systematically used within the larger society to signal the inferior and subordinate status of the group.” (Id., citing Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (1963)).

We must fight this marginalization and we cannot do it unless we correct these acts of racialized impertinence. It is a simple thing. Just because our names are Pedro, Juan or Maria does not mean that we should expect service providers or persons speaking to us in professional settings to address us by our last names and proper titles any less than Peter, John or Mary.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Asian-Americans to Join Litigation Coalition Against SB 1070

Asian-American civil rights organizations will join those opposing SB 1070 and file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the new Arizona immigration statute. (Sandip Roy, Asian Americans Join Fight Against Arizona Law, New America Media, May 7, 2010). Julie Su, Litigation Director of the Asian Pacific Legal Center, said that Asian-Americans are in danger of racial profiling under SB 1070 and that "we have to fight back because it affects us all." (Id.) Echoing these concerns, Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian-Americans Leading Together, said that "while the media may portray [SB 1070] as an anti-Latino bill, people understand that this law will affect all people who are brown and have accents." (Id.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The War Over Knowledge Part II and Immigration Solutions: A Primer

This post responds to the repeated query of blog commentators asking whether the NVL boycott against SB 1070 has a solution to the immigration issue. This is a two-part response. The second part concludes this post. The first part illustrates NVL joining the ranks of innumerable others outraged at Arizona’s injury causing legislation including the National Association of Chicana, Chicano Studies (“NACCS”), also comprised of inter alia innumerable professors.

NACCS arose in part from the civil rights era in protest against the omitted histories of the nation’s Chicanas/os and Indigenous communities from the education of the nation’s youths. To their detriment their communities were exposed to the history of Anglo America in the Conquest of the nation’s “origins.” While it took the protests of the era to challenge such narrow minded approaches to education, hundreds of omitted hidden histories would have benefited all children from exposure to the “other.” Compare for example with Arizona’s present efforts to eliminate La Raza Studies.

Other civil rights protests also connect the past with the present. For example when the first generation of that civil rights period spoke in Spanish their “teachers” charged young grade school students (and primarily impoverished) their precious pennies or would rap their hands sharply with a ruler.[1] Compare such measures with Arizona’s present day “auditing” of English teachers who speak with an “accent.” Experienced teachers that are perceived as “foreign-sounding” will soon be facing their walking papers to the detriment of students losing their well-trained and highly effective instructors.

Yet who is “auditing” the “auditors”? One of the nation’s treasures is the much appreciated dialectical differences that spread across the different states. When Rock Hudson was preparing for a movie role as a Texan, he had to be trained on a Texas drawl and word usage. Accordingly what type of their own dialectical distinctions do the auditors possess? In a state with much valued and the beauty of Indigenous languages, and with words borrowed from the Spanish (etc., mustang, rodeo) or Nahuatl (etc., mole, tamales) the “audits” against this group of English teachers is leaking racism all over the State's cultural heritage.[2]

Other civil rights protests of the time emerged against the Viet Nam war when college males were exempt from the draft and with extremely minor exceptions the sons of politicians instrumental to the “war” effort were also excluded from the draft. Instead many young Chicanos their Black and Indigenous brothers disproportionate to their populations were drafted and paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Were they to magically appear in Arizona today and their histories erased (as with the present threat of eliminating La Raza Studies) what would they say to a nation that owes them so much? Apply that group of facts to the present war against terrorism —what would non-citizen Mexican soldiers who also lost their lives were to say if they suddenly appeared and faced such legislation? It is not much of a logic leap to conclude how Arizona would react to their being granted citizenship after their deaths.

Innumerable other examples exist, such as the Los Angeles Chicano Moratorium of the 1970s. What began as a peaceful protest against the disproportionate deaths of Chicanos in Viet Nam resulted in mayhem when “law enforcement officers” threw tear gas at the protesters. Many of the protesters, their families and children were forced to flee. Newspaper reporter Ruben Salazar who had begun reporting on the disproportionate Chicano deaths in Viet Nam while also fleeing the tear gas ran into the Silver Dollar Bar.

It is beyond the incredulous to discern how a deputy sheriff’s tear gas projectile “found” Ruben in the bar and killed him on the spot. Although Ruben’s death was ruled a homicide the deputy was never prosecuted and while nothing can compare to Ruben’s ultimate sacrifice compare this against the framework of Arizona’s exclusionary tactics to thwart the education of more diverse histories and the burdens marginalized communities bear. Ruben in reporting on the disproportionate deaths had also witnessed threats against his life. Space and time limitations disallow a more complete history and the role of young Chicanas in protesting the above and in sum, this post promised a response to the “query regarding a solution.”

First, learn the nation’s real history. The above are but a few examples with innumerable examples also surfacing from the Chicana and other Latina theorists who began writing about their long excluded communities. Numerous other examples include the war over knowledge taking place at Michigan State University.[3] The list is endless of harmful injuries to the nation’s marginalized but in the process educators who dare teach these hidden histories have lost their jobs, tenure or are being threatened with negative teaching evaluations from provosts who have never visited the professors’ classroom and in violation of due process. But for the teachers' concern in teaching about the "other" coupled with a non-tenured status, would such a provost have submitted a negative review in a highly unusual departure from employment rules? Underscoring the lists is the fact that many have gone without remedies proving yet greater harm to their communities.

Third, and accordingly the immigration “solution” does not respond to the universalism of legal formalism and demand excursions beyond its limitations. They obligate referencing the scholarship of those critical of false norms (in the present and the past) and reified false “standards.” Numerous scholars and activists including several of the editors of this blog have significant scholarship that deals directly with immigration issues. Not only do they challenge falsehoods (as our united boycott against SB 1070) they also offer solutions.

With yet other states also threatening to adopt the false idol of the Arizona bills—multiple solutions are offered and yet many of its drafters are not invited to participate in conferences nor invited to engage in solution targeted efforts. In many instances they also encounter rejections in their quest for new educational institutions with greater funds and access to power brokers. In short the solution to the immigration mess ultimately obligates reading beyond the limitations of legal formalism and wandering purposefully into the land of yet more complete and diverse knowledge.

[1]See e.g, U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights: The Excluded Student Educational Practices Affecting Mexican Americans in the Southwest (1972).

[2]Compare in the present when a Dean at a top ten school chastised a graduate student for greeting her friend in Spanish at a meeting where Chicana/o students were protesting the demise of their Program.

[3]See War Over Knowledge February Post.

Anatomy of a Boycott, Part Two

In an earlier post titled Anatomy of a Boycott I included former El Paso mayor Raymond Caballero’s correspondence to US Airways detailing his position in boycotting Arizona-based businesses. Below is his more recent correspondence with the Mayo Clinic, an internationally known medical non-profit with a significant presence in Scottsdale, Arizona. Raymond’s reply at the end of the chain makes compelling, heartfelt points about the leadership role that Arizona businesses should have played in stemming hate during the past few years while the legislature was wrestling with similar laws, and also about the different climate in two U.S. bordertowns, San Diego and El Paso, that prompted both cities to condemn the Arizona approach that finally emerged from its legislative cauldron.

(1) Raymond Caballero’s initial email to the Mayo Clinic:

I have gone to Mayo Scottsdale for a number of years and have been very pleased with your services. Unfortunately, I will not return to Arizona nor will I patronize any Arizona firm until the very hateful anti-Latino legislation is repealed. It was a premeditated and well considered act of hatred against the Latino community. No other way to interpret it. This was not the conduct of the lunatic fringe; it was an official and deliberate act of your legislature and governor.

Sincerely, Raymond C. Caballero

(2) The Mayo Clinic reply:

Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 4:28 PM Subject: Arizona Legislation/Latino Community Feedback

Dear Mr. Caballero,

Thank you for your inquiry to Mayo Clinic and for sharing your concerns about the immigration legislation that was recently enacted by the Arizona Legislature. The response among the media and the general public has been well-documented.

As an employer and medical provider that has served Arizona for 23 years, Mayo Clinic has made a long-term commitment to this community and to the patients we serve, many of who travel here from other states and other countries. Our patients come to us for our medical expertise, but also for the unique model of kind, compassionate care that has been a hallmark of Mayo Clinic for over a century.

Mayo Clinic values and promotes diversity as a medical provider, as an employer and as a member of the communities we serve. Mayo's goal is to create a caring environment where individual differences are valued, allowing all staff to achieve and contribute to their fullest potential. We strive to serve patients, families and one another with respect, concern, courtesy and responsiveness. A climate that nurtures and supports the fullest contributions of everyone is essential to Mayo Clinic's success in patient care, education and research. Creating and sustaining this climate are the responsibilities of all who provide service and learn at Mayo Clinic.

Equal opportunity in employment and education at Mayo Clinic is a moral and legal obligation. Mayo Clinic is also committed to upholding federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran's status, disability, or status with regard to public assistance.

We greatly appreciate the confidence and trust you have placed in Mayo Clinic. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us.

Sincerely, Division of Public Affairs, Mayo Clinic, 13400 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

(3) Raymond Caballero’s response:

Dear Mayo Clinic Friends

Thank you for your response. This is my problem with it. I'm in Oregon, where I and other individuals are putting ourselves on the record against the very dangerous Arizona anti-immigrant law. It's not enough to say you are a good employer and public citizen. I agree that you are. The obligation of citizenship goes beyond that. What is very clear to me is that the sober grownups, like Mayo, were asleep at the switch for several years as this hateful legislation worked its way along to be signed by the Governor. The legislation became law because people and employers of good will said little or nothing to stop it. Today, maybe afraid of a loss of business, they might speak up.

But what I want to know is where were you these past two years? How did you stand up for the 30% of Arizona or the 40% of Phoenix residents who are Latinos or your own Latino employees who were being vilified and demonized by the proponents of the law? I want to know what you did to educate the public and to do your part to stop the fear that led to hate.

Do not think for one second that you are innocent victims. Not for one second. I'll give you an example of what can and should be done in the face of hatred and calls to throw constitutional rights out the window. Cd. Juarez--I'm sure you have patients from there--is just across the river, one block away from El Paso. Battles between the various cartels over who will supply the vast U.S. drug market have made Juarez the most dangerous city in the world. Tijuana, just across the fence from San Diego, is almost as bad. Yet both San Diego and El Paso are among the 10 safest cities in the U.S., routinely so. El Paso is the second safest city in the U.S. This is ample evidence that waves of undocumented individuals are not responsible for waves of crime. This year alone, El Paso had received somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 new, mostly undocumented, immigrants fleeing the violence in Juarez. If any two cities had the right and the facts to scare people into believing that they should fear undocumented Mexicans, these would be the places. Yet, instead of throwing the constitution out the window to satisfy a few hate and fear driven groups, El Paso and San Diego instead stood tall for the constitution and roundly yesterday condemned the Arizona law. That is what we expect from responsible public citizens.

This is the kind of action I would like you to point out to me. Can you?

Sincerely, rcc Raymond C. Caballero

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hunger Strike at UC Berkeley Opposing SB 1070

UC Berkeley students are engaging in a hunger strike in an effort to compel the university administration to denounce the new Arizona immigration statute. The students are also demanding that the university make the campus a sanctuary for undocumented persons. Since the strike started, the number of hunger strikers has grown from 20 to 40. (Javier Panzar, Hunger Strike Continues as Protest Enters it Fourth Day, The Daily Californian, May 6, 2010; Angela Woodall, UC Berkely Hunger Strike Increases in Size, Mercury News.Com, May5, 2010).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Benito Juárez, Benemérito de las Américas

5 de mayo is celebrated in a variety of ways in Mexico and across the Americas.  The commemoration of the victory of indigenous Mexican forces, led by Benito Pablo Juárez García,  against a French supported monarchical government at the Battle of Puebla has strong resonance throughout Latin America.  

 Benito Pablo Juárez García

This effort, among others, earned Mr. Juárez the honorific--benemérito de las Américas.  Within Cuba, Mr. Juarez is remembered as a supporter of revolutionary efforts to expel another European power, the forces of the Spanish Empire, from the island.
 Se preciarían los cubanos iniciadores de las guerras de liberación por contar con el concurso de sus apreciaciones. Durante varios años el presidente Juárez mantuvo correspondencia con el Padre de la Patria cubana, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
El 13 de diciembre de 1870, Céspedes se dirigiría al estadista mexicano manifestándole su agradecimiento por "... el interés con que usted ha seguido nuestra guerra de independencia y vuestra recomendación de que debemos confiar en nuestro valor, tener fe y perseverancia".
Su preocupación por el bienestar americano, aún en momentos de peligro para su patria, le granjearía el sobrenombre de Benemérito de las Américas. Quizás por ello no hay mejor homenaje a su figura que la creación del Premio Internacional Benito Juárez. Inspirado en el lema juarista: "entre los individuos como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz", el reconocimiento es otorgado por diferentes grupos sociales a líderes y personalidades que en cualquier parte del mundo se hayan destacado en la lucha por la defensa de la soberanía y autodeterminación de sus pueblos.

Benito Juárez: el benemérito de las Américas, Somos Jovenes Cuba (A state supported website)

But generally, Mr. Juárez and the Battle of Puebla is a reminder of the power of indigenous people to expel a foreign force from its territory and the legitimacy of swift punishment for those who trespass--in the case of the Emperor of Mexico by execution before a firing squad.  In a blog post well worth reading the essence of this understanding is well described:
Durante cinco años, los mexicanos se batieron contra los franceses (los españoles se retiraron muy pronto de esta descabellada empresa), recibiendo ayuda del gobierno del presidente norteamericano Abraham Lincoln, gran estadista, quien terminó con la esclavitud en EEUU, reunifico su país, a punto de dividirse, y se cuido mucho de dejar que los europeos pusiesen un gobierno proclive del otro lado de su frontera.

Por fin, en las afueras de la ciudad de Querétaro, al norte de Ciudad de México, fueron decisivamente derrotadas las tropas invasoras. Y don Benito Juárez mando a fusilar a Maximiliano en el Cerro de las Campanas, mandando un claro mensaje al mundo de que aquél que quisiera apoderarse de México, pagaría con su pellejo.

La trascendencia de estos hechos resulta del periodo histórico en que ocurre. Durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, los europeos andaban adueñándose de toda el Asia, mediante la estrategia de “proteger” gobiernos débiles en esa región. Así, Siam (hoy Tailandia) paso a semi-colonia inglesa, y Viet-Nam, Camboya y Laos, a semi-colonias francesas. Y China, paso a ser un monigote de todas las naciones europeas juntas.

Si los mexicanos no paran la invasión de los franceses, y don Benito no fusila a Maximiliano en Querétaro, es muy probable que otras naciones europeas, animadas por el “éxito” francés en México, hubieran querido hacer con nuestra América lo que hicieron con Asia, y más tarde con el África: convertirlas en estados súbditos.

Jorge Luis Romeu, La Trascendencia Ibero-Americana del Cinco de Mayo, La Colmena, May 3, 2010. So on this great day commemorating Mexican liberation, and the spirit of all autonomous peoples, I will echo the sentiments of Mr. Romeu:

Para la figura histórica de don Benito Juárez, nuestro respeto. Y para nuestros hermanos mexicanos, una calida felicitación en su fecha patria. (id.) To the historical figure of don Benito Juárez our respects and to our Mexican brothers and sisters warm felicitations on your patriotic holiday that in its ideals and aspirations you share with the rest of the hemisphere.