Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hate Marches On

Despite the injunction blocking much of Arizona's draconian Senate Bill 1070 legislation, and the threat of significant litigation and expense ahead, a Texas newspaper reported last week that two Texas lawmakers intend to push forward with bills inspired by Arizona.

This week, the word in Oregon is that a Latino state representative, Republican Sal Esquivel, may introduce similar legislation in Oregon. Oregon is drowning in unemployment and painful government cuts are commonplace. Although Texas has weathered the economic crisis somewhat better, I can't believe these legislators would set in motion laws that are legally dead on arrival, at least in the opinion of most scholars of consequence. Much as I appreciate the business for my former students and the legal community, passing controversial legislation sure to spark a wildfire of legal response doesn't seem prudent, especially during a financial crisis.

Of course, the legislators will contend they are trying to issue a clarion call to Congress to rescue the states from the supposed costs of undocumented immigration. Pete Wilson said the same thing in championing California's Proposition 187 that a federal court ultimately derailed. If so, a far cheaper route, and one insulated from legal attack, would be to pass a state resolution imploring Congress to act to better enforce the borders, whatever that means.

Instead, I think these legislators intend warfare on the Latino immigrant population and beyond. Just as we don't tend to do the math on warfare abroad, or even internally for such campaigns as the war on drugs, I believe that when it comes to Latinos, some people are willing to spend anything to keep demographic and cultural change at bay. But they are swimming against the current and history will recognize them as wasting our money, and poisoning our cultural well. Let's not wait for future generations to judge us for our shameful treatment of immigrants seeking a piece of the American dream. Our best hope is that Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 is swept swiftly into the dustbin of history and that other states keep their collective heads and hearts in the right place.


  1. With the changing demographics of the US population, there are many who are fearful of the unknown. The reality is that the attempts to restrict immigration from Latin America are pointless. The census predictions are pretty clear on the future demographic makeup of the US.
    Instead of fighting the inevitable, there should be a cultivation of the mutual respect and understanding of different cultures.
    When I immigrated to the US from the Caribbean, those of my culture were also met with many of the hate and fear being experienced by my Latin American brothers and sisters. There were raids, physical assaults and murders against persons from my country because of xenophobia.
    The masses are often lead astray by self serving politicians who ultimately hope to gain dominance in the midst of confusion. If the US searches its soul, there will be a realization that we are all aliens, whether documented or undocumented.

    Tishana W.

  2. It is sad that such xenophobia still permeates the consciousness of the American psyche. The fact remains that the democraphics of this country are changing. There are those who will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening. Instead of spreading hate, we all need to realize that this country is big enough for everyone.

    Tishana W. (FIU)


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