Thursday, April 29, 2010

SB1070: A New Name For An Old History

On SB1070 And What Happens When "Brown"Means "Illegal"

I am a proud Chicana. I also identify as brown, raza, Mexican-American, a person of color or Latina. I’m not Hispanic, a colored person or a minority. But under the law how does that play out? When filling out the census “Hispanic/Latino/Spanish Speaking” has its own section. If a person comes from a “Spanish speaking” background, that also begs the question: are they an “illegal alien?” Being an “illegal alien,” or “undocumented” as I prefer, not only effects a person when applying for a job or when trying to get financial aid for college but it also plays roll when buying a home, opening up a bank account, or getting a cell phone plan. They face a constant fear of being deported or being “discovered.” People of all ages experience these things; parents, youth, adults, seniors, etc. The emotional and psychological trauma that the undocumented community is burdened with is clearly not enough for the state of Arizona. The governor of the state feels that a person should be questioned for merely “looking” like an “illegal.” Apparently, getting rid of all the undocumented people in the state of Arizona will help the state in some way. But what do the provisions of the law mean?

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.

How does law enforcement determine, just by looking at someone, whether they fit the description of an undocumented person? Is their clothes soaking wet from just having crossed the Rio Grande? Does going to Home Depot “prove” a person is in the United States illegally? Or, does the color of a person’s skin simply demonstrate how much melanin is in their skin? How can this law be logically enforced without discriminating someone based on a racial profile that the government of Arizona is now calling acceptable?

There are so-called “equal opportunity” laws that prevent employers, schools, government, etc from discriminating someone based on their ethnic/racial background yet the state of Arizona feels that it has the right to stop anyone who they THINK may be undocumented?

The fear of immigrants that has been increasing over the past decade is nothing new. Irish immigrants were targeted in the 1840’s, Chinese immigrants were targeted around the 1880s, in the 1920s the Japanese were targeted, and the list goes on. Latina/os have been targeted multiple times throughout history with such things as Operation Wetback, Proposition 227, HR4437, etc. The only new information this time around is the name of the law: “SB1070.” Some say that Latina/os are target more often because we share a border with Mexico, but the last time I checked we also border Canada.

Communities everywhere are hoping that SB1070 is overturned. If such a law is allowed to continue, what will it say about our country, the country that has given so much to immigrants from many countries for hundreds of years?

Agueda Rivas

1 comment:

Tony said...

Great entry Agueda!

But you left out one group. The Italians! Where's the love? Seriously, check it out. This is from "Italian in America" by Justin Demetri
"Part of the reason the Italians were treated so badly was that they were seen as unintelligent, menial laborers. They were willing to work in deplorable conditions, especially on first arrival...The determination of these first immigrants to support their families was apparently misunderstood as a slave or servant mentality...The native residents accused the immigrants of taking their jobs, underselling them by working longer hours for much lower wages."

Sound familiar?

We are marching backwards.

Keep raising awareness kid,