Thursday, June 9, 2011

Agueda's Thoughts: Really Alabama?

The state of Alabama just passed a new anti-immigration law that entails the following: it requires law enforcement to “make a ‘reasonable attempt’ to determine a person's citizenship and immigration status, given a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person is an illegal immigrant — unless doing so would hinder an investigation.” Public elementary and secondary schools must now determine the immigration status of its students and must submit and annual report to the state board of education on the number of ‘presumed’ illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are cannot receive state or local public benefits, enroll or attend college and solicit or gain employment. It prohibits harboring or transporting illegal immigrants and knowingly employing them. The number of things it “prohibits” or “outlaws” continues.

After reading the details of this new law I want to propose a simple solution that will speed up the identification process of illegal immigrants: all illegal immigrants must walk around with a big bulls-eye on their back. Not only would that cut cost for the government, it would make the GOP happy, and give peace of mind to those who suffer from xenophobia.  I am sure that supporters of the new Alabama law would love such an idea and have probably already considered it.

Developing some sort of sarcastic solution to this problem of illegal immigration that seems to be on everyone’s radar was probably the only thing that kept me from writing a very undiplomatic response to how I feel about the new law in Alabama. In my opinion, it is repulsive, far-fetched, and extremely racist. It promotes racial profiling and discrimination just like SB1070 in Arizona, it criminalizes any behavior that should be and is constitutional like having a place to live and receiving medical attention, it targets youth who are merely going to school as the law requires, and it promotes a negative attitude and perspective on immigration. Not only does it perpetuate the fear of undocumented immigrants it also increases the fear in individuals who are merely in this country to pursue a better life. Undocumented immigrants already live in the shadows of this country and this law only tells them to remain in the dark and reminds them that they are unwanted.

Undocumented immigrants are a part of our communities and society. They are people’s friends, coworkers, brothers, sisters, or fathers. Because of that, undocumented immigrants are not the only ones who feel the repercussions of laws such as the one just passed in Alabama; everyone around them feels the weight of such laws and they are forced to live in fear. Undocumented immigrants will not disappear or just “go away” like many may wish, so how about the federal government really does what it keeps promising and works to develop a truly comprehensive immigration reform plan before more of this ridiculously racist and unreasonable laws pop up in more states?


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