Saturday, April 24, 2010

When racism becomes law

In the past, when filmmakers wanted to convey the horror of living in a fascist state, they’d have Nazi (or sometimes Soviet) guards order “Papers, please. Papers!” Now they can depict Arizona police instead.

In the single most racist act a state has done in my adult life, Arizona has made it an Arizona state crime to be in the US illegally and authorised police to demand to see proof of citizenship or legal residence of anyone they, in their sole judgement, think may not be in the US legally—like because they “don’t look right,” obviously.

Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law today, claimed—with a straight face—that there would be no racial profiling of suspected illegals. She must think we’re all more stupid than she is, or incredibly gullible or both.

Of course Arizona police will deliberately target Hispanics—those are the people the bill was aimed at! Polls show that Arizonans are “angry” about illegals in their state, and those illegal residents come from Mexico. The whole point of the bill was to remove Mexicans who are in Arizona illegally.

The Obama Administration has pledged to use every legal move to have the new law struck down, which shouldn’t be too hard: It’s blatantly unconstitutional. Under the Constitution, only the US Government has authority over immigration. It will also lead to civil rights violations against “Mexican-looking” US citizens and permanent residents who will be targeted by police, something that’s also forbidden by the Constitution.

Brewer signed the illegal law because she’s in a tough re-election fight and she needed to pander to the Republican base, the teabaggers in particular. I hope she loses in a landslide.

But until the law is struck down, I have a modest proposal that will make it fair for all: All Arizonans leaving the state, without exception, should have to prove they’re citizens or legal residents. Arizonans should have to show their passport when they cross the border into another state or board any airplane, even for an in-state flight (because what if it’s forced to make an emergency landing in another state?). Arizonans should also be required to show their passport before checking into any hotel in any other state.

If the point of the law was really to weed out illegal residents, then surely Arizonans won’t mind proving they’re legal any time they do anything anywhere in the US, surely they won’t mind having to prove themselves constantly. If Arizonans don’t like that, they can always demand their state legislature repeal this heinous law.

At least filmmakers will be happy. When they want to show life in a police state, there’ll be no need for foreign locations now; all they’ll have to do is depict an Arizona cop demanding “Papers, please. Papers!”

I took the liberty of updating Arizona’s welcome sign for them (photo above). I thought they’d want to get the word out as quickly as possible.


Roger Owen Green said...

Well, to be fair, they may stop some blacks, just for old times' sake.

Wait a minute, this is AZ; Arkansas is AR - never mind.

Roger Owen Green said...

Seriously, here's my take: Arizona Apartheid.

toujoursdan said...

There are probably several thousand Canadian snowbirds who overstay the 180 day/yr. limit. Canadians make up the fourth largest group of illegal aliens in the U.S. because of overstaying.

My sister is a nursing professor at ASU. She also can pass as Mexican because she has olive skin and brown eyes. She told me that now she's going to carry her ID when jogging just in case. It's a sad development.