Friday, April 30, 2010

Fixing Arizona

I sent a post this morning to the UUMA chat, which is discussing how to deal with the fact that General Assembly in 2012 is scheduled for Phoenix, AZ. Suggestions range from boycotting Arizona with our business in general to moving the locale of that GA, that sort of thing. I am wary of responding to this crisis in civil rights without some deep thinking on the problem and wrote the following:

I think the law will be declared unconstitutional, I think that local rebellion by the police who are supposed to enforce it will engender a reality check about its enforceability, I think that the outcry by all of those who see it as a racist, repressive, ugly act of legislation will have its effect, I think we are right in protesting and considering moving our business elsewhere.

However, I think we need to consider the plight of Arizona, which is overrun by drug runners and is desperate to control the lawlessness engendered by drug smuggling and other crimes typical to border states. Do we have anything better to suggest? How does a state protect its citizens when lives are at stake? I agree that this act is not a good way to approach it, but what is better?

I have learned over my 67 years of life that when I deconstruct the actions leading up to a decision and see the factors involved in the making of that decision, I understand the situation much better and can feel empathy even around decisions I don't like.

It's certainly appropriate to speak out in opposition to this legislation but have we taken Arizona's needs into account? Do we have something better to recommend? So far I haven't heard much.


Robin Edgar said...

Excellent point Ms. Kitty.

Joel Monka said...

I actually think the Arizona legislature knew it was unconstitutional (usurping federal powers) when they wrote it- but passed it just to send a message to Washington. I think the governor signed it for the same reason- just as five years ago when then governor Janet Napolitano declared a state of emergency. Perhaps what they need is a writ of mandamus- a court order for the federal government to do its duty.

Anonymous said...

E-Verify and the No Match Rule were steps in the right direction. The idea was to require employers to verify SSNs of potential employees.

The problem is the SSN database isn't completely accurate.

About the plight of the folks in Arizona. Something on the net pointed me to Lukeville, Az. So of course I googled it and took a look in satellite view. It's amazing to see how open the border is and how easily anyone can get onto one's property.

And for a bit of comic relief... I ran across this YouTube vid that shows some Mexican boys showing how easy it is to cross over. At the end (1:20)they kinda joke around a little and the pretend to do an interview. The exchange goes something like this: (keep in mind my spanish isn't very good)

Guy 1 (with camera) "Hey so tell all of us your experience of being over on the other side."

Guy 2: (the younger guy) oh it felt good. I was even able to speak English for a little bit. It even felt like the tone of my voice changed for a little while.

Once a human face is attached to all "these damn illegals" as I so often hear...

you know, once we see them as fellow human beings, who like these two fellas display can even find humor in what has become an international hysteric, it's hard to demonize them.

kimc said...

So far, I haven't heard any good solution to the whole immigration problem. Everything proposed hurts someone. A very confusing issue.

Anonymous said...

Moving GA out of AZ will not send the right message. The UUA will still pay the state and the convention center over 600 thousand dollars. The only people who will be hurt will be the restaurant and hotels.

Chalicechick said...

I have looked at the FBI statistics over and over and have never seen how Arizona is "overrun" with crime. Here's the statistics, let me know if you find anything that backs up the "overrun with crime" thesis. Comparisons of Phoenix to Washington DC and Chicago certainly haven't. At Joel Monka's suggestion, I moved my comparison to Tucson, which he said had an increase in murders last year. Even after the increase, Tucson had all of nine murders in the first six months of last year. Nine. DC's population is roughly the same size and DC had 66 in that same period.

The crime argument sounds compelling when you don't actually look at the numbers, but the statistics paint a very different picture.

And Arizona police have not generally shown much hesitation about using every bit of power the state gives them. I do a thing I call "criminal justice *headdesk* of the day" on my blog where every day I link to an abuse of police power. Joe Arpiao, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona is the all-time champion criminal justice *headdesk* creator. I believe I have linked to four of his abuses in the past. Example. Oh, and he managed to get the publishers of that newspaper arrested on trumped up charges. A classmate of mine reports that many Arizonans hope that Sheriff Arpaio will run for governor.

I have often been quick to defend conservatives, even those accused of racism, when I thought those conservatives had a point. They just plain don't, this is just hysteria for political gain.


Desmond Ravenstone said...

I think we need to stop seeing the issue of immigration in short-sighted and parochial terms -- how to stop "those people" from coming "here" and "taking our jobs."

For a long time, Boston has had a large community of undocumented Irish immigrants. Why did they come all the way across the Atlantic to live and work here? More importantly, what made their numbers go down while more came from other countries?

They came here during a time when there were few economic opportunities in their home country. When Ireland was transformed into the "Celtic Tiger" and opportunities increased, the exodus of young Irish looking for work decreased; many even went back to Ireland.

We need to look at the immigration issue in terms of people looking for work and income because they cannot find them in their home countries. Imagine that the US economy completely collapsed, but real opportunities existed across the border in Canada. Who is to say you wouldn't take the risk of sneaking across the border to find some way -- any way -- to earn enough money to feed yourself and your family? And who is to say that many Canadians would not react the same way as many in Arizona have?

Now imagine a different response -- not resorting to draconian methods of "keeping those people out" but finding innovative ways to help build up the economies where so many of these hard-working folks are coming. Given the choice between traveling far from home, and finding or creating new opportunities close to home, who would choose the former over the latter? And how much better would that be for everyone?

kimc said...

Just as a hypothetical, suppose you gave Arizona cops permission to pull over anyone who looked like they might be a drug dealer. Would that be any different than being able to pull over anyone who looked like they might be illegally in the US?

ms. kitty said...

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful remarks. I did a little research and found data that supports your claim, CC, which I'm glad to know. My statement was erroneous, since I depended too much on TV news for my info.

Thanks for the correction.

Chalicechick said...

FWIW, in honor of this post, I have declared it "Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Greatest Hits" week on "criminal justice *headdesk* of the day." Every day all week, I will post something egregious he personally was behind.

Regrettably, that means I won't get to stories like this one, and I do hate to deprive my readers of a story that includes both prosecutorial misconduct AND porn. But Sheriff Arpaio is worth it.