Profiling

I’m all for doing things the right way. Work projects, home tasks, implementing a new venture. No one wants to have to do things multiple times just to get it right.

Obviously, Arizona hasn’t grasped this concept when it comes to addressing illegal immigration.

I’ve been following this since Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the toughest immigration legislation in the country and thought I would post my thoughts on this subject.

My Stance

I am in full support of those that are living in this country and have been for years, to work towards being US citizens if they plan to stay here and make this country their permanent home. Especially if you are working here. Taxes are an important part of income generation for both states and the country as a whole. Roads get driven on daily. Parks gets played in often. Various social services like police, fire and health care are used. I’m all about being fair for all. If you take up residence and call a dwelling your home, you should be paying your fair share.

Those that come into this country and don’t contribute, you are doing legal residents a disservice. And I think something should be done to address this issue. Unfortunately, I don’t think Arizona’s knee-jerk law is going to do anything to help.

Elected officials have a problem and they want to solve it. That much most, if not all of us, can agree on. How they are going about it is where I disagree.

My friend in IT, Star Wars and Steely Dan shared this video on Twitter the other day. As I always try to keep an open mind about most things [Sorry Wayne, I will never switch back to Windows as my main computing platform], I clicked on the link and watched it.

Rep. Tom McClintock makes some valid points in this video, which is a response to a recent visit by Mexican President Felix Calderon. The first three and half minutes are spent explaining his stance, which I mostly agree with. It’s in the final 90 seconds is where Tom tends to be distracted and forgets to hear his own words.

Racial Enforcement

As Mr. Gascón has so very well stated in the following article, putting officers into the position of determining who is illegal and who isn’t without racial profiling is difficult. The entire creation of this legislation in Arizona came from the massive amount of people crossing the border from Mexico. This is not about a German citizen who lives in Arizona and hasn’t applied for citizenship yet. This is not about a Dutch resident who has lived in the state, working for the last several years. This law is squarely aimed at latinos and spanish-speaking individuals and trying to stop them from coming into the country illegally. And with this law, those are the people that will be stopped and asked for their papers the most. The only way Arizona can ensure there will be no racial profiling is if they stop each and every person and ask for their legal paperwork. Make no distinction between anyone. White, black, latino, asian, indian… you get stopped, you show your papers. That seems fair, doesn’t it? A lot of work, but with the way the law was worded and designed, it’s the only way for Gov. Brewer to keep her promise without sounding hypocritical.

Now I know some of you are saying, “What’s wrong with that? We need to defend our borders!” and others will say “They are taking their money from here and sending it home to Mexico” and “They don’t pay taxes and we are missing out on collecting that revenue” And I agree with those concerns and issues. As Rep. McClintock above said, we don’t want to close off immigrants from coming into this country, we just want them to become legal US citizens. I agree with that. What I don’t agree with is how this law is aimed at a specific race. Sure, it’s the biggest issue for Arizona, but there are better ways of enforcing and resolving this.

Hear Me Out

Back some years ago, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was concerned about increased music piracy. Instead of embracing a new way of gaining customers, it took them to court and fined them for each illegally-downloaded song. Arizona is doing a similar tactic. Instead of finding a way to help those that are here illegally become legal, they are willing to fine them and place them in jail.

A RIAA lawyer sees someone with an iPod and thinks “How many pirated songs are on that?”

Those legislators that voted for this law see a latino and think, “Is that person here illegally?”

Divided We Stand

Legal US citizens that look, talk and act like those that the Arizona law hopes to label as illegal, have no need to fear of being deported. They just need to make sure they carry some form of legal documentation that proves they are legal citizens. But, they do have need to be concerned. If for some reason, there are those who enforce this new law that don’t heed to the governor’s repeated anti-profiling promise, these legal citizens will become tired of being asked for their papers, regardless of their public actions. I certainly don’t wish for that to happen, but with a long history of race divide in this country, it’s inevitable.

How do we avoid this? Repeal the law, rewrite it so that it removes the language about “reasonable suspicion” and focus the efforts on helping add more US citizens. Do this before more states, like Utah, become copycats and continue making that dividing line that much larger. This is after all, the United States of America, not the Divided Properties of North America.

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