I knew once health reform was tackled that the next controversial issue that would grip this country would be immigration reform. I also thought maybe President Obama would address the economy, jobs, and even education reform before touching any type of overall immigration legislation. However, after what happened yesterday in the state of Arizona, immigration reform really needs to be a serious conversation in this country and Latinos, both documented and undocumented, need to raise our voices against the underlining and sometimes outright racism surrounding the subject.
An immigration bill passed Monday by the Arizona legislature now only needs to be signed by the state’s Republican governor to become law. Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 would make it a state crime not to carry proof of immigration status and would require police to ask about a person’s immigration status if there is any doubt.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called on the governor to veto the bill, saying it amounts to “institutionalized discrimination and abuse,” and warned that other states could follow suit if the bill becomes law. He also called for a boycott of Arizona if the bill passed.
“We are going to be urging national organizations — religious, civic, labor, Latino, of color — to refrain from spending their dollars on conventions and in national activities in the state of Arizona,” Grijalva said. “There have to be hard economic sanctions for this.”
If the Arizona bill passes it would be the toughest state law against illegal immigration in the country.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has joined Rep. Grijalva in condemning the anti-immigrant bill.
“The governor of Arizona should veto the bill, and if she doesn’t the president of the United States, Barack Obama, should assert the federal government’s preeminent role in regulating and enforcing our nation’s immigration law,” Rep. Gutierrez said today.
According to the 2008 U.S. Census, 30 percent of Arizona residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin. The state of Arizona was even part of Mexico at one time, so the bill is historically hypocritical.
The United States is and has always been a country of immigrants and I am sure they have not always been documented. It’s just now in the past few decades that these recent immigrants have mainly been people of color that really causes the conservative controversy.
There must be a way to implement fair immigration reform that allows honest and hardworking undocumented residents from legally sharing in the American dream.