This was originally submitted to Booman Tribune on June 21, 2005
I've been trying to find the words to express the crisis we are facing here in the American Southwest with regards to the failed Immigration policies of the United States. I hope to continue the conversation I started with my first BooTrib diary about the need for our elected officials to take a serious look at reform of our immigration system.
Regardless of how you feel about this issue, there is one underlying factor that cannot be ignored any longer--people are dying by the hundreds in the desert heat of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
As I've mentioned in many comments here, President Bush has soured the debate on Immigration Reform by insisting that it's a Homeland Security issue. By using his terrorism meme, this becomes solely about "Securing our Borders" rather than a full-fledged dialog on other issues such as economics and human rights.
Tom Barry, policy director of the International Relations Center, recently wrote this analysis, entitled, "The Immigration Debate: Whose Side Are You On?". I recommend that you read the full thing, it's very good.
This issue concerns me greatly for several reasons. First of all, I am a 7th generation Arizonan of Mexican descent. My family was in this area before the current border was in place. The same blood flows through my veins, through all our veins. Secondly, I work amongst the Latino activist organizations here in Tucson that are bastions of hard-core liberal Democrats. We are trying to fight for the human rights of these people but are increasingly frustrated by the lack of focus on this issue.
In May of 2005, Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain introduced the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S.1033). While the bipartisanship signal sent was great, both Senators came under immediate fire from their party bases. It seems like there is one thing all people can agree to regarding immigration--to disagree. Why?
RubDMC provides our community with a daily reminder of the human rights crisis in Iraq. I hope you will all take the time to visit the Derechos Humanos website regularly to see the lives lost here in the United States. There may not be poetry, but it should still cut deep to the heart. These people are not criminals, they are immigrants seeking employment or residency to help bring themselves and their families a better life.
Probable hyperthermia; gunshot wound; multiple injuries due to motor vehicle accident; hypothermia due to exposure to the elements...
The crisis will continue as long as the debate remains stagnant. I hope to jump-start this dialog here. What are your thoughts?