Thursday, August 10, 2006

2006 Elections: Immigration Showdown

Will write more later, but here's a primer
Arizona's Legislature needs to take immediate action to quell the tide of illegal immigration, said six Republican candidates running for state office at a debate last Thursday.

But voters in District 26 need to decide whether experienced legislators can best get the job done or whether Southern Arizona needs fresh leadership in Phoenix.

The district includes the Foothills west of North Craycroft Road and the Northwest Side east of Interstate 10 and north of River Road.

It seems like the predictions of myself and others over a year ago have proven correct. Immigrants have become the new boogeyman for the Republican Party. They still have their usual targets like gays and "terrorists", whatever that means, but this Fall they plan to play to the darkest of emotions among the public for political gain.

While the Capital in D.C. appears deadlocked at this point for any movement of legislation in the Senate - not necessarily a bad thing given the current makeup of the Congress - Arizona has seen repeated attempts by the State Legislature to pander to the radical wing of the Republican Party that screams for walls, law enforcement witchhunts in our neighborhoods from Parker to Douglas, Yuma to Window Rock, and the cold-blooded vandals who drain the water from crisis stations in the desert.

What really gets my goat is that the media, once again, has bought into this framing of "Homeland Security". They parrot the talking points that equates the immigrant community with terrorists, felons and drug traffickers. It is disgusting how unbalanced the narrative has been in favor of the Minutemen Wing of the Republican Party.

With this type of situation, the debates that are underway across the state is dominated by candidates who are calling for increased militarization of the borderlands, the erection of enormous walls and a promise to get something done if they're put into office. It's disgusting that the human rights advocacy groups are being shut out of the legislative process. Input from the people who work closely with the populations most involved with the immigrant population are treated like unwanted houseguests.

Here's the shtick, though. We're not houseguests. This is our home too. It's time that the rabid Enforcement Only Brigade shut their faces long enough to learn about a different way to handle immigration reform in a comprehensive, compassionate, and humanistic way.

Here's a prime opportunity for them to ductape their mouths for three hours and sit down in sponge-mode, perhaps they'll realize how bigoted and racist their views come across to those of us who are also feeling the heat of their hatred.
Community Hearing, Saturday, August 12, 2006 10:00am - 1:00pm
1255 North Stone Ave -- Pima Community College, Downtown Campus, Building "CC", Amethyst Community Room

On Saturday, August 12th, diverse community leaders will assemble at a Tucson Community College to hear testimonies and proposals for alternative approaches to border and immigration policy from local community members traveling from all over southern Arizona. The hearing is being touted as the populist alternative to closed House hearings taking place throughout the border region this month.

Panelists slated to hear from border region residents include the President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the President of Tucson's Sunnyside School District's Governing Board, the Executive Director of the Arizona Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, the President of the Nogales Port Authority and County Supervisor of Santa Cruz County, the National Director of the American Friends Service Committee's Project Voice, and the Program Coordinator of the Border Network for Human Rights.

"Border policies imposed on local communities by Washington continue to wreak havoc, while failing miserably to promote any kind of safety," said Elizabeth Camargo, of the Border Network for Human Rights based in New Mexico and Texas. "People in Arizona, much like our communities in New Mexico and Texas, are not just going to sit down and be quiet about it. This hearing will bring forth the reasons national policies have failed, and more importantly, start building a positive, democratic new vision for the border region."
It's time for a positive path to emerge within the immigration reform debate. The Wall Builders are only providing bandaids to an issue that affects many lives and many systems within our society. We are providing a complete organ transplant that will ultimately save the life of our community.

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