Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grijalva's Offices Targeted Again By Haters

This is terrorism.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s congressional office is closed this afternoon as police respond to a suspicious piece of mail.

An envelope arrived with swastikas drawn on the outside and a white powdery substance on the inside, said Adam Sarvana, Grijalva’s spokesman.

The office is on lockdown as police investigate. Those outside the office are not allowed in, and the workers and constituents inside are not allowed to leave until police clear the scene, Sarvana said.

At about 1:45 p.m. there were several police and two fire vehicles outside the office.

It’s not the first time his office has been the target of threats.

Grijalva received death threats in April, shortly after SB1070 was signed into law and he called for a boycott in response. He closed his Tucson and Yuma offices as a result.

In July, after he called off the boycott, staffers found a bullet and a shattered window inside his Yuma office

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Billboard Terrorism

Anyone know who paid for this gem? It's currently on display in Oracle, Arizona.


[UPDATE] The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says they are not responsible for it and don't know who commissioned it. Still looking into it...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Una Identidad Sin Fronteras: Verdolaga Dreams


September 1st is a day that, for the past 15 years, has given me pause because it is the anniversary of my Tata Manuel's death. He was, and is, my hero.

He was taken from us far too soon in 1995 by pancreatic cancer that wilted a heavy-ish burro of a man into a frail calavera in less than a year's time. Watching him deteriorate was the saddest yet most profound eras of my life because he suffered with dignity and faith in God that had the power to unite my family in his memory through the present day.

When he was still in his strength, Manuel III would spend hours upon hours cleaning the graves of our family's ancestors and friends - making sure weeds were pulled, the tierra around the plot was raked, any trees/shrubs watered, and the forms painted a gleaming white. I recall that a great tia's grave had a water jug tied to the fence that surrounded her resting place.

"What's that, Tata?"

"Well, mijo, it's in case your tia or anyone nearby gets thirsty and needs some water."

"Oh."

It made sense to me. This is Arizona, after all.

Ever since my tata's passing, my dad became the caretaker of all the graves with that endless cycle that promised that his dad's plot would be another added to the rounds. In speaking to my Nana earlier, she told me that my dad spent the evening scraping and painting the cemento around my Tata's grave for the anniversary - this was not a surprise because it's what we do.

I'm only a hundred miles from home, but it's relatively far considering that seven generations of my paternal line is buried within a ten minute drive of where my parents and last living grandmother live today. Each remaining generation taking care of the resting place of the previous. It's who we are...

...which means that pulling weeds is pretty much stamped into every speck of habanero in my veins.

So there I've been all week after work in the tierra that I arrogantly call: Mine. Pulling weeds, raking, pruning, watering - in anticipation for my 30th Birthday Carne Asada which is doubling as a CasitaWarming Party (a year later = Mexican Standard Time) - and on the 1st of September, I couldn't help but think of all the same work that's been done for generations in my family and the respect & love that fuels it; not knowing that 100 miles north my dad was fulfilling his responsibility to my Tata and all the Nanas and Tatas and Tios and Tias that preceded him.

Only I was having trouble.

The weedeater was not working on these weeds - they were too juicy and remained in place, mocking the 21st Century: "you wanna get rid of us, then bend that lazy spine and pick us with your hands!" A memory stirred, but not until I had lit a candle to remember my Tata that night, said a few prayers and went to sleep.

I was walking through rows of grapevines in Florence, Arizona, amazed that they could grow in the desert. Large clumps of succulent goodness in all sizes and hues. My Tata pointed to an older vine to the left and explained that the dried ones were raisins.

"Ohhhhhhh!" said my youthful self upon making the connection: that's where raisins come from.

Nana Mary had fallen behind as my Tata and I continued looking for grapes along the row to pick and take home to enjoy. She was poking around in the dirt at the base of the vines, looking at...something.

"Nana, what are you doing?"

"Nothing mijo, go with your tata"

And I woke up.

The thought process got rolling without the added benefit of café: "Could it be? Nah, that's too weird. Yeah, but it's been nearly 20 years since you've seen them raw, so it's possible. Thank God for Google."

Vergoladas.

Verdoladas.

Verdolagas!

The same weed that my Nana was hunting for all those years ago in the dirt of a vineyard just a stone's throw away from the dry Gila River has made itself quite comfortable in the rear portion of my yard. No wonder the weedeater was nearly smited earlier this week, that carpet of nutritious goodness was waiting patiently for me to remember.

Thanks for the reminder, Tata.

And Nana: it doesn't gross me out anymore that they're weeds because tan deliciocas con ajo, cebolla, cilantro y tomate - something that I'll never forget again thanks to Verdolaga Dreams.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Randy Parraz for U.S. Senate

Tuesday, August 24th - is Primary Election Day in the State of Arizona. I voted early a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share some thoughts as to why I voted for Randy Parraz as the Democratic candidate who will face McCain in the General Election.

Let me begin by saying that I believe John McCain can be forcefully retired in November. He was beaten handily in 2008 after a series of misjudgments (e.g. Sarah Palin) and misstatements (e.g. "That One") because President Obama was able to clearly share his vision for the country, one that is in direct contrast to the smoke & mirrors offered by the modern conservative movement. A conservatism that deregulated Wall Street causing our economy to nose-dive, drowned New Orleans in Grover Norquist's bathtub, and trumpeted up the case to send our military might into a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Additionally, during the Presidential Debates it was evident that the Very-Senior Senator considered himself Obama's superior. The condescension and crankiness of an old white man verses the younger bienthic scholar laid it clear to 21st Century Voters that the country had an opportunity to take a chance and move forward in a real way.

I think gente deserve more credit than what infotainment news outlets like Fox News give them - if one treats voters like adults, they will show respect in return. If one goes further and points out the fact that a political opponent thrives on keeping voters ignorant, an election is won.

I believe Randy Parraz has what it takes to clearly draw that type of contrast with McCain in November.

Arizona is the poster child for what happens when the Tea Party gets its anti-government tentacles in all levels of government: the school system derails, infrastructure crumbles, and job creation stagnates due to lack of imagination. Parraz is a candidate who can remind the public how government can work effectively.

Why is Arizona not leading the rest of the country in solar energy? It's embarrassing that we're not. Parraz can make that type of case that discredits what we've all been sold by the GOP, especially the AZGOP that knows no limit to its extremism.

I could go on and on, but the litany of grievances I would list share one common thing: all are in need of a passionate, articulate response.

While I considered Rodney Glassman for many months, in the end, it came down to the fact that I don't think he has what it takes to energize the coalition of voters that will be needed to beat McCain. He makes the right noises for a Democrat on the stump (usually); but as an avowed cynic, my B.S. Meter does somersaults telling me that I'm hearing a salesman pitch from a lackey in search of a promotion instead of a believer in the product. [All that said, I'll still fill in the oval next to Glassman's name come November if he manages to win tomorrow, but it will be a vote against John McCain, not for Rodney Glassman.]

I think there's going to be a surprise tomorrow, however, and I'll be happy to spend the fall season working to elect Randy Parraz as the next Senator from Arizona.

More info:

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Political Complexity of Immigration

The Tribune/WGN commissioned a poll of the Chicago area that shows that voters understand that immigration is something that must be handled with nuance and compassion
The telephone poll of 800 heads of households across the six-county Chicago region July 8-14 found that 57 percent of the respondents did not want police to seek illegal immigrants for deportation.

Almost half of those polled, 48 percent, said they believed that illegal immigrants snatched jobs and resources, taking away from society and the economy.

Nearly all of those who responded, 87 percent, believed that some sort of legal status should be offered to the nearly 11 million people in the country illegally, provided that the immigrants aren't dangerous felons, that they learn English and that they pay fines and back taxes.

ChicagoTribune.com

I've been blogging immigration for over five years now. Earned blisters from marches, protests and vigils close to home and across the country. Voted and advocated for promigrant/prohumanity candidates. Networked to help relief find the random email from a scared brother or sister without documents.

To be honest, it feels unsettling to talk about immigration as a political issue, because it has been used a weapon to destroy the lives of migrant workers, youth, and the communities that give our neighborhoods the vibrant sense of home that we love and cherish.

On the national level, both parties have bought into the notion that there is such a thing as having enough border security - the mirage of satiating the bloodlust of nativists who would rather see a fence hundreds of miles along a desert homeland that has experienced the migration of human beings for as long as the species walked the earth.

We have to be willing to change the way we think about immigration.

We must have the courage to look in the mirror for the reasons that the Summer of 2010 will go down as the deadliest in Arizona. 214 as of July 31st.

We should challenge politicians who are trying to save their careers by offering soundbites that are reckless and unconstitutional.

We must - because it will be the only thing that slows down this march to extremism by the United States. We must remember who we are as human beings.

We must.

Which is why The Sanctuary is back.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bullet Closes Grijalva's Yuma Office

The media narrative would have you believe that those of us who are against Arizona's Shame: SB1070 are a bunch of violent squatters, but in reality, it's the gun-toting vigilantes in support of racial profiling and ethnic cleansing who can't control their tempers

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., has closed his Yuma district office for the day after staff discovered that a bullet had shattered a window earlier Thursday.

A news release from Adam Sarvana, Grijalva's spokesman, says police are investigating the vandalism and have not released details about a possible motive. Grijalva will re-open the office as soon as possible, his office said.

AZCentral.com

Recall that when SB1070 was signed by Jan Brewer a couple of months ago, Justin Haynes was arrested for calling Grijalva's offices and threatening to "blow the brains out" of the Congressman and his staff.

The AZGOP have created these violent monsters, it's their responsibility to denounce them and prevent further violence.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jan Brewer's Stimulus Hypocrisy

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins a long list of Republican hypocrites who are trying to take credit for Federal Stimulus funds that they opposed.


Jan Brewer is a socialist. Who knew?

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of SB1070

Good news. The following portions of Arizona's Shame: SB1070 have been enjoined (put on hold) by Federal Judge Susan Bolton:
Portion of Section 2 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 11-1051(B): requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to
determine the immigration status of a person stopped,
detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that
the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and
requiring verification of the immigration status of any
person arrested prior to releasing that person

Section 3 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 13-1509: creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien
registration papers

Portion of Section 5 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 13-2928(C): creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply
for, or perform work

Section 6 of S.B. 1070
A.R.S. § 13-3883(A)(5): authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there
is probable cause to believe the person has committed a
public offense that makes the person removable from the
United States

.pdf of full ruling here

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gov. Brewer Runs From Media Scrutiny

Looks like Nevada's Teabag Senate Candidate Sharon Angle isn't the only one running from media questions.

Watch Arizona Governor Jan Brewer burn rubber after getting asked about her staff's ties to the private prison industry and whether it had anything to do with her signing of SB1070:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I Stopped Blogging Regularly

You would think that given that I've been blogging immigration-related issues for over five years while based in Arizona, the past several months would be peak time for writing at this site. Unfortunately, I'm suffering from outrage fatigue and blogging sends me into an unproductive place.

SB1070 and HB2281 fucked with my very being, my very identity - to put it bluntly.

The salt in the wound is watching poll after poll show sizeable majorities of the populace agree that brown-skinned gente should bend over and take the violation of our civil and human rights with a smile on our faces. We should "do our part" by accepting racial profiling, the oppression of our culture, and the militarization of our ancestral homeland all in the name of a false sense of security.

A rage has been building inside of me that I recognize as unhealthy, so I remain silent on this page in deference to speaking out in real life through everyday conversation and community organizing (Socialist!!!). Scanning headlines and reading commentary used to be soothing, but with such potent hate gathering around those of us targeted in Arizona, I find it depressing and paralyzing.

What's worse is that it will only get worse before it gets better. I think that's why I find myself unable to watch the downward spiral from the front row.

I'd rather sit on the stone bench in the corner of my mountainview yard, close my eyes, and listen to the wind. It gives me the strength to keep fighting for what I know with every habanero flake in my veins - history will not judge the actions of the current era in Arizona very kindly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Russell Pearce's New Email Problem

He's not backing down from these remarks...yet:
If we are going to have an effect on the anchor baby racket, we need to target the mother. Call it sexist, but that's the way nature made it. Men don't drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do.

KPHO.com
If he's still forwarding emails like that, it looks like he failed to learn the lesson of spreading the special brand of hate offered by the white supremacist group National Alliance a couple of years ago.

Shocking.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Murder Tales

We've been hearing for over a month that the murder of rancher Robert Krentz, whose property is adjacent to la frontera in Cochise County, was the headline reason to pass anti-migrant/anti-Latino legislation such as Arizona's Shame: SB1070. Well, Brady McCombs has a bombshell in today's Arizona Daily Star:

The killing of a Southern Arizona rancher that sparked an outcry to secure the border was not random, and investigators are focusing on an American suspect, the Arizona Daily Star has learned.

High-ranking government officials with credible information spoke to the Star, citing a desire to quell the fury over illegal immigration and drug smuggling set off by the shooting death of longtime rancher Robert Krentz on March 27.

They said Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is investigating a person in the United States, not in Mexico, in connection with the shooting.

Of course, if the American turns out to be someone with brown skin, then it won't matter to the haters. They're hoping that the "attrition through enforcement" campaign works for all of us. If the killer turns out to be white, then I expect the same reaction from the Russel Pearce Fan Club as was expressed when the Flores family was slaughtered:

Crickets

Friday, April 30, 2010

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies

The Arizona Republican Party continues its campaign of ethnic-cleansing in the state:

Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

Taking the long-view, which is painfully difficult when one's cultura is directly targeted and oppressed in the present, these misguided legislators will go the way of the dinosaurs as every young Latino citizen becomes a voter:

Hispanics make up roughly a third of Arizona’s 6.6 million people, according to the Census Bureau.

But while half of the state’s older Hispanics are immigrants that came to the U.S. either legally or illegally, about 90% of those under 18 were born in the U.S., according to analysis of Census data by Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.

“If immigration ended tomorrow, Hispanic births would continue to fuel rapid growth because the population is young and has higher fertility than other groups,” says Mr. Johnson.

Wall Street Journal

The young people will vote, too. Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, John Huppenthal and the rest of the AZGOP extremists have radicalized the young generation to demand equality and justice for our people.

Arizona May 1st Marches 2010

Here is the flyer for the May 1st 2010 March - La Gran Marcha - in Tucson, to be held tomorrow beginning at 9am.


More information can be found at the Tucson May 1st Coalition website. There are events scheduled all over the country, including in Phoenix and Flagstaff:

Flagstaff, Arizona
May Day Freedom March

Time: May 1, 3:30pm
Location:Flagstaff City Hall 211 W Aspen
Details: Meet at City hall @ 3:30 p.m. We will be at city hall demonstrating our support for immigration reform! We must get our point across to our elected officials and get immigration reform passed this summer. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Bring signs


Phoenix, AZ

Midnight Vigil April 30th: Gather at 10:30pm, service at 12:00am (midnight)
Evening Vigil: May 1, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Location:1700 W. Washington Street, State Capitol, Phoenix, AZ
Organizer: Raquel Teran

May 1st Marcha - gather at Veteran's Coliseum at 8:30am
March to State Capitol for rally

To find an event near you, please see the Reform Immigration For America website. There are actions happening all over the country this weekend to fight against extremism like AZ's SB1070.

Immigration Solidarity provides the following tips for participation:

Wear White T-Shirt, organize local actions to support immigrant worker rights!

1. No to anti-immigrant legislation, and the criminalization of the immigrant communities.
2. No to militarization of the border.
3. No to the immigrant detention and deportation.
4. No to the guest worker program.
5. No to employer sanction and “no match” letters.
6. Yes to a path to legalization without condition for undocumented immigrants NOW.
7. Yes to speedy family reunification.
8. Yes to civil rights and humane immigration law.
9. Yes to labor rights and living wages for all workers.
10. Yes to the education and LGBTQ immigrant legislation

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Democrat's Arbitrary Immigration Framework

This afternoon, Democratic Senators Reid, Schumer and Menendez will stage a press conference in Washington, D.C. to lay out their go-it-alone framework for an overhaul of the country's immigration system. The 26-page plan (.pdf warning) is heavy on what I would describe as arbitrary enforcement mechanisms to appease...someone. Not sure who, exactly, because no matter what gets laid out on the table it will be met with howling screeches of "AAAAAAAAMNESTY!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!ELEVEN!!!!!!!!!"

I've been blogging this issue for over five years now. I know the drill.

Between now and some future date that will undoubtedly be after the 2010 midterm elections, members of Congress will dream up new ways for undocumented workers and students to perform the Cupid Shuffle while balancing themselves on an exercise ball amidst the "they did it legal crowd" of mostly-white people.

There will be no recourse for undocumented workers who have been exploited as slaves. There will be no mea culpas as to how federal border policy is directly responsible for the crisis situation along la frontera with dead bodies found in increasing numbers every year. And there certainly won't be any attention given to the economic/trade policies that keep the United States' boot at the throat of sender nations.

It's all arbitrary. And creepy:
Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this proposal, the Social Security Administration will begin issuing biometric social security cards. These cards will be fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable social security cards containing a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer.

The card will also possess the following characteristics: (1) biometric identifiers, in the form of templates, that definitively tie the individual user to the identity credential; (2) electronic authentication capability; (3) ability to verify the individual locally without requiring every employer to access a biometric database; (4) offline verification capability (eliminating the need for 24-hour, 7-days-per-week online databases); (5) security features that protect the information stored on the card; (6) privacy protections that allow the user to control who is able to access the data on the card; (7) compliance with authentication and biometric standards recognized by domestic and international standards organizations. The new biometric social security card shall enable the following outcomes: (1) permit the individual cardholder to control who can access their information; (2) allow electronic authentication of the credential to determine work authorization; and (3) possession of scalability of authentication capability depending on the requirement of the application.
The libertarians have been largely silent on the government expansion involved with SB1070 in Arizona. I don't expect them to speak out against this either. After all, we have to sacrifice for the greater good to get them, don't we?

This latest mierda burger is not something I was willing to accept when the Bush Administration tried to serve it and I'm certainly not going to do so from a Democratic chef. The entire document is akin to getting kicked in the teeth after the AZGOP just finished whipping us for daring to disobey our masters.

No Gracias.

SB1070: Racial Politics and the Boycott


If anything is clear, it's that the language of Arizona's SB1070 was written so vague that it's possible for anyone who is capable of thought to have an opinion on how it could be implemented.

Then there's Sarah Palin.

She is pretending like racial profiling never happens and the brown menace is simply working ourselves into a frenzy in order to race-bait the white folk and score cheap political points through the lamestream media so that Barack Obama can keep palling around with Kenyan terrorists. Or something:

In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity — who introduced the segment by accusing “pro-illegal immigration” protesters of not actually reading the legislation — Sarah Palin said “there is no ability or opportunity in there for the racial profiling” in the law.

Critics have argued that the broader powers of law enforcement officials to stop and question suspected illegals who would, with this legislation, be considered to be “breaking the law” if they are in the state, will inevitably lead to racial profiling.

Palin, however, denied these claims.

Huffington Post

Closer to Arizona, however, the adjective racist is being used quite commonly to describe Arizona's Shame: SB1070

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called on President Barack Obama to fight a new law signed Friday in Arizona that gives police power to request ID from suspected illegal immigrants.

Grijalva, speaking at a rally Sunday at the Arizona state Capitol, asked Obama to not cooperate with the law, according to the Associated Press.

"We're going to overturn this unjust and racist law, and then we're going to overturn the power structure that created this unjust, racist law," Grijalva said.

The Hill

Watching the debate unfold across this country, the reaction I've had most commonly is: "Wow. How very white of you."

Here's a perfect example from a usual suspect as he reacts to my brown Congressman of Mexican descent:

REP. STEVE KING: Well, it looks like the case is that, that he's trying to scare the businesses out of Arizona, or he's trying to get the businesses to change their position and press the legislature to reverse the law that was just signed by the governor the other day. I'm wondering if we look at the map of Congressman Grijalva's congressional district if we haven't already ceded that component of Arizona to Mexico judging by the voice that comes out of him, he's advocating for Mexico rather than the United States and against the rule of law, which is one of the central pillars of American exceptionalism.

Media Matters video & transcript

You know what that sounds like? The same hate speech that comes from white supremacist vigilante groups that terrorize the border region. It's that same tone of dismissal that people of color hear everyday. "Oh, there he goes again, advocating for his own kind."

Poof. Dismissed.

Well, here's a white guy that agrees with Congressman Grijalva:

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik tells KGUN9 News that SB 1070, Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration, is a “racist law,” and says he has no intention of complying with it. In doing so, Dupnik becomes the first major local law enforcement official to officially rebel against the bill since Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law on Friday.

Dupnik told KGUN9’s Steve Nunez that the law is “disgusting” and “unnecessary.” Dupnik said his deputies plan to keep on doing what they’ve always done. He said when illegal immigrants wind up in his custody, his deputies will detain them for federal agents, but will not take them to the county jail.

Dupnik said he realizes that, under the terms of SB 1070, he could get sued for failing to comply with the law. But he indicated that’s a risk he’s willing to take. Dupnik insisted that federal law supersedes state law.

(via VivirLatino)

Sheriff Dupnik and Congressman Grijalva share a wide swath of the same jurisdiction in Southern Arizona. We are a region that respects our indigenous roots and culture. In fact, we pride ourselves in celebrating all of the representative traditions among our people at every opportunity. It drives conquistadors like Steve King and Russell Pearce nuts.

Let's stop pretending that SB1070 will be enforced the same for a white snowbird in Scottsdale who decided not to the leave the state during the summer versus a Xicano family that's celebrating a child's birthday at Peter Piper Pizza. The whole concept of "attrition through enforcement" is nothing more than a fancy term for ethnic cleansing.

When outsiders get up on their platforms and sneer down their noses at the living mestizaje found here, especially those who insist on passing laws to disrupt our way of life, you can bet a truckload of apple pie that there will be resistance; because we have been targeted for a long time by federal immigration enforcement on land that has been home to our ancestors for centuries. Our skin color, our accents, our language are all suspect to an oppressive federal system that SB1070 expands unjustly.

For several years I've been told that I should keep my mouth shut and accept that I'll be profiled since so many brown people migrate to the U.S. to steal jobs provide for their families. "Sacrifice for the greater good", I'm told. Well, I have come to a place where I can agree to do that.

I stand with Congressman Grijalva on a boycott of Arizona.

It will be painful for our economy that is barely starting to recover from the Bush Recession, but in order to force the conservatives in power to take racial justice and equality serious, we'll need to translate the message into their mother tongue: money.

So be it. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SB1070: Flagstaff City Council Explores Challenge

The Arizona Daily Sun reports from Northern Arizona:

The Flagstaff City Council came out Tuesday against the state's controversial new illegal immigration law, unwilling to enforce a law that one councilmember called "horrible" and "racist."

They echoed sentiments held by a crowd of about 100 who turned out for the meeting at City Hall.

"I am here to speak on the behalf on the kids, los ninos," said Ada Luz Mendoza -- she knows of small children who spend nights worrying that their parents are going to be taken away at any time under the new law.

But the council, with Scott Overton absent, did not decide specifically how to oppose the immigration law, known as SB1070, during their Tuesday night meeting. The city attorney said she was unwilling to lay out legal options for the city council publicly without doing some research.

The council is expected to review its legal options against the measure next Tuesday.

Opposition to Arizona's march to extremism will not be fading anytime soon. There is a renewed sense of activism growing each day. November will be referendum on the nativists who crossed the line with SB1070. Voter engagement campaigns are already revving up to make it so.

We will not forget.

Tucson Breaks Mariachi Guinness World Record

The haters have received way too much attention lately.

Here's a video from last week, where participants at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference broke the Guinness World Record for most mariachi playing on one stage.


Mexican culture is indigenous to Arizona, Russell Pearce. Despite your efforts, we aren't going anywhere.

Quote of the Day

"Would you support deportation of natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens," Hunter was asked. "I would have to, yes," Hunter said. "... We simply cannot afford what we're doing right now," he said. "... It takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It's what's in our souls. ..."

-Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican from California
At least he's honest.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kris Kobach: The Nativist Behind SB1070

Rachel Maddow did an exposé on her show last night, explaining the various white supremacist ties that exist in the anti-immigrant lobby.

Kris Kobach is the advisor that claims to have threaded the needle perfectly for State Senator Russell Pearce while writing SB1070:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Of course, if you were reading Latino Político in January of 2007, you already knew of Kobach's ties to FAIR. But I digress.

My question is: how many strikes will it take for Kris Kobach to lose all credibility? He already lost the Hazelton, Pennsylvania case that was another source of outcry due to extremism:

Kobach has attempted to pass severe anti-immigration laws in towns across Pennsylvania, California, Missouri, and Texas. What do these communities have in common besides Kris Kobach? They reap no benefits from the anti-immigrant laws and ordinances he is trying to implement and are often left with a costly legal mess.

In Hazelton, PA, after an ordinance crafted by Kobach and fellow IRLI attorney Michael Hethmon was struck down by a federal judge, the city was forced to pay for all legal fees.

Imagine 2050

Now SB1070 is facing a growing chorus of opposition, including from national Republican leaders & candidates such as Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio and Senator Lindsay Graham.

Wow! Sounds like a wedge issue to me! And don't let Mitt Romney slither away unnoticed: from Kobach's campaign page for his current Secretary of State campaign in Kansas:
Policy Adviser to Presidential Candidates Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, 2007-2008.
The ties explored by Rachel Maddow run deep within the Republican Party. It's refreshing to see them exposed to a wider audience, especially those of the AZGOP.

Urgent: Trail of Dreams Donations Needed

Since January 1st, 2010, four students have been walking from Miami, FL to Washington, DC in an effort to demand action from Congress on the DREAM Act. The Trail of Dreams website has their route and links to blog posts from various stops along the way.

This week, they are hosting several events & rallies as they arrive in DC. They hit a major snag today, though - some loser broke into the accompanying RV and stole several items. You can help the DreamWalkers by donating at this link:


To give you an idea of the strength & determination of these courageous students, here's a response on Twitter to the theft:
They took all of our computers...they took our trail credit card...but they didn't take our spirits. #todreams
Please donate and beyond that:

SB1070 Backlash Now International and Bipartisan

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona was in Tucson yesterday for a town hall meeting along with 200+ protestors outside. CNN has video of her remarks where she does a decent impression of a Fiddling Nero:
"I believe it's not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might," Brewer, a Republican, said.
You can almost hear her willing it to be true.

Brewer, and the rest of the Arizona Republican Party, are counting on the backlash to their extremist actions to fade. The opposite is happening, however; the Latino community is not backing down and we are sending a strong message to all of culprits behind SB1070 that we will not be intimidated by our government.

Looking around at the headlines, it's becoming clearer that we are winning this political fight. The backlash is growing in intensity, crossing international borders:
The Secretary General for the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, spoke earlier about the situation that thousands of Latin American immigrants face in the state of Arizona and spoke about "the concerns of the OAS, of the Secretary General, and of the Latin American community over the passing of a law in the US state of Arizona that we consider to be discriminatory against immigrants, and in particular against the population of Latin American origins living in that country."

Buenos Aires Herald
Plus, the state of Sonora, just south of Arizona in México, has backed out of a cooperation meeting that is held every year to discuss regional opportunities for commerce and safety. They canceled as a symbolic gesture of protest to the new law.
Also on Monday, President Calderon reiterated his earlier criticism of the Arizona immigration crackdown, saying in comments to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad that the law "opens the doors for unacceptable racial discrimination."

According to a copy of the speech posted on the presidential Web site, Calderon said that commercial, tourism and cultural ties between Mexico Arizona would be affected by the law. "We are going to act," he said, without specifying details.

Meanwhile, Mexican media reported Monday that the federal congressional delegation of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Mexico's third-largest political party, had called upon Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padres Elias to break commercial and tourism ties with Arizona over the new law.

Nogales International
The AZGOP is so extreme that it's now finding itself under ridicule from members of its own party on the national level. Tomás Tancredo was one shocker to raise questions of SB1070's scope, Joe Scarborough is another. The former Florida GOP Congressman has a huge platform with Morning Joe on MSNBC and blasted Arizona's Republican-sponsored initiative:


It does offend me that when one out of every three citizens in the state of Arizona are Hispanics, and you have now put a target on the back of one of three citizens who if they're walking their dog around a neighborhood, if they're walking their child to school, and they're an American citizen or a legal, legal immigrant, can now put a target on their back and make them think every time they walk out of their door, they may have to prove something.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Senator Huppenthal Has A Racial Profiling Problem

I have a feeling that Arizona State Senator John Huppenthal won't be going on MSNBC's Hardball ever again. Here's the segment where he and former AZ Senate Majority Leader Alfredo Gutierrez debate Arizona's March to Extremism: SB1070.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

At the 6:50'ish mark, the following - amazing - exchange occurs:
Chris Matthews: Can a police officer who spots a car with 5 or 6 people in it, who he thinks because of instinct, experience/whatever, evidence whatever he uses. Can he stop that car and say, "I think these people are here illegally. I'm gonna stop and check them." Can he, under the law, do that, without any crime involved. Can he do that?

John Huppenthal: No, he cannot. That would be. That would just be simply racially profiling and that would not be permitted under the law.
There are two possibilities here. 1) Senator Huppenthal didn't bother to read the bill he voted for and cosponsored - which proves that he's unfit for governance; or 2) he's lying about what's in the bill.

From Article 8, Section B of SB1070:
B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
"Lawful contact" is the ten-thousand pound chupacabra that John Huppenthal is ignoring. God help us all, but this monster was even too big for Tomás Tancredo to ignore. There is no detailed definition of "lawful contact" - it vaguely means any contact between the public and a law enforcement officer, as I understand it. The fact that the bill's language is so wide-open is why many of us are confident that it won't stand the scrutiny of the courts.

A final note on John Huppenthal. He's running for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in November. We don't need another anti-Latino nativist heading up our state's school system - especially one who flunked the lesson in kindergarten about lying.

Vote for Jason Williams in November

Russell Pearce's Next Target: Migrant Youth

Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senator who authored SB1070, is no-where-near finished with his attempts to "take back his country state by state" from the "invaders". He has another bill pending in the state legislature that would go even further to cause fear and panic in Latino and migrant communities - by pitting schools against the families they serve.

Senate Bill 1097 would create the following mandates on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and school districts:
1. Requires ADE to collect data on students enrolled in Arizona school districts who cannot demonstrate proof of legal U.S. residence.

2. Requires ADE to annually submit a report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate and a furnish a copy to the Secretary of State which includes:

a) summary of the collected data on a district by district basis;

b) research on the adverse impact of the enrollment of students unable to show proof of legal residence;

c) total estimated total cost to Arizona taxpayers for their education; and

d) the total estimated cost to Arizona taxpayers for the education of students who are not U.S. citizens.

3. Authorizes the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withhold a school district’s state aid apportionment for non-compliance with the requirements related to data collection for students who cannot demonstrate proof of legal U.S. residence.

AZleg.gov

Got that? This is the next step in Operation Wetback 2010. Pearce's goal is to make the environment in Arizona so toxic for migrant families that they flee. He has stated this outright:

“My personal background in law enforcement has given me a unique and in-touch perspective with the needs and hazards experienced by rank-and-file police officers and the threats to our citizens. Closing our borders is a must; however it must be coupled with interior enforcement. Attrition by enforcement. I cannot stand by and be a spectator to the death, maiming or damage to another police officer, citizen or taxpayer by an illegal alien because we refuse to enforce our laws and fail to put America and Americans First.”
As I wrote in a previous post, don't let these conservative pharisees fool you: they love to complain about overcrowded schools and blame "illegals" but they won't do anything constructive to make sure our school systems are fully funded in the first place. They don't believe in government, period.

While the outrage being poured out nationally in response to SB1070 is a good (and much-needed) thing, it's also defense. We have to be proactive and fight these un-American initiatives before they are signed into law by nativist Governors. Please speak out against SB 1097 - our schools should remain safe institutions of learning, not another venue that provides opportunity for an ICE raid.

SB1070 - Week of Action

Even though SB1070 was signed into law on Friday by Governor Jan Brewer, those of us opposed to this unjust and unconstitutional move by Arizona will keep holding vigil and protesting.

The Arizona Republican Party is going to learn that they underestimated the determination we have to rip away their political power. They've already embarrassed our state, now it's time for them to be embarrassed politically. George W. Bush loved to say that "history will judge my Presidency" when faced with criticism. Well, so will Governor Jan Brewer, Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, and the rest of the Minutemen Caucus of the AZ GOP - and it won't be positive if we have anything to say about it.

Here's what's on the agenda, so far, this week:

Protest Governor Jan Brewer today in Tucson
DoubleTree Hotel - 445 Alvernon Way (between Broadway & 22nd Street)
4/26 - Noon to 3pm

Derechos Humanos is hosting sign-making and carpools from their office, details here

City of Phoenix Council Policy Meeting
200 W. Jefferson, Phoenix AZ
Tuesday, 4/27 at 2pm

Support Mayor Phil Gordon, who has already signaled that he will direct his legal offices to challenge SB1070. More info on the mayor's plans at AZCentral.

Educational Forum on effects of SB1070
Carl Hayden Community Center in Phoenix - Facebook Event Page
Wednesday, 4/28 at 6pm

Saturday, May 1st National Day of Action
Marches & Rallies
Tucson May 1st Coalition Website
Phoenix - 8:30am March from Veteran's Coliseum to State Capitol

NOTE: I'll be updating this post as I read about new events

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SB1070: Now What?

As expected, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed Senate Bill 1070 into law yesterday, calling a press conference and showing the rest of the country how clueless she is regarding the implications of the state's actions. There were a couple of points made that I think deserve more attention:

Let me be clear, though: My signature today represents my steadfast support for enforcing the law -- both AGAINST illegal immigration AND against racial profiling.

This legislation mirrors federal laws regarding immigration enforcement.

Despite erroneous and misleading statements suggesting otherwise, the new state misdemeanor crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document is adopted, verbatim, from the same offense found in federal statute.

I will NOT tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona.

full transcript of Brewer's remarks (emphasis mine)

The highlighted phrase caught my attention because it perfectly describes why the Latino community in Arizona has reacted so passionately to SB1070 - we are already regularly profiled by law enforcement. This new state law now expands those opportunities to target us. We don't imagine or pretend that we're routinely targeted, it's our reality. How very white of the Governor to wave away our concerns like we're a pesky mosquito.

I wrote on Twitter yesterday: "The AZGOP remains clueless as to how badly they're radicalizing a younger population of voters. Their time will end soon at the ballot box"

And that's what needs to happen next - voter registration, and more importantly, voter education as to why our voices deserve to be heard.

Governor Brewer told protesters yesterday at the Capitol after her press conference that they were "overreacting" - a hugely arrogant and ignorant statement from the state's top executive. This dismissal of Latino concerns is what will send the Arizona Republican Party over the cliff as our voting power grows with more engagement. And we are engaging.

I have heard from friends and family members over the past several days that never concern themselves with the political process, and they are pissed off, frustrated, and looking for ways to stop this madness.

My message to them and to the rest of Arizona who's had enough dysfunction at the Capitol is simple: Vote them out.

Our state finds itself in a crisis situation that spans beyond immigration - education and basic social services such as children's healthcare are being gutted on top of this latest outrage. This is all by design of the conservative movement. They don't believe in government.

Think about that. Why would we hire someone to teach who hates children? Or go to a doctor who can't handle the sight of blood? Or a mechanic who doesn't like to get dirty? It would be absurd.

Well, that exactly what we have in the form of the dominant leaders in the Arizona Republican Party. Russell Pearce is just one of the many lawmakers in Phoenix who make it their political cause to defund and destroy any government program that could actually benefit the public.

That's
why our system is dysfunctional, not because an undocumented immigrant has the audacity to earn a paycheck. Schools are overcrowded? Well, that's because there are no state lawmakers who have the cojones to ask the public to agree to an income tax increase that would go to fund more school buildings and living wages for our educators. Hospitals are overcrowded? That's because our health care system sucks; something that you may remember was recently in the headlines on the national level and people like Brewer fought vehemently.

This is not rocket science.

The AZGOP does not believe in government, period. Yet, ironically, are elected to steer government's wheel. This must change. They have proven themselves unworthy to govern by their irresponsibility and arrogance to the concerns of a formerly voiceless population in the state's borders. We do have a voice, though, and they are going to learn that even though the bill has been signed into law, we're not finished making it known that we've have enough.

See you at high noon at the Capitol tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TERRORIST ATTACK!

A terrorist invasion is upon us!!!!! The illegals are coming. Taking our jobs, using up our resources, TERRORIZING our children. Yes I’m talking about the terrorist invasion in Arizona-by racists who have made Arizona a dirty, ethnocentric, xenophobic place to be. A state RICH in history and beauty, is now being subjected to the ugliest attack on civil rights since the 1960s.


How disappointed I am that the place I call home, that my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents called home is under attack. Infiltrated by outsiders who have NO idea of the dynamic border history of my homeland are destroying my communidad. Outsiders who elect corrupt, racist politicians to craft racists laws instead of working to improve our education system that is broken and takes away needed resources from the poor.


I hear so much rhetoric about what the MEXICAN IMMIGRANT takes from AMERICAN CITIZENS. They take our jobs! They take our benefits! WAKE UP PEOPLE! Mexican immigration is down 20% from last year. TAKE THAT LOW WAGE, BACK BREAKING JOB! It’s yours!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! Mexican Immigrants pay state, local and federal taxes. Yes, even though they're buying their bread at a PANERIA and their meat at a CARNECERIA THEY'RE PAYING TAXES!!!!!


And as for Mexican Immigrants TERRORIZING ARIZONANS? Talk to an everyday Arizonan! Working their job, going to school, invested in their community-I’d bet it would be hard to find one that has been TERRORIZED by a Mexican Immigrant.


Let me tell you a story about some MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS! My Tata Nacho and Nana Angelita immigrated to this country 92 years ago. Their legacy is profound. Contrary to popular belief these "Mexican Immigrants" were not terrorists, drug dealers or associated with crime. Instead they... worked hard, valued god and family, and passed those values on to all of us. Their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren have fought and died for this country. None have ever gone to prison. We are all productive members of society, public servants, teachers, policemen, firemen, professors, successful business people, the list goes on.


They came to this country for freedom. For the opportunity to work hard, raise a family and have security. I am so fortunate to be a piece of this immigrant legacy and part of this vast family. We are part of something bigger than ourselves and hope that the same opportunity afforded to our family will continue to be afforded to others. BROWN OR OTHERWISE!

Friday Updates on SB1070

Here's the latest on Arizona's March to Extremism
  • The President broke his silence on the issue at a naturalization ceremony this morning at the White House. Here's a link to the video, courtesy of Think Progress. Here's the reference to AZ:
Indeed, our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. And that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

In fact, I’ve instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.
  • Derechos Humanos is hosting a march today in Tucson, 4/23, starting at 2pm from Armory Park to the downtown government complexes
  • Border Action Network is putting calls out to its list to gather tomorrow, 4/24, at Grijalva Headquarters at 9am for protest. They are also hosting a bus to shuttle southern Arizonans to Phoenix on Sunday for the planned event with Congressman Luis Gutierrez at noon. More info at BAN's website.
  • A reminder that SB1070's author, Russell "National Alliance" Pearce, has repeatedly said over the years that his anti-migrant crusade is about "invaders" and their "culture". Well, Russell, I'm a citizen with a family that has more than eight generations in "your country": you are slandering MY culture, an indigenous culture, one that will not be silenced by your hate.
[UPDATE at 11:03am Tucson Time]
  • KOLD news is reporting student walkouts at the following Tucson high schools: Rincon, Cholla, Pueblo, Tucson, Amphi, & Desert View. The students are joining a protest at the federal building in downtown.
[UPDATE at 12:04pm Tucson Time]
  • Governor Brewer has called a press conference for 1:30 (4:30 Eastern) - when she is expected to announce that she will sign SB1070.
  • Right Now - Protests and rallies are underway at the Capitol in Phoenix at near the federal government complex in Tucson.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SB1070 - Arizona's March to Extremism

The Republican Party controls both chambers of Arizona's state legislature as well as the Governorship of Jan Brewer. This week, SB1070, authored by extremist state Senator Russell Pearce, passed through the Capitol and now awaits the Governor's signature. The bill has become toxic due to what many believe is an opening for local law enforcement to racially profile anyone in the state they suspect of being an undocumented worker:
E. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.

full text of bill - .pdf warning
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is under several investigations at the moment due to racial profiling by personnel under his direction. SB1070 will expand this type of behavior to the entire state of Arizona. Due to the proximity of Arizona to Mexico, the Latino community is constantly having their constitutional rights violated by a system that uses skin color, accents and arcane vehicle profiles to stop motorists. If Governor Brewer signs SB1070, all of this will become legal.

Additionally, the bill takes a page out of the infamous HR4437 that sparked hundreds of thousands to protest in 2006 across the country with respect to criminalizing undocumented status and the relationship they have to families, friends, religious communities, etc.
A. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON WHO IS IN VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO:

1. TRANSPORT OR MOVE OR ATTEMPT TO TRANSPORT OR MOVE AN ALIEN IN THIS STATE IN A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF LAW.

2. CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD OR ATTEMPT TO CONCEAL, HARBOR OR SHIELD AN ALIEN FROM DETECTION IN ANY PLACE IN THIS STATE, INCLUDING ANY BUILDING OR ANY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF LAW.

3. A. ENCOURAGE OR INDUCE AN ALIEN TO COME TO OR RESIDE IN THIS STATE IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT SUCH COMING TO, ENTERING OR RESIDING IN THIS STATE IS OR WILL BE IN VIOLATION OF LAW.

B. A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION THAT IS USED IN THE COMMISSION OF A
VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS SUBJECT TO MANDATORY VEHICLE IMMOBILIZATION OR IMPOUNDMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 28-3511.

C. A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS GUILTY OF A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR AND IS SUBJECT TO A FINE OF AT LEAST ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS, EXCEPT THAT A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION THAT INVOLVES TEN OR MORE ILLEGAL ALIENS IS A CLASS 6 FELONY AND THE PERSON IS SUBJECT TO A FINE OF AT LEAST ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH ALIEN WHO IS INVOLVED.
In response to this effort to create a police state in Arizona, countless groups have mobilized against SB1070, including ¡Alto Arizona! sponsored by the National Day Labor Organizing Network, NCLR, America's Voice, MALDEF, Presente.org, MoveOn.org, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Border Action Network, United Farm Workers, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Catholic Conference, whose bishops signed a letter with 12 other prominent religious leaders in the state, issuing the following statement (excerpted):
Our concern is that this bill could make felons, not only out of dangerous criminals (as is warranted), but also the many undocumented immigrants who have come to this country at a very young age and have no familiarity with any other country but the United States. We are concerned for these children and for families that may have a mother and a father, one of whom is a citizen and the other of whom would now be considered a criminal.

full text of letter - .pdf warning
The situation in Arizona is a direct result of inaction in Washington, D.C. to fix the broken immigration system. The Obama Administration has continued and escalated the enforcement-only policies of the Bush Administration that does nothing to unclog the backlog of applications for both temporary and permanent residency/work opportunities in this country.

The truth is, most undocumented workers are members of a family with various status of citizenship between its members. As long as the U.S. government ignores this fact, along with the effects of its economic and trade policies on sender nations, mass migration of humanity will continue and this whole window-dressing charade will continue until violence breaks out.

Russell Pearce has been salivating at the opportunity to pass something like SB1070 ever since Janet Napolitano ditched Arizona for her position as head of the Department of Homeland Security. This is no surprise to activists; the Latino community deserves to hear something beyond silence from the Secretary and President Obama. We are literally chaining ourselves to the seats of power in this state to demand justice for our communities.

¡Ya Basta! Enough is Enough!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Quotes from a White Supremacist

The Arizona Daily Star has an article published today outlining the latest efforts by Russell "National Alliance" Pearce to force local law enforcement and officials to enact Operation Wetback throughout the state in the form of SB1070.

In the article, a white supremacist posing as a credible source is given the opportunity to spread his bigotry:

Glenn Spencer, president and founder of American Border Patrol, a nonprofit group that aerially monitors the border, favors stricter illegal-immigration policies.

He said he generally was in favor of Pearce's bill, provided it includes sufficient limits on interagency information-sharing.

"It's time we have to stretch the envelope" (on immigration enforcement), he said. "It's time we have to take some firm action." Loose immigration policies, he said, would be tantamount to "importing poverty" and would "destroy Arizona."

Here's a refresher, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center on some of Mr. Spencer's previous rants:

“Americans, especially white Americans, should get out of California — now, before it is too late to salvage the equity they have in their homes and the value of their businesses.”
— Glenn Spencer, “White Fight or Flight,” American Patrol website, 2003

And the Anti-Defamation League has this to say about him:

Spencer’s rhetoric departed sharply from that of legitimate immigration reform groups; Spencer did not target immigration so much as he targeted Hispanics, particularly those of Mexican origin, regardless of whether they were immigrants or not. Many of his writings and comments were simply thinly veiled diatribes against “Mexicans” (like many anti-Hispanic activists, Spencer rarely differentiated between Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent). In a 1996 letter to the Los Angles Times, for example, Spencer said that “the Mexican culture is based on deceit.” Spencer denied the letter was racist. “It has nothing to do with race,” he said. “It has to do with culture…there’s no way to pass enough laws to protect yourself from a deceitful culture.”

linkage - .pdf warning

The Star should teach its apprentices the importance of researching who they're using as quotable sources before allowing them free reign on its pages to escalate the already dangerous situation for Latinos in Arizona.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Minutemen Disband

Here's a little ray of sunshine to help usher in the Spring. One of the biggest vigilante groups in Arizona has disbanded after realizing that their violent calls for revolution along the border with Mexico would, you know, actually cause violent revolution.

The group's president, Carmen Mercer, of Tombstone, said she and the board's two other directors voted to end the group's five-year run because they were worried her recent "call to action" would attract the wrong people to the border.

On March 16, Mercer sent out an e-mail urging members to come to the border "locked, loaded and ready" and urged people to bring "long arms." She proposed changing the group's rules to allow members to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers instead of just reporting the activity to the Border Patrol.

After receiving a big slew of responses with people taking them on their word, the group flinched and folded. Of course, there's also that pesky money issue that has undermined their efforts. Under the leadership of recent Senate-hopeful Chris Simcox, they bilked their ignorant donors out of nearly two million dollars:

But while the Minuteman PAC spent $1.7 million during the last election cycle (as of Nov. 24), less than 9 cents of every dollar went to help candidates -- either directly through contributions or indirectly through advertisements and mailings supporting or opposing specific candidates. By contrast, nine similar PACs spent, on average, nearly four times as much --about 34 cents of every dollar -- on contributions to federal campaigns and on materials calling for the election or defeat of particular candidates.

2009 SPLC Intelligence Report Intelligence Report

With the recent escalation of political intimidation in the aftermath of the passage of health insurance reform, this is one less opportunity for the gun nuts to practice their shooting. It's amazing that the Minutemen have more sense than the GOP leadership to provide an opening for gun violence; because we all know that if something isn't done to lower the heat, bullets will eventually fly. This country's history almost ensures it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Magic Words

Nearly three years ago at this blog, I recounted this incident at a Mexican food restaurant in Tempe, Arizona:
On Sunday I was eating breakfast with one of my closest amigas at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Tempe. As we were chatting, a raised voice gonged its way through the room from the front register area. It was an older Anglo gentleman with a camouflaged baseball hat adorned upon his salt and peppered hairy head.

He was berating the woman at the register because he claimed she was overcharging him for four pints of frijoles. Berate is one word for it, the other would be humiliate and denigrate. He cussed her out as if she had just spit on the grave of his mother.

The woman was visibly shaking, but in as forceful a tone as she could muster, told him that he needed to not be disrespectful to her nor the rest of the customers. He continued on his tirade, and at that point the entire dining room had stopped their conversations and tuned into the show.

My blood was at a rolling boil at that point. I wanted to intervene but the line hadn't been crossed yet - she was handling it fine on her own.

Until.

First, he demeaned the way she spoke English. It was flawless, but apparently her accent was too much for him to handle. Second, he uttered the words that got me out of my booth and in his face, "Go back to where you came from!"

As I walked up and stared him down, he was standing at the exit and continued to yell offensive mierda. I told him that if he didn't leave, I would be the one to call the cops. After telling me to go Cheney myself and that I wouldn't dare do any of that, he ended his temper tantrum and left.
Those magic words: "Go back to where you came from!" are a perfect example of the garbage that is still prevalent in this so-called post-racial society. I've had that incantation of hate called down upon my head a few times over the years and can only respond with a hearty laugh as I recall the many times I've visited my great-great-great-great grandmother's grave that is within a ten minute drive of my parents' casa aquí en Arizona.

Even if I was from a family with a recent immigration story, the phrase says more about the person who sharted it out than the target. It reeks of ignorance, bigotry, and desperation as the world changes despite the failed efforts of teabagger thuggery. Not only failed, but unoriginal:

Looks like black and gay lawmakers aren’t the only ones being pelted with vicious slurs by folks who oppose the health reform proposal. Add a Hispanic lawmaker to the list. Trifecta!

Rep Ciro Rodriguez of Texas has confided to colleages that he was hammered by ethnic slurs by people opposed to reform passing, one of those colleagues tells me.

[snip]

Rodriguez’s spokesperson, Rebeca Chapa, gets in touch to say that he was slammed as a “wetback” by an anti-reform protestor at a town meeting this week.

And another opponent called Rodriguez’ home and told the family member who answered to “go back to Mexico.”

linkage

How does that Gandhi quote go? Ah yes:

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."