Monday, May 3, 2010

Arizona SB1070- what labels?

This ring and my other "textie" label rings are my response to the current immigration debate that is plaguing Arizona (my current home) and the US. I wonder, would wearing this ring cause "reasonable suspicion?" and, does it matter where you come from, as long as you are living a peaceful and productive life?

I live in Tucson, have been here on and off for 18 years. (I'm originally from the East coast)
I love that this community is diverse and has a rich cultural tradition that stems from it's origins as a Mexican outpost. We as a family know many different immigrant families here- most of them are from Mexico- but many are also from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

My husband is a recent immigrant to the US from Italy. He has felt the terror of "la Migra"-immigration patrol-. A few years ago we drove to San Diego from Tucson to attend a conference on Astronomy and Telescopes. Guido was set to present a paper and also had a few key roles to play in the conference as a representative on the University of Arizona.

When we were driving to California we were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint- when I'm driving they usually just peek into the car and say "have a nice day" and that's it. (it always makes me nervous anyways) Well, at this point in the trip Guido was driving- when we pulled up to the stop they looked at him and asked if he was born in the US. Guido (with his cute Italian accent) said "I was born in Italy" and that's where it all started.... 

They demanded to see his passport- (we were in the US) he showed them his AZ driver's license.Then they asked for his green card (he didn't have it yet- was here on a work visa) and when he told them that his passport was at home (300 miles away in Tucson) the pulled the car over and started to threaten him with deportation. Yes, that's right- deportation. With his American wife and child in the car. A man who has been a key scientist on one of the most important telescopes in the world- they were threatening to deport him. Some divine power came over me and I managed to not lose my temper. After 30 minutes of this discussion with the Border Patrol agent he finally let us go- with the warning that we had better get someone to fed ex us his Passport because if we got stopped again Guido would be taken into custody. It was absolutely ridiculous and terrifying- and we have never driven to the coast since.

2 years ago Guido got his citizenship. He voted for the first time for the US president (Yay!) and he is happy to be a part of our democracy. And then, there came Jan Brewer.

When President Obama tapped our Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security we knew that Arizona would take a hit. When Janet left for Washington  we were saddled with a right wing backwards thinking Governor, Jan Brewer. Since she has been in office our education funding has been slashed to pieces and the state has gone into a financial free fall. The passing of the onerous SB1070 is the final straw.

This whole debate and law in AZ sickens me and many of my friends here in Tucson. I welcome it's repeal and a healthy thoughtful concentrated debate and solution to our immigration policy. We cannot let families be torn apart by a knee jerk , poorly conceived law. Sadly I do believe that things are going to worsen because of the amount of fear that it generates and by the latent racial prejudice that it promotes. We already have had a couple of reports on the news of "illegals" committing violent crimes- only to find out a day or two later that it was no immigrant- it was an idiot meth head.
I can only hope that AZ can find a way to resolve this fear mongering and look ahead to a more thoughtful and humane solution.

One Love one heart, Let's get together and it will be alright.

1 comment:

Elise said...

Gorgeously put, chica. <3


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