Friday, April 16, 2010

Arizona up to its usual racist tricks


Arizona has passed a law that essentially criminalizes being Latino -- or having a cop think you are. According to the Los Angeles Times the measure directs local police to determine whether people are in the country legally.

Currently, officers can inquire about someone's immigration status only if the person is a suspect in another crime. The bill allows officers to avoid the immigration issue if it would be impractical or hinder another investigation.

Citizens can sue to compel police agencies to comply with the law, and no city or agency can formulate a policy directing its workers to ignore the law -- a provision that advocates say prevents so-called sanctuary orders that police not inquire about people's immigration status.

The Arizona legislature evidently wants to give police a license to harass people based on whatever biases police happen to come with. Interestingly, police chiefs lobbied against this, knowing it would mean that Spanish speaking communities, documented and undocumented, would no longer dare have recourse to law enforcement.

This is not the first time Arizona has made itself synonymous with outrageous racism. I remember driving across the state in 1973 in a car with a "Boycott Grapes" bumper sticker just after the state had tried to outlaw agitating on behalf farm workers trying to organize. A small protest, that. (Interestingly, Cesar Chavez's birthday is now an optional holiday in Arizona.)

In 1990, seven years after Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King holiday into law when it passed Congress with a veto proof majority (Reagan had opposed the commemoration), Arizona voters still voted not to honor the day. The National Football League moved Super Bowl XXVII out of Phoenix in response.

Maybe Arizona needs once again to be pushed by the non-bigoted.

H/t to Steven whose note about this reminded me of that slightly anxious crossing of Arizona in 1973.

1 comment:

Darlene said...

That law is now on Governor Brewer's desk. I am sure she will sign it because she just signed another outrageous bill into law. It is now legal to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona. You no longer need a permit to carry a gun. How insane is this?

I hate to stereotype, but it is the Mormons in our nutty legislature that passed these horrible laws. Arizona will be the laughingstock of the nation for being backward.

I am furious that the Phoenix area (and some from Tucson) keep electing these idiots. Where is Janet Napolitino when we need her? Why did Obama take her away and why was she replaced with this right wing Republican?

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