Arizona's new "Profile and Deport the Wetbacks" law provides an occasion for understanding more than that Republicans have decided to commit political suicide to maintain white supremacy.
The passions it lays bare ought to make people take a step back and think about what immigration politics really show about this nation and its democracy. When the white majority feels threatened by darker people, we repeatedly enact policies that are both cruel and stupid. And we fail to see our noses in front of our faces. Saskia Sassen of Columbia University and the London School of Economics makes some insightful observations on migration policy:
For nearly thirty years, political economic orthodoxy has touted so-called "free trade" as the route to national wealth. "Free" trade lets capital, money, move around the globe finding the most profitable places to invest. Meanwhile labor remains unfree, unable to chase the best wages and conditions, fettered by national borders. So unauthorized migrant flows become more and more unstoppable. A sort of "free" movement of people, naturally follows "free" trade. The measures invented to try to halt the migrant flows undermine democracy for everyone -- as the Arizona law shows by calling into question the citizenship of ever Latino.
In the New York Times Opinionator blog, veteran Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse has pointed out that we can't necessarily trust the current Supreme Court to protect the nation from the reactionary thrust of Arizona's pre-emption of federal authority over immigration enforcement policy.
The current Chief Justice has demonstrated that he is quite willing to tear up past precedent, in the Citizen's United case by allowing corporations to spend without limit on elections. The guy is apparently results oriented. There's no reason to think he'd be less willing to affirm a new state right to engage in racial profiling in the name of immigration controls. Arizona's miserable prejudices could have consequences throughout the country.
This is a time for citizen pressure. I'll try to report every practical suggestion here.
BOYCOTT ARIZONA NOW!