Mami is a Mexican-American. Not just an American, but an American with a qualifier: Mexican. The Great Melting Pot has been showing cracks similar to those in the Liberty Bell for a long time, but now a sledgehammer is making some very serious dents in it.
A sledgehammer blow came on Thursday night, April 29, 2010 when Governor Jan Brewer signed an Act “Relating to unlawfully present aliens”. (The full text of the Act is here in .pdf format.) On the last page of the law it says, “This act may be cited as the ‘Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act’”.
Horse manure. Here is the kicker in the Act that gives Arizona lawmen the ability to violate a U.S. citizen’s civil rights:
“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 bolding is mine because these terms are wide open to interpretation both on the street and in a courtroom. Explain to me, for example, what “Beyond a reasonable doubt” means when a judge is instructing a jury. Few, if any, understand it, and that includes yours truly.
Because Mami’s skin color is brown, she is a prime candidate for what boils down to search and seizure of her person. I don’t have to worry about it, though, because my skin color is a sickly, pasty white. This could change sometime in the future, however, if I refuse to salute the neo-Nazi flag.
This is where the hatred part comes in. State Representative Russell Pearce, who authored the new law, is a friend of J.T. Ready, who in turn is one of Arizona’s leading neo-Nazis. According to an article on Crooks and Liars.com, “At a June  anti-illegal demonstration at the state Capitol, Ready and Pearce worked the crowd arm-in-arm.”
A report in the Phoenix New Times on September 9, 2007, had this to say about Ready:
“For anyone who’s doubted J.T.’s National Socialist bona fides, especially after he outed himself on NewSaxon.com, the neo-Nazi MySpace, his participation in this rally is about as blatant as it gets.”
Add another hate-monger to the group: Sheriff Joe Arpaio is noted for his unannounced “sweeps” of suspected undocumented immigrants in suspected businesses and drop houses. So unannounced that local police departments are not informed and have no idea what illegal activity by the Sheriff’s Department is going on in their own jurisdictions.
Does Arpaio have ties to neo-Nazi groups? Yes. Arpaio is friends with Rusty Childress, founder of USA, “United for a Sovereign America”. When pressed by the New Phoenix Times in an exhaustive report on May 14, 2009, Arpaio said, “Childress is a good guy”.
I have barely touched the tip of a filthy iceberg. As I was researching this post one link would lead to another link, immersing me in some very dark and sick corners of the Internet. If you have been following dates of photos and articles, the hatred of our elected officials for those of Latino heritage has been around much longer than the law that purports to be about supporting law enforcement and making our neighborhoods safe. What we have, in effect, is a go to jail free card for anyone with brown skin without any Federal interference.
Criticism of the state of Arizona is more than justified, but don’t be fooled. The state of Texas is considering a similar law, and White Supremacist groups thrive in every state of America. For a country that did not recognize black-skinned people as equal humans until 1964, it appears that we are regressing rather than progressing.
Posted from Chandler, Arizona, May 1o, 2o1o