Presumed “illegal”

Outrageous. Contemptible. What else is there to say about Arizona’s stunningly racist new anti-immigration law?

And, by the way, I use the “R” word without the slightest hesitation. The label “racist” is often bandied about referring to unconscious or indirect actions that happen to discriminate against certain groups. But there’s nothing subtle about the Arizona legislation. It is shamelessly, openly racist – it orders police to investigate those who happen to look, ethnically, like what a police officer might assume are “immigrants”. What they look like. So – describe for me what an immigrant to Arizona looks like without mentioning race. You can’t do it, can you?

Seriously, if that’s not “racist”, what is? The state Capitol was appropriately daubed in frijoles in the shape of a swastika:



As Weezil points out – you can’t spell “A-r-i-z-o-n-a” without “n-a-z-i”…

Those from an unfavoured ethnic group have to carry papers or they’ll be fined and imprisoned. I can’t think of any historic parallels to that, can you?

Ludicrously, in the video on Weezil’s link above, Governor Jan Brewer shamelessly denies that the law will be applied against racial groups – even though it’s clearly what her voters are assuming. Otherwise you’d think they’d be just as worried as other groups: if the law applies to everyone regardless of race, then Arizona is now a complete police state, and all citizens must carry papers wherever they go. Including white Republican voters. If they’re not outraged, it must be because they know, really, that it’ll never be used against them. Brewer’s disingenuous claims that “race” and “colour” will have nothing to do with it are not believed even by her supporters. They know they can’t admit that it’s “racial profiling”, because that’s against federal law – so they’re going to pretend that the bill is not race-based whilst simultaneously reassuring each other that they’re quite safe from its harshest effects because of their race.

It’s difficult to believe that anyone could even begin to try to defend this abomination against human rights. Then again, there are a lot of people in this country who assume that anyone seeking asylum who arrives on a boat is “illegal”. Our supposedly “left-wing” government is locking people up in the desert indefinitely without charge on our behalf – and supposedly many agree with them. So maybe it’s not just an Arizona thing.

Good people can support really, really horrible things when they get scared about immigration.

UPDATE: Perhaps Google Maps will now need to implement an “avoid Arizona” function?

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40 responses to “Presumed “illegal”

  1. baldrickjones

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you are there legally then you have nothing to worry about – isn’t that the point of immigration laws? Regardless of what your ethnic background is?

  2. “You have nothing to worry about”

    Apart from being locked up if you don’t have papers on you. And charged. And then sentenced to up to six months’ imprisonment.

  3. You are wrong, baldrickjones and I’m here to correct you.

    The man in this story is “legally” in the USA and he now has plenty to worry about.
    Some of the things that he has to worry about include being apprehended as he goes about his daily business.

    He now has to worry about being handcuffed and being detained for hours while the ‘authorities’ decide that ‘his papers are in order’.

    He now has to worry that the colour of his skin and the shape of his face means that he is automatically presumed to be guilty.

    The other worry is that the kind of people who wrote this new law, and quite possibly the kind of people who will enforce it are also the kind of people who don’t accept the veracity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
    So, tell me, what chance in hell has a truck driver with an accent got in convincing a bigot that his birth certificate is authentic?

    BTW, good on you for completely missing the point of Jeremy’s post.

  4. Wisdom Like Silence

    Someone’s been watching Colbert and the Daily Show.

  5. Blast Tyrant

    Marek, that story does quote the ICE rep as saying
    “The agents needed to verify Abdon was in the country legally and it is not uncommon to ask for someone’s birth certificate. She also said this has nothing to do with the proposed bill or racial profiling.”

    Advantage Baldrick.

  6. Splatterbottom

    It is not that people are unjustified in being afraid that increased crime and violence accompanies an influx of particular classes of migrants. That is only logical. The problem is with the means chosen to deal with it.

    Racial profiling is ugly, as when Obama beclowned himself by assuming that a white cop arresting a black guy was being racist. It is also a divisive practice which will hit many innocent people.

    If the state had random checks across the population, the measure would soon be dropped.

  7. And why, Blast Tyrant, did Customs and Immigration feel the need to verify that the driver was in the country legally?
    What do you imagine it was that made them suspicious?

    ICE camps out at weigh stations to check trucks for people smuggling.
    As long as the driver has his rego and commercial license in order, he should be left in peace.
    He shouldn’t be handcuffed and detained while his wife is made to leave work, run home to get his birth certificate and then drive out to the Immigration lock-up to satisfy some little Eichmann of his bona fides.

    Do you carry your birth certificate around with you? And if you did,what would that tell US immigration officials about your status in the US anyway?

    Honestly, what’s next?
    We’ve had the pink triangles and yellow stars, so maybe we should have all Latinos issued with badges picturing a brown enchilada so the the authorities can readily identify them in a crowd.

    I mean, really, if they’re legal then they have nothing to worry about.
    Right?

  8. Blast Tyrant

    Sorry Marek, I probably should have punctuated my comment with a :-P or an ;-) as I was being sarcastic.

    I agree, these laws are racist and shouldn’t exist.
    I was just pre-empting Baldick (and probably Iain) as they’d both probably jump on that last paragraph.

  9. Splatterbottom

    Presumably Malkin would ordinarily support the sentiment behind this placard.

  10. No worries, Blast Tyrant.
    I have to say that you took me by surprise with your ‘defense’ of the Arizona laws.

    Cheers

  11. Presumably Malkin would ordinarily support the sentiment behind this placard.

    SB @ 1:06 pm

    Presumably she does as she includes that photo in a posting which refers to open border extremists.

    Since she certainly doesn’t support the sentiment of protest against these laws, one can only assume that she supports the idea of stop and arrest for people not carrying identity papers.

    I can see why Malkin is a hero of yours.

    Cheers

  12. Splatterbottom

    I was trying to be ironic, Marek. Ordinarily Malkin is for individual liberty (that being the sentiment behind the placard). Not so in this case, apparently.

  13. I gather the the greatest part of your objection to this law is that it puts the onus of proof upon ordinary people in the street to show that they have a right to be there. I get that but do you think that the United States has the right to deport people who have entered the country illegally to seek work?

  14. Sorry, SB.
    You don’t usually do irony, so you caught me by surprise.

    Iain asks;

    do you think that the United States has the right to deport people who have entered the country illegally to seek work?

    Yes, every country has that right.
    A more important question to consider when discussing this issue is whether or not the Brazilians should tell their citizens to get rooted for health reasons.

    Cheers.

  15. baldrickjones

    “The other worry is that the kind of people who wrote this new law, and quite possibly the kind of people who will enforce it are also the kind of people who don’t accept the veracity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

    That is one hell of a long bow to draw there. Or were you just projecting?

    “So, tell me, what chance in hell has a truck driver with an accent got in convincing a bigot that his birth certificate is authentic?”

    By producing said certificate.

    “And why, Blast Tyrant, did Customs and Immigration feel the need to verify that the driver was in the country legally?
    What do you imagine it was that made them suspicious?”

    A long time on the job dealing with reality rather then political correctness?

  16. Pingback: Oklahoma vs women, disabled babies « An Onymous Lefty

  17. Wisdom Like Silence

    The same people who are crowing about how good a victory this is are the same people who would be apoplectic with rage if they were forced to carry around identity cards.

    Maybe everyone should get a barcode on their forearms, or mandatory finger printing? Because you can’t tell a migrant from a citizen otherwise.

  18. baldrickjones asks;

    That is one hell of a long bow to draw there.Or were you just projecting?

    Huh? Projecting? WTF are you on?
    Not reality, it seems.
    Inform yourself, mate;

    Nearly half of the Arizona Legislature wants to force President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to state officials if he runs for re-election.

    That’ll be a birth certificate which has already been shown and which certain deranged segments of the population believe is a fake.

    So seeing as how half of the Arizona legislature believes Obama has an American birth certificate which ‘fake’, then what chance in hell does someone with a birth certificate from a LatAm country have of convincing State Trooper Buford Randall that it’s authentic?

    I hope you’re having fun defending Fascism.

  19. Birth certificate? What about tourists, or those who have a valid visa, or those who become citizens?

    Are they going to have to carry around hard-to-replace documents in case they get carded? Do you have any idea what a pain in the arse it is to replace a birth certificate from another country?It’s a hideous process.

    My birth certificate is in a different language. I’d be screwed. Also, the citizenship department spelled my name incorrectly on my passport and citizenship papers. Can you imagine what an overzealous police officer would do with that? None of my state identification matches up with the federal, since the federally issued documents are all issued as per your citizenship papers, and that doesn’t match up with my birth or legal name because it’s all spelled wrong.

    And where on earth did “innocent until proven guilty” go?

  20. Indeed, Keri.
    This is an abomination.

    It’s all been done because the Federal Government is seen as ineffectual on border control.
    So the State of Arizona has taken matters into their own hands.

    I assume they could have come up with something workable, if border control was indeed their objective.
    However it seems this law is designed more for demographic control than anything else.
    This is confirmed as we now learn of some of the characters behind this bill.
    It seems that white supremacists, neo nazis and proponents of eugenics have had a hand in crafting this nasty little bit of legislation.

    Rachel Maddow has more.

    Cheers.

  21. Wisdom Like Silence

    This is an election fix, pure and simple. Like most american-mexico border states, the demographic is swinging wildly toward hispanic americans rather than white americans. This is going to mightily discourage immigrants and new citizens from voting in the next election, people who would otherwise boot this stupid, racist, facist, nazi, nationalistic, xenophobic law out on it’s arse where it belongs.

    I have a feeling it wont work however.

  22. White supremacists, neo nazis and proponents of eugenics have a long history of association with the US.

    The influence of the eugenics movement on European fascism was huge, and it was only WW2 and the associations that followed it that destroyed their cred.

  23. Blast Tyrant

    I think another issue Baldrick and most people should ask is why do so many people feel so desperate to go from the global south to the US.
    It’s not like life is fantastic in the US for ‘illegal aliens’ working at below minimum wage.

    Seriously, are people like Baldrick just that completely ignorant of how the US has been fucking with Latin America for over 100 years and causing a large number of problems that so-called illegal’s are trying to escape?

  24. Oh, well that settles it SB.

    As an ‘out and proud’ Leftist, I’ll change my mind and embrace what my ideological forefathers jettisoned over half a century ago.
    I might have to have another look at phrenology. ;)

    Cheers

  25. Splatterbottom

    Marek my objection was to Jules’ curious omission of prominent leftists when listing those influenced by eugenics.

    Of course one could argue, pace Levitt in “Freakonomics”, that abortion is a modern eugenic tool which drastically reduces the birth rate among the underclass.

  26. In the US the eugenics movement was largely the child of psycho freaks like Madison Grant (who was a Greenie, but far from the left of politics. He was an elitist supporter of fascism,) Lawrence Dennis, Davenport, Popenoe and the Human Betterment Foundation arseholes.

    George Bernard Shaws version of eugenics was basically that found in nature. He certainly wasn’t a proponent of forced eugenics the way the yanks were. (Or other poms like Balfour.)

    Eugenics is in itself a neutral idea. Plant and animal breeders have used those principles for thousands of years, and every human does it on some level when we sum up prospective sexual partners.

    But the state sponsored, right wing backed, forced eugenics movement that grew in the US was an appalling thing, and it directly inspired far worse.

    If someone is a fan of forced eugenics, then they suck. Doesn’t matter if they are on the right or the left or the moon.

  27. Splatterbottom

    Jules, I am not convinced by voluntary eugenics, particularly the practice of aborting undesirable foetuses such as females.

    If we don’t give randomness a chance, we’ll never evolve, and lord knows we need to.

  28. I studied at UA in Tucson, and it always surprised me that after I would order food in Spanish, and be greeted with smiles and thanks, my American colleagues would say “You’d never catch me speaking Spanish! Guffaw guffaw!”.
    What, like you’re so proud to be ignorant of another culture?

  29. Wisdom Like Silence

    Yeah.

    Why are we talking about eugenics? Are we talking about creating a generation of super illegal immigrants?

    G.I JOSE!!!

  30. Cos this is a symptom of the same endemic bigotry, against the poor, other races and the rest, that inspired the eugenics movement in the states and is inspiring this police state bullshit in Arizona.

    And it was in the context of “…white supremicists, neo nazi’s and proponents of eugenics…”

    “What, like you’re so proud to be ignorant of another culture?”

    Thats a big symptom of the problem tho.

    There is a big element of that – proud to be ignorant.

    Of anything.

    It was either Bill Hicks or Micheal Ventura that mentioned being in a diner in Texas somewhere (I think) and reading a book, and being criticised for it in the diner. Being hassled for being a reader, cos the guy who hassled him thought being a reader meant you thought you were better than everyone else.

    Its sad, cos people like that are usually missing something, no matter where they live. And no one has ever taken the time to give it to them.

    I reckon its a culture that really lacks compassion, and the Arizona race laws are just another symptom of it. (There are plenty of genuinely compassionate Americans – probably most of them, but it isn’t one of the drivers of their culture.)

    “Jules, I am not convinced by voluntary eugenics, particularly the practice of aborting undesirable foetuses such as females.

    If we don’t give randomness a chance, we’ll never evolve, and lord knows we need to.”

    No me either re the first thing, i agree completely actually. But the voluntary eugenics I was thinking of was more along the lines of people thinking about the traits they want their kids to have and breeding for that. There is some evidence to suggest that attraction “laws” between people follow this pattern too (apparently, according to John Safran or something), so it might be happening anyway whether we consciously are doing it or not.

  31. Splatterbottom
  32. Splatterbottom

    It was Hicks.

  33. baldrickjones

    “Seriously, are people like Baldrick just that completely ignorant of how the US has been fucking with Latin America for over 100 years and causing a large number of problems that so-called illegal’s are trying to escape?”

    No – I know that stuff. And I still disagree with you.

  34. powersofpersuasion

    I just want to make the point that Arizona is not the only place these types of laws exist.

    In Japan, for example, there is an almost identical law, and the highly homogeneous society means that racial profiling is easy and common. What it means, of course, is that if you are not a citizen, and you don’t want to know what a Japanese gaol cell looks like, you carry your passport or resident registration card with you AT ALL TIMES. Simple as that.

    Sure, we think that Arizona should know better, but let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. ALL countries/states that have these racist laws should be criticised.

  35. Blast Tyrant

    “No – I know that stuff. And I still disagree with you.”

    So um, you acknowledge that US has ruined the lives and the chances of having a decent life in the global south of many many people, but still think they should have to stay there and deal with it.
    I guess I was wrong about you lacking logic, it’s just a simple case of you being ok with people being treated like shit around the world.
    Wow, you’re really just a complete nob aren’t you Baldrick?

  36. Wisdom Like Silence

    Pieces of shit with pieces of paper.

    Sounds poetic.

  37. Interesting look at the origin of Arizona’s awesome new laws. This report is great, and worth watching right to the end for the in built scam that actually rorts taxpayers.

    Unrool.

  38. Wow you can embed youtube videos without doing anything.

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