As a native Texan who grew up around immigrants and believes they are the hope of our country, I'm appalled by this law. I understand the frustration of Arizonans, but as a nation we need to recognize the war taking place on our southern border.
We can't "wish away" organized crime. America had it in the 1930s, and Mexico has it now. It's real, it's powerful, and innocent people are rightfully terrified.
America likes to think of itself as a civilized and generous nation. If that's what we are, we should give Mexicans a legal way to immigrate quickly in massive numbers -- with federal help to border states so they can cope with the influx -- and then use our army to lock down the borders.
Once the immigrants are safely across, we should find them jobs and heavily penalize (as in jail time) employers who knowingly violate wage and safety laws. Equal pay, equal protection for all, including the illegals who fall through the cracks.
I used to watch Lou Dobbs on CNN, but not because of his pugilistic stance on immigration. It was because he was an independent, he shunned celebrities, he had a stable of excellent reporters and he interviewed guests I saw nowhere else on TV. "Lou Dobbs Tonight" was where I first saw Elizabeth Warren, some two years before she was the ubiquitous gal she is today.
Dobbs hammered away at the difference between legal and illegal immigration. He had a point. But here's where he was wrong. It's true Mexico has not done enough for its unemployed citizens, and officials have not cleaned up corruption in the police force.
But we have our own challenges with corruption. Thank goodness we don't find headless corpses by the roadside, but lobbyists in D.C. have their own methods of persuasion.
Even so, when I drive away from a child's birthday party, I don't fear that I and my passengers will be gunned down because of the color of my car. (Oh, sorry. Your SUV resembled that of a competitor in a turf battle. We'll send flowers to your funeral.)
That's what is happening now in Mexico.
Who among us would not go back in time and welcome every persecuted minority seeking shelter on our shores prior to World War II? Sure we would, now. But now it's too late.
It's not too late for our neighbors to the south.
I grew up in the peace/love generation. I hate it that America now has enemies who scare me more than the Soviet Union ever did. We have foreign terrorists who want to kill us. We have domestic terrorists who want to spark a civil war.
Mexicans are not our enemies. They are allies. And in many cases, our family and friends as well. My colleague and former Arizona resident Mary C. Curtis could not fathom why some people complained about "hearing Spanish on the street or in a store while I knew Mexican-American friends and neighbors whose families had been on Arizona soil for hundreds of years." (They were the original Originals, to put it in Spinal Tap speak.)
Journalists are putting their lives on the line for Mexico. Read the work of Diana Washington Valdez, who wrote about the femicides in Juarez for the "El Paso Times" and in her 2006 book "The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women."
Journalists are, by nature, realists. The reporters who travel to dangerous places know their work could cost them their lives. Can't we, as a nation, be a fraction as brave and compassionate?
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