At FCNL, we see the outrageous Arizona law as a wake-up call to Washington. On April 29, five senators introduced a framework for immigration reform, which was met with mixed reactions from advocates. The framework, intended to prompt bipartisan talks, has yet to yield such cooperation. We can't afford to have politicians use immigration reform as a political football to score points against one another. Write to your senators today to urge them to support humane, comprehensive immigration reform.
As Congress remains bound by hyper-partisan politics, states mimicking Arizona continue to take immigration law into their own hands. Minnesota just introduced legislation modeled exactly on the Arizona law. Eleven other states are considering similar legislation: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pensylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Recent polling shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans think the immigration system should be overhauled, but without decisive federal action to build a realistic legal immigration system, our civil rights will continue to be trampled.
However, in two cases, officials are standing up to say NO. In New York, Governor Paterson announced that the state would consider pardons for people subject to "embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible" immigration laws. In DC, the City Council unanimously supports a boycott of Arizona and opposes the District's participation in misguided immigration enforcement programs - for more, see my blog post on the resolutions.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, best known for his courageous efforts to promote reconciliation following South Africa's apartheid, has a message for you: Arizona is not the solution. I strongly encourage you to read his entire article, excerpted here:
Abominations such as apartheid do not start with an entire population suddenly becoming inhumane. They start here. They start with generalizing unwanted characteristics across an entire segment of a population. They start with trying to solve a problem by asserting superior force over a population. They start with stripping people of rights and dignity - such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty - that you yourself enjoy. Not because it is right, but because you can. And because somehow, you think this is going to solve a problem.I'll leave you with an exciting tidbit - Arizona rappers have collaborated to protest the new law requiring racial profiling. Props to these brave artists for reminding us all that hip hop can still break through commercial ties and speak truth to power. Check out their music video here: