While living in Phoenix, Arizona I became inextricably connected to immigration reform. I became aware of a phenomena I did not know existed. It is called nativism, and perpetuates ethnocentric beliefs concerning immigrants. The thing concerning Arizona is that these nativists direct their disdain at Mexicans. As if Mexicans are the only undocumented population in Phoenix. Some of the myths perpetuated are that Mexicans carry disease, or that they are drug mules. You may have heard of the national debate concerning immigration reform, which has been stirring for the past few years. Now it would seem that nativism is in its death throes nationally. This may be due to the spark in federal immigration reform.
“La migra” is Spanish for Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. This is the most feared home wrecker in Arizona next to the police whom enforce SB1070. This bill which was sponsored by one of the most racist Republican state senators, or rather ex-senator since he is no longer even accepted by his own party, still has one component intact. This is that police with reasonable suspicion may stop someone they feel is here illegally. How can anyone tell, within reason, if someone is here illegally? Well, when you hear of a parent that is to be deported it is usually to Mexico, not Europe, or Asia, or Africa. There are some states that are only now issuing driver’s licenses to those undocumented whom have received a reprieve from the President’s Executive Order permitting some undocumented to stay here legally. Not so in Arizona, here common sense eludes the dominant culture in favor of demagoguery and maintaining the status quo.
While families are destroyed there, those in charge continue their political shenanigans if only to be reelected once more. We will have to stay tuned to see who exactly will be politically brave or who will commit political suicide. Hispanics are at present the fastest growing electorate and, even though immigration is not the primary issue, they will remember that this is a form of oppression against many that feel that this is their home, that this is their country! All eyes are on the current administration that on one hand have single-handedly deported the most Hispanics of any other administration and on the other hand speak so eloquently to the injustices to families being carried out on behalf of AZ bill SB1070.
In conclusion, my challenge with this issue is that my wife is Mexican. She was born in Texas and is a citizen. I have personally witnessed at times how she faced some of those ugly myths I have stated above. I became overwrought over this disgusting behavior directed at the most peaceful and loving woman. So much that I would remain silent so as not to become belligerent with the perpetrators of this culture of hate. We are currently at the precipice of a culture war. This culture of us versus them must die if this great nation is to move forward into the next millennium.