Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stuff on Arizona


If anyone has any good links or info on how to boycott Arizona let me know.

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Sign the Petition Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Against SB1070

We the undersigned oppose SB 1070, the bill signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. SB 1070 will create second-class citizens of those who are perceived to be foreign and undocumented. We ask that Governor Brewer and the Arizona state legislature repeal SB 1070.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander communities particularly understand the unequal burdens of this law because of the racially and economically motivated restrictions on Chinese immigration in 1875 and 1882, Alien Land laws in western states, and the unlawful imprisonment of Japanese Americans based on their ethnic heritage during WWII. Various politicians have noted that the bill is not meant to apply only to Latinos but also to Chinese and Middle Eastern individuals as well.

We believe this bill is unconstitutional. Individuals stopped for traffic violations or infractions of city codes will have to prove their citizenship to any law enforcement officer who has reason to question their status%u2014based on dress, behavior, and accents. This places an unequal burden of proof on immigrants, foreign-born individuals, and people of color, and violates the right of equal protection under the law.

We protest the criminalization of humanitarian efforts to aid undocumented migrants through provisions of water, food, and sanctuary. We further condemn the assumptions that undocumented immigrants are criminals. Most immigrants--documented or undocumented--are hard-working individuals seeking economic opportunities that are not available in their homelands due to structural and global inequities. Furthermore, these immigrants--documented and undocumented--are recruited as a result of US immigration admission policies, and/or hired by US employers.

We urge groups and organizations that were planning on hosting conferences, meetings and conventions in Arizona to boycott the state and move their events elsewhere, to explicitly protest this law. This call to observe the boycott does not extend to those coming to protest and work with local organizations to overturn SB 1070.

We additionally call for immigration reform by the US federal government that treats all people equally and provides ways for immigrants who are contributing socially and economically to the United States to gain naturalized citizenship, reunite with families, and protects migrants from exploitation and crime.

As Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals, and organizations representing AAPIs, we sign in the spirit of other AAPIs such as Yick Wo and Gordon Hirabayashi who, in challenging local and national laws based on economic and racial considerations, strengthened the US constitution and our democracy.

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Illegal Immigrant Students Protest at McCain Office
By JULIA PRESTON
The New York Times
Published: May 17, 2010

In an escalation of protest tactics, five immigrants dressed in caps and gowns held a sit-in on Monday at the Tucson offices of Senator John McCain, calling on him to sponsor legislation to open a path to legal status for young illegal immigrants.

Four of the protesters, including three who are in the country illegally, were arrested Monday evening on misdemeanor trespassing charges. The three were expected to face deportation proceedings.

It was the first time students have directly risked deportation in an effort to prompt Congress to take up a bill that would benefit illegal immigrant youths.

Separately on Monday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Phoenix by a coalition of civil rights, labor and religious groups challenging the new Arizona law that allows the police to detain suspected illegal immigrants as unconstitutional, saying it would lead to racial profiling.

Though it was the fifth suit challenging the law, it was widely believed to have the best chance of being heard by the courts given the groups’ experience and the nature of the complaint.

Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, said of the protesters, “The individuals have a right to peacefully protest in the senator’s office,” and added that Mr. McCain “understands the students’ frustrations.”

But she said: “Elections have consequences, and they should focus their efforts on the president and the Democrats that control the agenda in Congress.”

Mr. McCain, a Republican, has in years past repeatedly sponsored a bill that would offer legalization for illegal immigrant students who were brought to the United States as children by their parents, known to its supporters as the Dream Act. But this year he has not. Mr. McCain is facing a primary challenge from J.D Hayworth, a talk show host who has taken a tough stand on illegal immigrants.

The students protesting in Mr. McCain’s office said they wanted to increase pressure on Congress to pass the Dream Act this year, even if lawmakers do not take up a broader overhaul of the immigration system. The student bill is currently part of a Democratic proposal for an overhaul, largely written by Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York.

“I’ve been organizing for years, and a lot of my friends have become frustrated and lost hope,” said one of the students, Lizbeth Mateo, 25. “We don’t have any more time to be waiting. I really believe this year we can make it happen.”

Ms. Mateo, who came to the United States when she was 14, said she paid full tuition to earn a degree from California State University, Northridge, the first member of her family to graduate from college. She said her plans to attend law school had failed because she lacked legal status.

Ms. Mateo was arrested, along with Mohammad Abdollahi, 24, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Yahaira Carrillo, 25, of Kansas City, Mo. All three are illegal immigrants.

Also arrested was Raúl Alcaraz, 27, an immigrant from Mexico who is a legal resident and a counselor at a Tucson high school.

The protesters walked into Mr. McCain’s office just before noon and sat in the lobby.

Tania Unzueta, 26, who is from Los Angeles, joined the sit-in, but she said the group decided she should leave the protest in order to avoid arrest.

Mr. Abdollahi said he could not return to Iran, where he was born, because he is gay and feared persecution there.

Margo Cowan, a lawyer representing the students, said that the Tucson police said they would advise federal immigration authorities of the arrests, and that she expected the students would be put in immigration detention.

Illegal immigrant students have become increasingly public in their protests in recent months, as the prospects for an immigration overhaul faded in Washington. Four immigrant students walked from Miami to Washington, arriving in late April. So far, immigration authorities have not moved to detain student protesters.

Lawmakers are divided over whether to take up the Dream Act as separate legislation. Andy Fisher, a spokesman for Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, a Republican who is a lead sponsor of the bill, said that the senator did not support any effort to advance a comprehensive immigration overhaul this year, but that he believed the Dream Act could be “doable” separately.

An aide to Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat who is the act’s other lead sponsor, said he continued to see it as part of an overhaul.

Lawyers for the groups that filed the suit over the Arizona immigration law Monday took aim at a chief argument of its supporters: that it largely parallels existing federal statutes. The lawyers said the Arizona law went further because federal agents are not required to check the immigration status of people they stop or arrest, as the state law requires.

Randal C. Archibold contributed reporting.

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Statement of the Association of Asian American Studies on SB 1070.

We are joining together to protest the recent legislation of SB 1070 signed by the Governor of Arizona and to draw attention to the racial profiling of Latina/os and other people of color in that state. Such legislation, which targets undocumented immigrants, has violent implications that affect many both in and beyond the Latina/o community.

This Arizona law gives local police officers broad powers to detain those suspected of undocumented immigration in order to check their legal status. The law not only allows but requires such detention whenever 1) a police officer has “lawful contact” with that person; and 2) the officer suspects the person is an undocumented immigrant. Such “lawful contact” may occur in a wide range of situations – when someone calls the police to report a crime, when a person is stopped for a minor traffic violation, or even when there is a chance encounter on the street. Requiring suspicion of undocumented status directs the application of this new police power in a particularly pernicious way – by focusing that power on people of color. The sad history of racial profiling in this country leaves little doubt that in the absence of careful constraints on the circumstances justifying a police intrusion, minorities are disproportionately stopped, detained and otherwise harassed. This law, by its very design, grants unconstrained power to do just that. History has shown us these sorts of legislative attacks affect all people of color, not only those who look like Latina/os.

Such legislation is fueled by the broader wave of fear that makes immigrants and people of color the scapegoats of the current economic crisis, and has paved the way for additional other actions that further exacerbate anti-immigrant hysteria. Of special concern to us as educators is that new legislation in the form of SB 2281, which has now been signed by Governor Brewer. This legislation essentially bars the teaching of ethnic studies in the K-12 curriculum, threatening schools with the loss of state funding if they offer any courses that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” This directly attacks the study of communities of color as well as racial formations and effectively censors educators who might express dissent with Arizona’s history of racial discrimination. The department of education in Arizona is also making a move to ban teachers with accents from teaching English classes, a measure that directly targets Latino teachers hired in the 1990s as part of a broad bilingual education program and then, after a 2000 ballot measure, required to teach only in English.
The U.S., while priding itself on being a diverse “nation of immigrants,” nonetheless has had a long and troubling history of denying legal status and citizenship to many on the basis of race. We as scholars in Asian American studies recognize how this attack on those presumed to be undocumented immigrants is has its roots in prejudice, and sets a dangerous precedent by which many—whether U.S. citizen or documented or undocumented immigrant—might be harassed and abused. We are calling for interethnic solidarity over this legislation and the climate of hostility and paranoia it has fostered. Please join us in challenging this legislation through organizing, boycotting the state of Arizona, lawsuits, and media attention. This incident highlights the need for the United States to enact meaningful immigration reform that so that immigrants who are contributing socially and economically to the United States have a clear path to naturalized citizenship, can reunite with their families, and be protected from exploitation and crime.

On behalf of the board of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS)
Josephine Lee, President, AAAS

5 comments:

ChamoruBoy said...

Someone e-mailed me a pretty racist e-mail about the trash left behind by immigrants in the Arizona desert. They talked about what an environmental disaster it was and that the waste would cause disease. Here's my reply to him:

Yes, it's unfortunate that there is tons of garbage discarded along the trails that immigrants use, however, that is a symptom, not the problem. The problem is the poverty and lack of opportunity and maybe even oppression in their homeland.

The Native Americans were saying the same thing about the illegal immigrants that left... See More Europe to come to America a few hundred years ago. Only difference is that the Native Americans didn't have digital cameras back then. I guess one major difference that is worthy of mentioning is that the immigrants from Mexico are not committing genocide against the natives like the Europeans did to the Indians when they arrived. Don't forget the native population that was decimated by the Europeans who INTENTIONALLY infected the natives with diseases that they could not fight against.

Oh and another thing, the Europeans have ruined the North American environment a billion times worse than the immigrants passing through Arizona.

TenThousandThings said...

Thank you for this post and your outstanding, engaging, crucial blogs. We are going to repost this at our blog.

Brenda Norrell has posted on the Indigenous Scholars' call for a boycott of Arizona: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2010/05/indigenous-and-american-indian-studies.html:

Since the passage of SB 1070, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the oldest African American Greek-lettered fraternity, has moved its July 2010 meeting out of Arizona. SACNAS, an association of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists, has formally removed Phoenix from its shortlist of potential 2012 conference sites. In addition, the cities of San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles have approved boycotts of Arizona until the new law is overturned.

Jean Downey at Ten Thousand Things (Culture of Positive Peace) Blog

jayanika said...

Thanks for the blog!! Lots of great information! Here's a link you might find interesting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM0hOLIeLBY

Kimmiekim said...

I am from Arizona, and I (along with countless others) are horrified at what is happening in our state, and the situation's wider implications.

There will be a huge rally at the end of this month bringing together many communities supporting human rights for immigrants, indigenous communities and others. The movement has and justice on its side, but needs all the support it can get...please check out these links:

http://www.puenteaz.org/

http://altoarizona.com/

Thanks so much!!

Michael Lujan Bevacqua said...

Si Yu'us Ma'ase you three for your comments. Chamoruboy, I agree with your sentiments, you are talking about looking at this from a bigger picture perspective which narrow minded people never want to engage in, because it implicates (violently) them and the past their claim gives them superiority.

To Jean, I'm always honored when I get a link from your blog, it is so very informative, it really helps keep me up to date on things going on in the region

To Jayanika, thanks for the link to the wonderful video.

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