Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Immigration reform: the rest of the story

Repeatedly, news outlets have reported that a majority of US and Arizona citizens support SB1070. More often than not, those reports do not provide the question(s) asked to determine that finding. For example, an early Rasmussen poll asked if people thought it was acceptable for police to ask for identification during a traffic stop. Most people said, "Sure. That's OK," since it is already standard procedure to ask for a drivers' license, registration, and proof of insurance. The problem with SB1070 is that it goes far beyond that (1,2).

An article from yesterday's Daily Kos quotes several other surveys that are not getting the same media attention as the pro-SB1070 polls. For example:

Did you know that most US citizens favor comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship -- particularly for undocumented workers who have been here for years? The Daily Kos quotes not one but four independent polls that revealed those results. Check the link for full details from these surveys conducted by the Associated Press, CNN, CBS/New York Times, and other reputable sources.

Even though the bill has not become law yet, SB1070 is already creating consequence beyond lawsuits, convention cancellations, protests, pizza boycotts, and the meteoric rise in Governor Jan Brewer's popularity.

We are seeing an increase in aggressive law enforcement by law officers and armed vigilantes. Last week, on the same day that the SB1070 hearing started in the courts, Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducted a desert raid with 100 of his men in the outskirts of Maricopa County. (How much did that cost to round up 11 people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time with brown skin?) In addition, we have civilian neo-Nazis patrolling the desert in Pinal County.

Seriously, folks, do we really want to live in a police state where big white boys with dangerous toys fan out across the desert looking for exhausted border-crossers to shoot? Enough is enough. I don't want to live in a heavily armed, extremist police state. This is what the Republican Legislature has given us with SB1070 and the new gun law SB1108. Both laws go into effect next week.

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