I’m not saying everyone must go, and in fact, those of Latino heritage who were actually there first should be entitled to stay. However, all Arizonans who have supported measures to unconstitutionally criminalize undocumented immigrants, and otherwise repress, stigmatize or harass Latino Arizonans must report to ICE detention centers immediately in preparation for repatriation.
Even undocumented immigrants end up in Arizona only because it’s close, not because they somehow have mistaken the place for El Dorado. I don’t mind the Phoenix Suns, but they can simply move themselves to Fort Lauderdale and keep their last name. In fairness, there are some major corporate headquarters in the state, banks and airlines to be specific. But also in fairness, those institutions have been nothing but a permeating, revolting scourge in recent times, and disposing of a few can only boost the nation’s morale and well-being.
The latest in a long line of gratuitous Arizona punkings of Arizona’s undocumented population, and undocumented immigrants generally, is Senator John McCain this weekend, absent any credible evidence or any effort to present some, blaming undocumented immigrants for starting the wildfires consuming Arizona. In fact, the Forest Service and others have said only that the fires appear to be human caused and under investigation. They have not attributed the fires to any person or group specifically. In addition to smugglers or immigrants, human causes of fires include, as they do here in California, ricocheting bullets, welding equipment, drunk college students, camping numbnuts too witless to put a campfire out, arsonists and psychologically disturbed fire fighters, only to name a few.
McCain’s half-cocked smear follows what seems an endless succession of exercises in petty bigotry originating in Arizona, the two most notorious being SB1070, the “Papers, please” law rife with unconstitutional elements now being dismembered in federal courts. The other is the recent passage of legislation banning the state’s previously widely applauded and highly successful Latino studies programs, one of the most overtly racist and vindictive governmental actions at any level in present day America.
All nations in all eras are infected with some degree of anti-immigrant suspicion and xenophobia, and America has been no different. Generally it is most visibly expressed when the target group is chosen as scapegoat for virtually any state, local or national problem one can add to a list. But of late in America, nativism and anti-immigrant fever have flared to the level of outright anti-immigrant hysteria. As the Republican Party and conservatism more broadly have become ever more radical, and in the course of doing so adopted many views previously relegated to the fringes of American politics, it has also absorbed the virulent nativism of earlier fringe anti-immigrant groups. And like many another fetid or ridiculous notion mainlined into the public consciousness by the relentless conservative media and political apparatus, so too has pervasive misinformation about and mischaracterization of undocumented immigrants been spread.
Yet despite the relentless campaign of hate-mongering, stereotyping and scapegoating, study after study after study, data upon data demonstrate that America’s undocumented population is an economic positive for the United States. And in fact, despite the false propaganda, undocumented Americans are less likely than American citizens to be involved in the commission of crimes. For me, and for most Angelenos (Gee, I wonder why that sounds Spanish?) first-person experience affirms the data, the new arrivals being hard-working, friendly, family-oriented and aspiring.
Even if it should turn out that undocumented immigrants are responsible for those fires it does not excuse these ugly and insupportable accusations by McCain or others. So don’t let the door hit you in the fanny on the way out Arizona, and if it isn’t far too much trouble, take Utah, Alabama and Kansas with you. And if you live in Arizona, and you believe that for any reason you should not be subjected to this statewide deportation order along with your fellow Arizonans, send me your best case,and I’ll take it under advisement. Keep in mind that bribery is not a dirty word in my vocabulary, and my sweet spot for drugs, alcohol and sex is open for business.