I was listening to a local Spanish-talk radio program, and the caller argued for why SB 1070 might be good. He argued that the federal government deducted $287 from his paycheck, for almost ten years now, but that he will never see a dime of that. His argument was that SB 1070 might propel the Congress and the White House to initiate comprehensive immigration reform, and therefore, he might in the future begin to see the fruit of his labor.
Americans, by nature, whether documented or undocumented have interests and we play to those. Clearly, Latinos aren’t going anywhere. We’ve purchased (or rented) into the American dream, including buying homes, cars/big pickups, groceries, technology, and sending our kids to American colleges. Whether this gentlemen’s predictions are right is for another column, but I do know SB 1070 has created a hornets nest of discussions on TV, radio and the internet. My fellow Chair and former Vice Chairman wrote “The Two Arizonas” in the state’s largest-circulated newspaper, and they were asked by an OregonLive.com commenter to show their green card.
Massive mobilizations have been and continue to be organized using radio, TV, social media networks, email campaigns and text messages. We’ve seen these before, but what will be different? How will these mobilizations using offline or online methods curtail or exponentially grow SB 1070s across the country? Already, about a dozen other states are considering similar legislation, including Utah, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. There’s a sentiment by undocumented immigrants alike: SB 1070 is the clearest example that immigrants are welcome to rent and buy in America, pay federal and sales taxes, but you’re not allowed to become a true American citizen. How many more SB 1070s will it take for the Congress to act? And more pointedly, what will it take for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to taken seriously in this debate? The right and wrongs of SB 1070 did not begin in Arizona or neo-nazi marches that ferment the Grand Old Party (GOP). They began when Latinos and Americans alike failed to get involved in the democratic process before the historic signature signing that created this discussion.