By David Molina
Note: A federal judge just blocked parts of Arizona’s SB 1070 this morning. You can read more about that here. SB 1070 was scheduled to go into effect as passed tomorrow.
Tomorrow the most anti-immigrant state law will go into effect in Arizona. While the federal government via the Department of Justice has filed a brief injunction to attempt to stop the law from going into effect, there’s no sign that Arizona will have a change of heart. Recently, Chris Rock was on The View and he was asked about Arizona and SB 1070. Rock responded, “I feel bad for the Mexicans. I think they should just leave.. They don’t want you there. Blacks did in South Carolina.”
While there have been some reports of Latino immigrants leaving the Grand Canyon State, the majority have not. Recently, I asked some friends from Arizona if Latinos are leaving and they noted that while some families have left, many have stayed put. The reason? Economics. The economic situation is dire. Many immigrants have bought homes, are barely surviving, and simply don’t have the means to get up and go. While thousands have departed the state, tens of thousands simply cannot afford to. This reminds me of when former California GOP Governor Pete Wilson later recanted to a close friend why Latinos hated him so much, and Wilson was told, “you managed, via Proposition 187, to anger not just Latino immigrants but Latinos in general.”
A country stolen by trickery of the natives and bartered with senior Mexican military officials for 1/3 of Mexico, built and strengthened by immigrants (Mexicans, Irish, Italian, Polish, etc) has taken an isolationist view in regards to immigration. There is a belief in this country that immigrants rob from the United States. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What we need to remain a 21st century leader is to be open and transparent, much like we were in the 19th and 20th century. When our nation was more open and welcoming of immigrants, we created the economic engine that made our country the envy of the world. The US has been losing some ground in technology to countries abroad; do we, as Americans, really want to import every food we eat? Our strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges and beef? How many volunteers have raised their hands to pick the crops on American fields? Stephen Colbert was the last guy who raised his hand making the final count 4. Yes, four Americans ready to replace immigrant farm workers. This is laughable, tragic and painful all at once. The agricultural industry, greatly subsidized by American taxpayers, relies on hardworking, determined, “no BS” workers.
President Obama and the Congress must act, not before November elections, not in 60 days, but now. Not just more Larry Pages, Sergey Brins, but all immigrants. We must legalize the workforce that for so long has been in the shadows and not realized its God given potential. We must, like Fred Wilson pointed out, increase the visas for science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) grads, startup visas, and H1B visas to ensure American companies have a steady stream of high caliber workers. And most of all we must not let comprehensive immigration reform be a political football like we’ve seen with Americas War Veterans with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.