No one need speak English to understand that Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation [passed earlier this year] was their way of coming out. They opened up that closet door and now proudly strut their hatred of anyone who doesn’t look, speak, or act just like them. Within the space of a few short weeks, Arizona passed legislation and then began demanding proof of U.S. residency, banning ethnic studies, throwing teachers with accents out of English classrooms, and spending exorbitant amounts of money and time conducting immigration stings. It seems pretty clear that Arizona has made up its mind to become a homogeneous haven for white, non-Hispanic people.
Look, I get it. Arizona’s got some very serious, legitimate problems because of the illegal immigrant population. The issue needs to be dealt with and I don’t blame them for feeling frustrated. I agree that the federal government didn’t do a good job of securing our borders. But SB 1070 has nothing to do with meaningful immigration reform. It’s about racism, plain and simple. And it’s about giving the feds the finger, daring them to step up and do something.
Arizona claims the passage of anti-immigrant law (SB 1070) was not racially motivated. One look at the law’s architects will tell you that isn’t true. The bill’s language was crafted by a lawyer named Kris Koboch who acts as counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as a hate group since 2007. SPLC’s Mark Potok had this to say about FAIR:
“FAIR is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes annual listings of such organizations. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who write regularly for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latino immigrants. It has produced television programming featuring white nationalists.”
Mr. Koboch is a birther who is featured on SPLC’s website as one of America’s 20 Anti-Immigrant Leaders. He was recently elected to serve as the Secretary of State for Kansas.
God help Kansas.
Next in line comes Arizona Republican State Senator Russell Pearce. He’s the guy who introduced the legislation. He’s described by Change.Org as someone who has “made it his personal mission to institute state policies attacking undocumented immigrants. A decades-long veteran of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, Pearce has repeatedly attempted to coerce local law enforcement to get more involved in federal immigration policy.
Pearce is also an associate of J.T. Ready, a well-known neo-nazi and advocate for “white pride.” Here’s a picture of the two of them together at a neo-nazi rally in Nebraska.
….and a picture of Mr. Ready participating in a neo-nazi rally in Minnesota…..
And again at a rally where Ready lauds Pearce for supporting the white-pride perspective….
Demonstrating that he isn’t as daft as he is arrogant, Pearce continues to deny his association with Ready. Yet Ready calls Pearce a “father figure” and in 2004, when Ready converted to the LDS faith, Pearce was the one who signed the certificate ordaining him an elder. Here they are in the proud baptismal photo. Additionally, Pearce endorsed Ready when Ready ran for the Mesa City Council in 2006 against incumbent Kyle Jones. In a video for Ready’s failed bid, Pearce calls Ready “a true patriot” and friend of the taxpayer. It’s worth noting that it was during that same campaign that Ready was found to have made “several inaccurate claims“ about his biographical background.
But when Pearce gets backed into a corner about his association with Ready, he simply claims that he didn’t realize Ready’s association with the neo-nazi movement.
Then there’s that incident in 2006 when Pearce sent out an email to his supporters promoting a white supremacist publication called “Who Rules America.” It criticized the media for promoting multiculturalism and racial equality, for portraying “any racially conscious White Person” as a bigot, and for promoting the silly idea that the Holocaust actually took place. He got called on the carpet for it and apologized. Apologized for sending it out. Not for believing those things or for seeing the incredible inappropriateness of being an avowed racist while holding an office that requires him to protect the interests of ALL the people he represents.
Take a look at some of the other legislation Pearce sponsored within three months of SB 1070:
February 2010 – April 16, 2010 – Passage of SB 1011 via SB 1108 which requires colleges and universities to allow faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus. This required an amendment to the state’s constitution.
February 18, 2010 – Passage of SB 1102, allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons without permits anywhere except for those locations prohibited by law.
April 16, 2010 – Passage of SB 1108, allowing any American citizen who is not a felon to carry a concealed weapon anywhere within the state of Arizona except in those places already prohibited by law. Limits concealed weapons in bars to those with Arizona permits.
April 23, 2010 – Passage of SB 1070, law enforcement to determine the residency status of anyone the have reasonable suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally.
April 30, 2010 – Arizona State Board of Education removes teachers with accents from classrooms.
May 7, 2010 – Passage of SB 1018, that allows for the continued use of controversial speed cameras on city roadways, which many contend violate civil liberties and are merely for revenue.
May 11, 2010 – Passage of HB 2281, prohibiting courses on ethnic studies in schools.
May 11, 2010 – Passage of HB 2629, originally introduced by then Rep. Russell Pearce in 2008, which allows residents to draw their weapons and/or use deadly force without attempted to retreat first in situations where they consider their personal safety at risk. Also prohibts the collection of serial numbers or personal information about gun owners.
May 14, 2010 – Introduction of SB 1097, a bill that would compel teachers and administrators to determine the legal status of students and their families before allowing them to enroll in school.
Earlier this month, Pearce attempted a joke about SB 1070, saying the best thing about it is “Obama may not be visiting Arizona because we actually require papers now”. That comment was a not so subtle jab about President Obama’s citizenship – Pearce has long insinuated that Obama is not lawfully able to serve and happily voted in favor of making Arizona a “birther state”. Although the bill ultimately failed in the Arizona state Senate, it was during those discussions that Pearce was reported to suggest that Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), an outspoken critic of SB 1070, should run for “presidente” of Mexico. Also earlier this month, Pearce was profiled as the “Idiot of the Week” by liberal media outpost Political Ruminations.
Rachel Maddow did a short piece on Koboch and Pearce. You really should watch it. It’s boggles the mind that their association is going on right in front of us and few people are even blinking.
Then there’s the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America.” Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County has been cheerfully ignoring the rights of citizens, his staff, and the undocumented for many years. Not content to stop there, he also ignores direct instruction from the federal government to stop conducting immigration stings, saying they have no authority to tell him how to do his job.
Sheriff Joe’s inhumane treatment of others, including those that resulted in death, is well-documented. As a result, Maricopa County has paid out more than $43 million in lawsuits for abuse and neglect at the hands of the Sheriff’s office. In 2009, Arpaio stated on national television that he considered it “an honor” to be compared to the KKK. So it shouldn’t be surprising that charges of civil rights violations continue to be reported to this day or that Arpaio is under investigation for alleged abuse of power on a number of occasions. When asked for examples constituting “reasonable suspicion” for demanding to see someone’s proof of residency, Arpaio replied that one of them was speaking Spanish.
No matter how much the folks in Arizona claim this bill isn’t racially based, the facts say otherwise. This legislation is lambasted by labor and civil rights organizations all across the country and crafted by folks who invest money and time into “white pride.” Arizona has made anyone with dark eyes, brown skin, or speaking a language other than English suspect.
Pearce and Koboch and Arpaio have ulterior motives alright, and it’s to make sure they get to go about the business of ethnic cleansing with as little resistance as possible.
Even more troubling than that is this: Despite the fact that the majority of Arizonans believe SB 1070 is bad for race relations, they still overwhelmingly support it.
It’s not about the me. It’s about the we.